Monday, February 23, 2009

Camp Bluefields Part 1


Most know it as 'Tweed', an abandoned and mysterious complex of concrete tunnels, bunkers, and walls built atop Clausland Mountain in Blauvelt, NY.
Many say it's haunted, frequently visited by Devil Worshippers, home of all manner of odd creatures, homeless, and graffiti artists.

I really feel like a moron writing this, but it took two or three tries to even get CLOSE to the Camp, and then another half-mile of climbing in the wrong direction to finally see it.

See, about a mile South lies the old Nike Missile Base of Piermont, NY. Now, I had figured hey, if the Army owned one thing up there, then the old WWI rifle range must be part of the same complex, right? Well assumptions are the mother of all screw-ups and I want to take this oppertunity to apologize to Nicky for repeatedly leading her on a series of wild-goose-chases through the woods.

Then, once I got a satellite picture of the place and map it out with a red pen, we drive up there, find a suitable parking spot, and proceed to walk up this windy road before I suggest that I take the short cut and run ahead to see if we're in the right direction.

Good call AK.

Now I'm a quarter-mile up in the thickest woods I've ever seen, having scaled two 20' embankments that put my knees to the test, and my right one failed.

Pulling out my binoculars, I looked around and saw nothing akin to a large bunker and began to sheepishly stagger back towards Nicky when I look north and see part of the western-most part of the camp. Keep in mind, this camp was constructed around 1918 to train soldiers for WWI and specifically trench warfare. Its 91 years old, and trees are growing through it. The whole thing, according to my satellite photos, covers a few hundred square acres.

Ouch.

Before and after WWI, the place served as a Girl Scout Camp, and summer camp for young women. The NY Times even did an article on it, where for $3.50 a week women could go for some relaxation… especially from men. (http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9B06E1DF123DEF3ABC4052DFB066838D609EDE) It was then re-opened in 1942 to train soldiers to fight in WWII, however, since trench warfare wasn’t all that commonplace in that chapter of world history, it wasn’t all that useful.

So I go find Nicky and promise it wont be too far a trek through the woods.

Turns out you have to cross two ravines to get there, and since Princesses don't walk across fallen tree trunks five feet above freezing water... I went ahead by myself.

Making a long story short, I got to the 'tower' and took a bunch of pics of the inside and surrounding area. For being 91 years old, minus the graffiti, it's in pristine condition… structurally. The steps are still functional and the rails all around are in good shape.

After looking around there, I headed east along the ten foot wall and ducked down into two of the trench-training areas and snapped a bunch of photos. Along the wall was a series of 10" iron flanges that I assume used to hold slats of wood. Standing on one of those pieces of metal, I could just get my face over the wall. I assume that's where the soldiers were trained to shoot from, since trench warfare basically means ducking in these long trenches in the ground, poking your head and rifle up every now and then to try and squeeze a shot off at the enemy. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trench_warfare )

Learn your history. It's some nasty stuff.

Either way, I shot 24 pictures of the site, most aren't worth posting but the good ones I will as soon as I can get my bastard computer to work right.

We plan on coming back here more when the weather is warmer.




"The Grave"





Training Area

Alls Quiet on the Western Front



-AK

18 comments:

mxracer813@gmail.com said...

I was just there today. That hole in the one big building was crazy. Did you get to see any of the tunnels?

AK The Jefe said...

Didnt see any this trip, but the next one, we plan on getting to them.
I think that hole in the building leads into one of the tunnels, however, I dont plan on going in there unless I can tell it's safe, since I've heard it's flooded, agmonst other things. From what I hear, locals call it The Grave.

-AK the Jefe

Anonymous said...

Grew up in Blauvelt, I spent my youth and teens at the tunnels (i'm 50 now) they did not practice trench warefare there, those metal slats held wood that soldiers stood on holding targets. The wall protected them from incoming bullets. The woods up range from there were not there back then. The tunnels moved troops across the firing lines safely. I found great old bullets, uniform buttons, knives, canteens, etc with a cheap metal detector and shovel. Its a great place, no one bothers you...

Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah, the hole in the floor is the old latrine building. You really dont want to go down there. Been there, done that.

AK The Jefe said...

Looks like my guesses were pretty close as to how the system worked, and thanks for the info on 'the grave'... really don't wanna go down there.

I based my guess that the Camp was used as a trench-warfare training site based on the time it was constructed, and I sincerely thank you for clearing that up :)

Now I've REALLY got to go back there with my metal detector!

Thank you,

-AK

Sousveillance said...

Hi, nice post, Anonymous pointed out most of what I wanted to say already, but I figured I'd share some of my own photos from 2008: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sousveillance/sets/72157606973938364

Anonymous said...

i grew up right down the street from those tunnels. its very true about the dead bodies showing up there as well as the devil worship. i know people who have seen stuff up there and during the late 70's and 80's bodies found were in the local newspaper all the time. i took my offroad motorcycle thru the tunnnels at high speeds many times. theres room to ride in some of them and no one bothers you there. i walked down a tunnel in the dark once and slipped and fell onto a large dead animal. i had no flashlight. it was horrible. bring a flashlight. also dont go alone especially in the winter you can fall on ice and be there for a month before someone finds you.

Anonymous said...

im the guy that grew up down the street from the tunnels. just wanted to add the park that the tunnels is in is Tackamack Park. Its a NY State park, and its huge. The main tunnels in the pictures on this page are the biggest set but there are many many smaller concrete houses with holes in the floor all over that park. They arent on any map but going into a hole in the floor often leads to a huge underground concrete labrynth with huuuge spyders and secret passages. Its very cool. The place where the devil worship went on (or still goes on) is the pine tree section "the pines". Its about a mile or 2 from the main tunnels. You'll know it when you see it. Its a section of huge pine trees.

Anonymous said...

i just looked at a satellite map and the pines are more like 1/4 mile from the main tunnels. i also never realized that the area is made up of a few parks not just Tackamack. Theres lots of cool stuff up there and its a lot cooler on a off road motorcycle. you cant see it all by foot.

Anonymous said...

Me again I read that you diddnt go in the tunnels yet. The pictures you took are the outside of the main tunnels. The main tunnels are in the shape of a large L. If you follow the things that the soldiers sat on or stood on (target range) and follow to either end you will get to entrances.

Anonymous said...

I live in Tappan, NY. Just 10 minutes from the tunnels. After one failed attempt at finding them I did some more research. I came across a book which included a section on the Tweed tunnels and the surronding State Park. This book, "Hiking The Road to Ruins: Day Trips and Camping Adventures to Iron Mines, Old Military Sites, and Things Abandoned in the New York City Area and Beyond" by David A. Steinberg, included a few maps of the area, this being the best one: http://www.rocklandaudubon.org/pdf/Blauvelt.PDF

Anonymous said...

I grew up about 1/2 a mile from there (townsend ave.) in the 70's. All the "devil" worship nonsense... please STFU. Devil worship haha give me a break. Nobody worships anything but weed and beer up there. There were packs of feral dogs and my sister and I have been chased from time to time. I believe the plateau next to the pine forest is where the "Mess Hall" used to be when it was used for a YWCA women's camp. I'll bet that's a good place to look for artifacts. I found an old camp shovel there when I was a kid.

Anonymous said...

how do u get to the hole. where is it. never found it yet

Anonymous said...

That hole in the building isn't 'The Grave'(locals call it "The Hole", and "The Grave" is located in the hole), The Hole has been lost for a while. the rumors are that there is only one way to get into the hole, and that is through a really narrow opening into a tunnel that is almost collapsed. its full of bats, and giant spider webs and is near impossible to find. i have been to Tweed over 20 times, and i haven't found it yet.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering who is Anonymous ? Post your house number, (I grew up on South Boulevard, house number 262.)

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone intrested still about this place but honestly it's got more dead & dead over the years about it maybe not for locals but I really think this is a cool ass place. I honestly wanna go to nayack one day & put a story in the paper requesting everyone with storys about the tunnels to please tell them cause there's not alot of information on this place some are lies some are not but hope one day I could check it out & hear some stories that'd be cool

Anonymous said...

I visited several times in the '90s, and it's gone back to nature in a serious way. Much is overgrown with brambles and the last time I went the place was plagued with ticks. Gear up for thorns and insects if you go.

Raymond Scibran said...

Grew up on Clausland Mountain...in the 50's 60's & many years since...know every inch from Tweed to Greenbush, Schuyler Rd. to Clausland Mtn.Rd. & everything in between. No boggiemen, folks, just woods & history.Tunnels were caved in back in early 60's except for one. That's where the 3 story junction is, withh the missing steel stairs. It was much more appealing to the eyes until the 80's & the grafiti kids ruined it. Still a cool place for a day hike though. Have fun, & watch out for the boggiemen!