Building 83 is a historic military structure located in the Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex in Hingham, Massachusetts. It is one of the few remaining buildings from the once sprawling military annex and it can be found in the present-day Wompatuck State Park.
Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex
The Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex also referred to as the “Cohasset Annex” or the “Higham Annex”, was established in 1941. It was created to expand the nearby Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot at the Hingham Shipyard which was started in 1903. Over the years, The Depot had become the main ammunition supplier for the Naval Forces of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
To create the Annex, the government had to acquire thousands of acres from local landowners. After securing the land, the Annex quickly was developed. Employment at The Depot and The Annex peaked in June of 1945 when there were 2,100 civilians, 720 naval officers and sailors, and 380 Marine guards stationed between them both. The majority of buildings at The Annex were bunkers and storage facilities. There was a railroad spur created to allow ammunition to be transferred from the inland annex to the coastal depot.
For a brief time after World War 2 ended, The Annex was deactivated. But when the Korean War started in 1950, people were stationed again. Interestingly, during the Korean War, the Navy tested out an experimental nuclear depth charge at bunker N9. Following the war, The Annex was used for assembling depth charges, bombs, and rocket motors. The Depot and its annex were declared surplus by the Navy in 1962 and they were abandoned.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts received much of the land in 1966 with plans to turn it into a public park. 3,500 acres were used to create present-day Wompatuck State Park. Over 100 bunkers were filled in and nearly all the buildings were razed. One of the few buildings that remain is Building 83.
Building 83 is one of the only remaining structures that can be explored in the old Hingham Naval Ammunition Depot Annex. There is not much known about Building 83 or why it was not destroyed like the others when the state park was created. Building 83 was part of the missile test facility. It is built of thick concrete and has two doors leading into it. The right door leads into two windowless rooms. The left door leads into one small windowless room.
Just a few steps from the building, the remains of an old railroad track can be seen. For this reason, it is likely that the building once had a platform for loading and unloading missiles. We will be sure to update this post with more information as it becomes available.
Hiking to Building 83
To find Building 83, you are going to have to know where to look. It is not on any map, but of course, we have you covered! Visitors can park at the Wompatuck Visitors Center and then walk down the fire road trail until reaching a sign titled “N34.” The building can be found just a few hundred yards down the N34 trail. The hike is rated as easy and it is about 0.7 miles each way.
- Year Established: 1941
- Year Abandoned: 1962
- Original Function: Supporting structure for the missile test facility