Chemical Company of America
Although we do not know for sure what the Rahway Valley Railroad shipped in/out of this site, we can guess that the RV brought in raw materials and shipped out finished products. There were two freight sidings built to accommodate the site, one was constructed parallel to the RV Mainline and another forked off in a curve into the middle of the plant.
Like most of the factories along the Rahway Valley Railroad during World War I, the Chemical Company of America contributed to the war effort. The plant manufactured cellulose acetate, benzyl benzoate, and benzyl acetate, used largely in the coating of airplane wings.Activities at factories during the war, such as this one, were highly secretive. During the war years twenty armed guards were posted here.
After the war the Chemical Company of American went bankrupt in 1925. The company merged with several other chemical companies in 1927 to form the Chemical & Dye Corporation. Last mentions of the latter company appear in railroad documents as late as 1929. Traces of the plant existed as late as 1940.
This area, once occupied by the Chemical Company of America, is now Meisel Field, the football field for Jonathan Dayton High School. Meisel Avenue was constructed after the factory siteís closing, which occurred in approximately 1924, and cuts across the southern most portion of the former plant. The large pond, seen in the aerial below, was filled in.
Few reminders exist today to remind us of the Chemical Company of Americaís existence. There are, however, remnants of the concrete abutments of the plantís access bridge over Van Winkleís Creek. Also if one looks hard enough, you will notice that the embankment that the Rahway Valley Railroad lays on between Meisel Avenue and Van Winkleís Brook is exceptionally wide. This was to accommodate the siding that existed parallel to the RVís Mainline.
(Research: Richard J. King. Field Notes: Richard J. King
& Jeff Jargosch)
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