|History||Preparations for the United States' entry into World War II brought sudden changes to the area. In December, 940 the Federal Government announced its intention to build a munitions manufacturing and testing plant in Denver. The Hyden Ranch property was selected as the site for the Denver Ordnance Plant and in January, 1941, the government concluded the purchase of a 2,100-acre parcel. Part of this site became the Federal Center at the close of the war.
Plans for the ordnance plant proceeded quickly. Within the same month that the land purchase was completed, the Federal Government contracted with the Remington Arms Company to operate the facility. A month later a ground breaking ceremony took place with great fanfare. Before long, heavy equipment had graded the fields and foundations were being laid for a large complex of manufacturing structures. Over 6,000 people were employed in the enormous constructions project. By October 1941, the first phase of the plant was completed at a cost of $28 million dollars.
Between 1941 and 1943, 92 buildings were constructed at the ordnance plant. By the end of the war, the facility consisted of nearly 200 structures, many of which are still in use today as federal government offices and labs.
At first, the Denver Ordnance Plant manufactured only caliber .30 ammunition, including ball, armor piercing, tracer and incendiary rounds. It was the only facility in the country to produce caliber .30 ammunition exclusively. The plant employed 10,000 people and was capable of making 4 million rounds a day.
Production peaked in the summer of 1943. The number of employees had risen to 19,500 and they were turning out an astounding 6.25 million rounds daily. The plant was in operation 24 hours a day and included dining facilities, and a fire and police station, among other services. A railroad traversed the plant delivering materials needed to manufacture the ammunition and for transporting it to distribution points throughout the country.
In May 1944, Kaiser Industries was awarded a contract to manufacture heavy artillery shells ad the Ordnance Plant. Following the installation of new equipment, production of 8 inch and 155 millimeter shells began. Over subsequent months additional contracts were awarded to Kaiser, Remington Arms and General Foods. The latter company operated a C-ration assembly and package facility.
The end of hostilities in the summer of 1945 brought an immediate end to production at the Ordnance Plant. By October, only 600 people were still working at the site. The facility was declared surplus property and turned over to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
Prepared by Christine Pfap, Historian, and Roy Winigate, Historian, with the Bureau of Reclamation. August, 1991|