top of page

Neville Island Gardens to Give Way to Great U. S. Ordnance Plant

Signals, November 2013

Uncle Sam’s “Yankee Doodle” new garden on Neville Island will yield ordinance [sic] instead of onions, artillery instead of asparagus, and rifles instead of radishes. Potatoes will give way to projectiles, tomatoes to tanks and carrots to cannon. A daily crop is scheduled instead of a yearly one. The products will make fodder of the Hun. This plant will be no night-blooming cereus.

Here is to be assembled one of the mightiest gun plants in the world, perhaps larger than the famous works of the Krupps, and designed for a nobler ambition than perpetuating a cruel autocracy. The United States Steel Corporation will build and operate the plant for the government.

Both channels of the Ohio River will be lined with long wharfs. New railroad bridges will span the north and back channels. To these quays will come fleets of river boats. Cargoes of guns, field and sea rifles, coast defense and seige [sic] artillery will go up and down the river. Much will reach the Gulf ports to be reloaded into sea-going vessels for distribution.

This will be for the period of this war, and until America stores away enough for every possible defense against another breaking out of national human greed. But when the red flame of war gives way to the kindling of peace fires and when the flags of nations are folded and pledged for a perpetual union for democracy’s safety, swords will be refashioned into plowshares.

Neville Island will then be devoted to the pursuits of patriotic industrialism. The plant can be used as railroad shops for building and repairing steam highways and their equipments [sic], looking to the likelihood of the nation taking over the railroads permanently.

Projectiles will also be turned out in large quantities. The guns to be made will be one and [one] half times larger than the types of those made in the Bethlehem works, the Midvale, the Washington Navy Yard and the Watervliet Arsenal. The forgings for the guns will be 70 feet long. The lathes will be 160 feet in length, with lathe plates 10 feet in diameter....

Massive yards for the stor- age of material are being constructed since May 4. Kitchens and bunking quarters are being built for workmen. The builders will not confess that this work is being done for the government, but in view of the nation taking over the whole island, stone, gravel, building material, coal, accommodations for workmen, will be immediately at hand, [so] that there will be no delay in getting the big gun plant into action for the world war. The appraisal committee, made up mainly of Pittsburgh real estate men who are familiar with acreage prices, are [sic] appraising the island and fixing ground figures, looking to facilitating the government’s taking over all titles....

When the plant is completed and in operation it will be probably the largest arsenal in the world; and most likely the headquarters of the Ordnance Department of the nation will be in Pittsburgh. Here will be located the experts of the Allied nations, Italy, France and others, whose master mechanics and finished craftsmen in gun making will assist America in subjugating the murderous Hun.


Incident at the Crossroads: Malmédy

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 7:30 p.m., at the Old Sewickley Post Office

A PowerPoint Presentation by George S. Gaadt

The Malmédy Massacre was the most infamous shooting of unarmed American prisoners of war during World War II. The story begins with a local soldier from Sewickley, T/5 Albert M. Valenzi, serving with “B” Battery, 285th Field Artillery Observation Battalion, a battery made up primarily of men from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. This is a story of death, of luck and of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

On December 17, 1944, during the Battle of the Bulge, more than 80 U. S. soldiers were shot down after having surrendered to a Waffen-SS unit in the village of Baugnez, near the crossroads town of Malmédy, Belgium. Although more than 40 men survived to tell of the massacre, exactly what took place that day remains mired in controversy. Was it just a “battlefield incident,” or was it a deliberate slaughter?

In this PowerPoint presentation, George S. Gaadt will vividly reconstruct the critical events leading up to the atrocity and will relate stories from the survivors of the tragic aftermath.

George Stephen Gaadt was born in Erie, PA, and educated at Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH. An artist and illustrator, he has lectured widely and is a former instructor at Carnegie Mellon University and Sweetwater Center for the Arts and has served on the Boards of Sewickley Valley Historical Society, Sweetwater Center for the Arts and the Daniel B. Matthews Historical Society.

His clients have included the National Football League, the Major League Baseball, Basketball and Football Halls of Fame and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Last May he donated “Morning Glory,” his portrait of B. G. Shields, founder and former Executive Director of SVHS, to the Historical Society. He has received over 95 awards for his work and has exhibited both nationally and internationally.

In addition to his art work, Gaadt is also an amateur historian and collector of military memorabilia. Throughout his life, military history has played a major role in his career, culminating recently in a series of paintings for the U. S. Army. Currently, he is a business partner in a marketing and military history-based business, Noble Lancer Productions, LLC.

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page