In the late 50s my little girlfriend, Kathy, who had recently moved to Paramus, came back to visit one late spring morning. Being adventurous, we decided to explore a one-story abandoned real estate office building across the street from the apartments where I used to live. The door to this building wasn't locked, so we went in. After a few minutes of poking around, we looked up to see a woman standing in front of us! She didn't make a sound, so it was a
complete surprise! She spoke to us, to our horror! She said ''this is my house!''
She looked very polished and very neat. I would say very late
Victorian in dress. I do not think she was a homeless person. As I remember she wore a dark green (olive drab?) dress. I later learned this was the former site of Camp Merritt, an internment camp for WW1 doughboys. Could this lady have been reliving a past reality? Camp Merritt would have been a very emotional place in its day. I wonder?.
Submitted by Diane
Comment by Life-long resident: Camp Merritt was not an 'internment' camp it was the major embarkation processing center for troops going overseas in world war I. The average soldier's stay at Camp Merritt was three days; troops them arched down Madison Avenue to the Dumont Station of the west shore RR (some went the other direction to the Erie RR Station in Cresskill) thence by train to troop ships waiting at Weehawken and Hoboken.
After the war Camp Merritt processed homecoming soldiers back into civilian life. The camp was dismantled 1920/1921 and in 1923 the camp Merritt monument was erected on the traffic circle where the camp's main gate once stood.
There are today numerous buildings surviving from Camp Merritt in surrounding towns having been repurposed as homes stores or for municipal use.
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