The Slow Death of Stewart Air Force Base Barracks

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I recently came across these photos taken by photographer Richard Cunningham of the deteriorating barracks of Stewart International Airport. They remind me of the abandoned Brooklyn navy yard houses. Click here to see what they looked like before. This THR article back from 2009 explained that the buildings which date back to the 1940’s were being torn down as part of a $2.5 million state grant given to New Windsor. This is what Richard had to say about the buildings:

A few of the 1950’s era military buildings at the former Stewart AFB in Newburgh, NY still remain in slow demolition. They seem to be recycling the exterior brick. Stewart was later Stewart Army Sub Post a satellite base of West point after the Air Force left in the 1960’s. A small Marine reserve air wing still is near these buildings. The Air National Guard is in a new facility on the other side of the air field which is now Stewart International Airport. These buildings where used occasionally for summer barracks for troops training west point cadets during the summer when I served at Stewart in the reserves in the 80’s. They have not been used at all since the 90’s.

Anyone else have memories of these buildings? Do you think they were so unsightly that they needed to be torn down?

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44 Comment

  • I hate to see these old barracks torn down. I have pictures of them in 1941-1943 with my dad standing in front. He was stationed there in the Army Air Corp and then Air Force.

  • I vivdly recall Stewart Air Fore Base. Born in ’53. I can recall driving in the main entrance, past the guard shack, where you would get a proprer salute entering & exiting the main road. I often would drive past those buildings recalling all the activity I saw when being on the base with Air Force friends as a kid.The oficers club, the additional 40/50’s classic brick buildings that lined the road as you near the current terminal, combined with the barracks, gave one a great sense of being on a military compound. I recall going to an air show before I was 10 yrs old and walking the grounds. We kids growing up in Colden Park in the early 60’s just behind the base would often have some lazy summer days when they would practice parachuting We would ly on our backs looking up to spot the plane . . wait to hear the engines slow . . then look for the chutes to open. I know the brick was removed to save on demo costs and were to be recycled. I also realize the land in valuable . . but what a shame not to somehow have figured a way to take that portion of the base – including that NORAD bunker – and create a historical Cold War tourist site to capture that era.

  • I was at Stewart Air force Base during most of 1949. Relative to other military barracks, these were palatial. Brick buildings with beautiful hardwood floors. Instead of scrubbing the floors, we used a floor waxer. Unfortunately the floors were full of cigarette burns.

    Walter Winchell once referred to it as a country club on the Hudson.

    • Albert, I wish there were some original photos of the interiors that we could see! Love that, “country club on the Hudson”

  • Thank you for posting the pictures of on-going demo work at former Stewart AFB. I was stationed at Stewart as a result of the 904th MAG being re-called in January 1968 because the USS Pueblo was captured by North Korea. Last year at this time, my wife and I from Oregon vacationed in the local Hudson River Valley. During our stay I visited the former base several times for a fun walk down memory lane. We spoke with local airport personnel and were reminded the barracks were built of brick because the West Point cadets would come to take flight training at the base and wanted to stay in housing resembling West Point Academy. It would be nice if some buildings could be established as museums and historical memorabilia had a home. A place to view and reflect on the base’s long history.

  • Tha nks for the pictures you posted. I was stationed at Stewart AFB from May 67 – June 69. I was assigned to the 4603 Civil Engineering Squadron. It’s sad to see the old barracks being torn down. My barracks was 1910. Had some wonderful memories from being stationed there. It was a beautiful base at that time. So sad that it couldn’t have been save as part of a museum, or touring site.

    • I agree Gene. I was with the 4603rd CE Sq. also, Aug 66 – Apr 68, before I received a 3 year NATO tour to Naples Italy. As of now, October 2015, our Orderly Room building is just a concrete slab in the ground. Bldg 1910 has been nicely remodeled into a Maine barracks as have that other block of buildings in the immediate area. The library, NCO club, dining hall and the barracks on the hill, including my # 1608 (one of the three CE barracks) are all down. One graceful note, the natural landscaping that has replaced them is to be admired. The PX there still operates for the benefit of the marine detachment there and a Subway occupies the dining area across the entrance inside. The NORAD building still stands and I think is being occupied. Somehow two old 1942 aircraft maintenance buildings immediately north of the Stewart Airport Terminal still stand, as do the brick buildings continuing down the street to the old Base Fire Dept.

    • I was station there 1961 1964 work 4603 Camron B57 PE hanger for year than rest of my time Transit Alert was great time

  • My father was stationed at Stewart Gardens in the mid to late 50’s. The base was a wonderful place to live as a child because it backed up to the woods which offered many areas for play and exploration. Our housing unit was located near a back entrance and there were swamps behind the house. We spent hours playing around those swamps which were loaded with fossils. Once we found a cemetary the government was not aware existed on the base. A protective barrier was built around it when a few bones ended up being a part of someone’s fossil collection. Around the rotted remains of an old log cabin was a strawberry field with the best strawberries ever and a huge hedge of lilac bushes. To get to it we paddled a 55 gallon drum across the swamp. Lots of great memories of this base from my childhood.

  • When I returned from Korea in 1967 I was Stationed at Stewart. I worked @ the Headquarters Squadron (Ground & Air Safety) under Maj. Vernon Burke and Mr. Frank Tangretti. Maj. Burke was a former “Tuskeege Airman” and came from Boston which is where I lived. Years after I got out, I worked for the Disabled American Veterans and located his family and they told me that he had just recently passed away. What a shame I waited too long to re-connect. Compared to other Bases I had been stationed at, Stewart was a Country Club, small, Brick Barracks etc. Over the years in my travels (My daughter now lives in N.Y.) I would swing by the base, reminisce and have a drink @ a old watering hole (The Elbow Room) downtown. Earlier this year I swung by and was flabbergasted at what had happened to the Base and Downtown Newburg. I guess this is what happens to a community when the Government shuts down a Military Installation. For old time sakes, I took a brick from my old Barracks #1602. I guess I’m a sentimental fool Ha! At the time I didn’t think so, BUT my time in the Air Force (Especially @ Stewart) were some of the best times of my life.
    Does anyone out there remember the name of the Night Club on Route #9 outside the base that had the “GO GO” Dancers with “Pasties” that we GI’s always went to on weekends Ha! For the life of me I can’t remember. Getting Old!!!

    • Does anyone remember Colonel (Black Bart) Barton? I have a pic taken around 1960. I think he was deputy base commander. He was a pilot. Thanks!

  • Fond memories of when I lived at stewart 57-58. I’ve been back a few times but makes me very sad to see the deterorating buildings.

  • I was assigned to Stewart AFB in the Fall of 1959 straight out of Tech School in Amarillo Texas. As an Aircraft mechanic I was assigned to the T-33 Flight. Stewart was a well manicured beautiful base. I lived in the barracks shown in the second picture and the second building in the picture. I believe Col. Barrett was the base Commander. I remember when President Eisenhower came in to attend the Army football game. As a airman third class I was one of a large group that had to go out and sweep the ramp the after a rainstorm so the President’s airplane would not get dirty.

    • Hi, how are you Sir!
      I’m a child of a deceased USAF Korean Vet.
      My father was also straight out of a tech school , in the Bronx NY
      (Samuel Gompers)! His name was Angelo Mulle, he loved the Brooklyn Bums, my grandparents were Sicillian! The years you served are similar to what I believe my dad did too…
      He said something about KP duty. Peeling potatoes, onions et.
      Can you please help me?
      Thank you for your service , God Bless You!

    • When I was there transit alert I took care of ike plane when he came in and JFK

    • I was at Stewart Tranit alert took care of Ikes plane plus our crew took care of JFK when he arrive too

  • I was stationed at Stewart AFB from 1963-1967 after trainings and school. Lived in some of these buildings. Base was always active duty assignees, not national guard. Started out with 4603rd ABG which became 1st AF. Rumors were flying about the base was going to be closed from the time I got there until I left; however, something happened at the Flight Line hangers in 1966 with a chemical leak. By mid 1967, personnel were being transferred right and left. Heard the base was closed by end of 1967.

  • Stewart Air Force Base was my first assignment after basic training. I was assigned to the Air Base Group and first worked in base operations (aircraft dispatcher)then as the T-33 scheduler. served for just over 21 years and Stewart was buy far the best looking base I was assigned. Aug63-Jan66.

  • I was an Air Policeman at Stewart 1962-1963. They were two good years for a recruit fresh out of basic. I am pretty sure the middle barracks in the one picture was for the Air Police upstairs and the cooks/bakers downstairs. Our only complaint was the furnance-hotwater heater would malfunction in the winter. It made for some cold rooms and showers. Other than that, I thought the barracks were pretty darn good. I had worse at my next base.
    What I see happening is not what should have been done. I’m glad now I didn’t stop when we drove through the area about three years ago. Reality would have been hard on the memories.

  • I was stationed at Stewart AFB from Jan. 1965 till Feb. 1967. I was in one of those barracks on the hill. We used to stoke the coal furnaces in winter. They were real nice when I was there. I really enjoyed being stationed there, as I was only 90 miles from home. I used to go home every weekend!!! I was in supply and we worked in whse. # 2, towards the front gate. We used to take a duce and half (truck) out to the flight line and watch the F4 Phantoms take off. What a sight. It’s too bad they tore them down. I have good memories of Stewart. We had a civilian named Tony Simonvich (spelling?) He was a nice guy. I remember seeing the Clay vs Liston fight in an old church in Ellenville. When I worked at a golf course in Myrtle Beach, a guy used to be a photographer was from Ellenville. He drove a truck and his name was Chuck. I’ll always remember Stewart back when I was stationed there. Thanks for the photos and the memories.

  • When I left Stewart in 1967, I had orders to Shu Lin Kou Air Station, Taipei, Taiwan with the USAFSS. I was there from Feb. 1967 till May 1968. I had a roommate at Stewart named Pete Brennan from Queens, NY. Also a guy named James Rourke from Clifton, NJ, now deceased. Also new a woman named Ellen from Newburgh and she had the same birthdate as I did. I would like to take a trip there again just to see for myself what I can remember. I just may do that come Sept. I’ll be going up to Selkirk to see my cousin.

  • My dad was USAF! I’m trying so hard to remember details..
    I believe he said he was stationed at Stewart when it was during the Korean War. I’m guessing 1949 or 1950… Ugh. I wish I would have paid more attention to him and his legacy… I’m so ashamed, I now care…. It’s killing me, Trying to remember his stories….

  • Oh Thank God! I’m right… My dad’s name was Angelo Mulle. Does anyone remember him? He is now deceased, and is buried in Calverton out in lI…. He graduated from Samuel Gompers in the Bronx, then immediately joined the USAF! He loved our country and was so proud…

  • I am heartsick. This was such a beautiful base. I was stationed there from 1962-1964. The reason I just googled it is because five of us are having a little reunion there in October! I knew it was now an airport but I cannot imagine this is how they had let it become. It was so picturesque. It has been a lot of years and I know things change but we’re going there to share the old memories of what really were some good times.

  • I remember President Eisenhower arriving at the base. He used the entrance near our housing so a friend and I stood in the pouring rain and waited for him. When Eisenhower’s car passed us it slow to nearly a stop, he rolled down the window and waved at us. We were elated! I told everyone I had seen the president and he waved and smiled at me. I never knew the reason for his visit until I read your entry. Seeing that he arrived by plane, I now wonder what he was doing in a motorcade.
    Yesterday I spoke to my brother who flew an Apache into Stewart for refueling some years ago and saw all the changes to the base. We were reminiscing about riding our bikes and wagons down “Skeleton Hill” and our beagle, Frisky.

  • I was stationed there in in 1967 and worked at the sage building, ( still there) and in base law enforcement. Went there last week and they were tearing down just the housing barracks….Steve kunkel

    • Thanks for the information. I hope you have success installing your pics for viewing. It would be great to see some current photos of former Stewart AFB.

  • Seeing those photo’s reminded Me, That in the Early 1960’s, b4 our First child, Mary and i took a leisurely trip up thru, Niagara, and then down thru New-York-State… When we stopped at, Sampson AFB, I was knocked-over by the way it was just left; Rotting-to-Ruin….. I’ve read since, that all of it has been made over into a State Park… Also; Way Across the Pacific, into, South-Korea, My former Marine Air-Base Location, K6, near, P’yongtaek, has now been made into, A Booming, Army-Base, ” Camp Johnson “, w/ High-Rise Buildings and now have, U. S.
    Army Families living there… The surrounding, Mud-Brick Houses, in the Town are All-Gone eons ago… Someone told Me that to view a Olde-Type Dwelling, nowadays i would have to visit a Museum,,, Also their, Modern-Rail-Lines Put Us to Shame.. Funny; but wherever U S Troops have formerly been amongst squalor; When We Leave, Many Became Modern Locale’s, and maybe even Surpassed Us, in Rail-Transit in Particular… WOW Watta price was paid for that Real-estate.. Go-Figure ???

  • I was stationed at Stewart 1966-67 before going to Vietnam. Worked in accntg finance in charge of paying af reserves and ang on the northern part of the east coast. My wife and I were married at the base chapel which probably no longer exists.

  • This brings lot of memrories as I was there 1961 1964 great place and seeing theses pictures are very sad I was in different barracks new one made of brick it was torn down long ago the barracks you see in theses pictures are the wac Barracks

  • I was stationed at Stewart AFB two times. I was stationed there after I graduated from Sheppard AFB in Texas in 1965 and then I had been re-assigned there In 1967-69 after coming back from Vietnam. I was an aircraft mechanic at Stewart. I lived in the barracks too, I loved that base, and I have so many great memories there.

  • I was stationed at Stewart right out of tech school and I was assigned to the C-119 sq with a great NCOIC Sgt. Hodges. I lived in the big 3 story barracks at the far end of the base, which I still believe is there. Stewart was great for me because I lived on Long Island and use to hitchhike home on weekends. It was a sad day when they closed it down as a active AF base and we moved to Richards Gebaur AFB Missouri.

  • My family was stationed at Stewart from 64-67.
    We lived in the newer military housing- huge back yard with a stream.
    I left Washingtonville High School when my step-father was transferred and ended up graduating from a school in Massachusetts.
    I missed Stewart so much.
    Am heading off for the 50th reunion of the class of ’66.

  • I really enjoyed reading these memories of Stewart Air Base. I found the article while looking for information about the air base when it was a US Air Force Base, and the scarcity of information was evident. I decided to start a Facebook page for people who lived worked or was stationed there, or even lived near by to share their memories.
    I will leave the page up and see how many people add to it. Feel free to join at

    https://www.facebook.com/Stewart-Air-Base-Memories-1336398293037400/?skip_nax_wizard=true

  • My first assignment was Stewart AFB. Arrived mid November 1968. Was there until December 1969 when the base was starting its close down phase. Lots of good times at SWF. Worked in Base Operations. Remember Woodstock August of 1969 and Col. Frank Borman flying in after his Apollo 8 mission. Still have photos of the base when it was in outstanding shape.