Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Nostalgic Visit To The Old South Philadelphia Quartermaster Compound

Accompanying my wife to Kindy’s on the old Quartermaster compound in South Philly to look for Christmas decorations last week, I experienced a sense of nostalgia as the outlet is housed in an warehouse in the eastern end of a long row of warehouses where I worked for more than 25 years.

I mentioned to a Kindy's employee that I had worked here years ago and he said a lot of customers also told him that they had worked at the Quartermaster in the old days.  

We walked up on a dock that was very familiar to me. To the west of Kindy’s was the warehouse area where for years we stored Defense Department files that were boxed and placed on wooden flatbeds with steel wheels while waiting to be placed on trucks bound for the Philadelphia Federal Records Center. 

I went to work at the Quartermaster in 1972 after serving on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War. As a young clerk, I prepared those boxes of records, verifyed the contents were correct and proper, and loaded them on the flatbeds. I spent a good deal of time in this warehouse and on the dock. I later became the chief of the files unit and supervised the shipping operations. 

Further west of the Kindy’s outlet in the long building was an area that housed the Defense Personnel Support Center’s (DPSC) computer room. After serving as the chief of the files unit, I was promoted and worked in the Defense Contract Administration Services Region (DCASR) computer support unit attached to the DPSC computer room. (This was before personal computers and remote servers). 

The Quartermaster was then the second largest defense procurement center in the U.S., purchasing clothing, medicene, and other material for the American armed forces stationed across the world. The compound also housed a Defense Department command that oversaw defense contractors in the tri-state area who supplied the military with everything from cruise missiles to parachutes for special operators. 

The Quartermaster was closed in 1999 and the Defense Department commands moved to the Navy base in Northeast Philadelphia. The Defense Department sold the site to the City of Philadelphia, and the city resold the site to a commercial firm. 

The commercial firm recently announced that they plan a major redevelopment of the Quartermaster.

I retired from the Defense Department in 2007 and became a full time writer.

Prior to my visit to Kindy’s, I had returned to the Quartermaster to interview Philadelphia Police Department officials who now occupy a part of old building 6 that serves as the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center.     

You can read my interviews via the below links:

You can also read my history of the Quartermaster via the below link: 

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