“Piermont Pier”

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Most of us who live in this area have at one time or another walked along the Piermont Pier.  In a recent article in the January-March 2016 issue of “South of the Mountains,” which is published by the Historical Society of Rockland County, Patti Panayotidis recaptures the history of Pier when it was the scene of another kind of walker.

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In September, 1942, the US Army, under the War Powers Act, seized 1365 acres in Orangeburg and within several months opened Camp Shanks, which was a staging area for troops headed to Europe.  Ten of thousands of troops per month were sent overseas from Shanks.

Once the Piermont Pier, which was built in 1839 as part of the New York and Erie Railroad, was reinforced and wood planking was laid down on the roadway, soldiers marched or rode of trucks the four miles from Shanks to the pier.  There they boarded vessels that took the troops to New York harbor, where they boarded large transport ships.

Captured German and Italian soldiers also marched along this roadway.  More than 2000 POWs lived at Camp Shanks during the war.  At the end of the war more than 290,000 POWs came through Camp Shanks on their way back to Europe.

“Piermont’s Role During World War II” is an informative article that details the history of Camp Shanks and reminds us that when we take a leisurely stroll along the Pier that we shouldn’t lose sight of the historical impact that this spot played during the war.

 

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