The Livingston Barracks are an interesting bit of history on the Piscataway side of the Old Raritan. Built in the 1940’s, the barracks are former military housings that were actively used by the Camp Kilmer Station until Rutgers University acquired all 122 buildings/structures in 1963. These are the dingy, gray, long buildings at the furthest west end of Livingston campus (near the Edison/Highland Park border) where today you can find useful places like Telephone Services, Reprographics or the Key Shop for Rutgers. At one time though, these buildings held prisoners of war and served as a full war station complete with a hospital and prison. Just think, sixty years ago, where that nice key lady sits at her desk in the building on Street 1604, savage prisoners of war were probably screaming inanities as they were tethered and bound in a dank, criminal pen. Okay, well maybe I”m dramatizing a little, but still, the place has an undeniably dark history.
There have also been rumors of homeless people living in the tunnel network under the buildings. This seemed very plausible to Ray and I during our explorations of the buildings closest to Avenue E as the tunnels were roomy, fairly accessible and nary a cobweb was seen. The dauntless RR Team proceeded to investigate the dilapidated building right behind the REHS building and we were lucky enough to get inside the creepy old barrack and get a few shots of its wrecked interior. The building we accessed was a mess from the vine-encrusted exterior doors to the seriously ripped up interior. The oddest find of the evening was the “picture room” where one of the walls was covered with strange drawings of nude female bodies and the other wall had an intricate, labyrinthine design spread from floor to ceiling. Definitely a weird, creepy place!