Atlantic Richfield Company
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

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One River Street and World War II

What you should know

During World War II, Anaconda Wire and Cable Company and the people of Hastings-on-Hudson played a major role in supporting the war effort by supplying vital electrical cable and other military equipment for the U.S. Navy.

The PCB coating is widely credited with saving the lives of thousands of sailors by preventing electrical fires when ships were struck during battle.

Anaconda Wire and Cable Company and Hastings-on-Hudson played a major role in supplying the Navy during World War II

During World War II, Anaconda Wire and Cable Company and the people of Hastings-on-Hudson played a major role in supporting the war effort by supplying vital electrical cable and other military equipment for the U.S. Navy.

Anaconda and its employees earned the prestigious Army-Navy E pennant for excellence in supplying military equipment in 1943. Admiral Hyman Rickover himself came to Hastings to honor the contribution made here to the war effort.

The PCB contamination on the riverfront and in the Hudson River dates from this era. The U.S. Navy required that all electrical cables supplied to its ships be coated in a PCB mixture as a fire retardant. The PCB coating is widely credited with saving the lives of thousands of sailors by preventing electrical fires when ships were struck during battle. Until the widespread use of PCB coating for electrical cables on war ships, the fires that resulted from being struck with explosives during battles often killed more people and did more damage than the actual explosives themselves.

When the company converted its operation to civilian purposes after the War, PCB use was discontinued.

While PCB use has left an environmental legacy that now must be remediated, it played a major role in saving lives and protecting Naval ships from collateral damage.

While Anaconda Wire and Cable Company has long since ceased operations and the waterfront is in transformation away from its role as an industrial center, the work that was done at the plant by the people of Hastings-on-Hudson and nearby communities at a critical moment in our nation's history is a proud achievement that deserves to be recognized and remembered.During WWII, PCB mixtures were used to make fireproof products for U.S. Navy battleships, including wiring that would not burn if the ship was hit by a torpedo or other enemy fire. PCB insulation allowed the ship's vital operations (electricity, communications) to continue during an emergency, saving the lives of thousands of American sailors during the war.

After the war, Anaconda enjoyed a boom building electrical and television cable. Over time, the same economic and population factors that caused the migration of old-line, blue-collar industries from the northeast to the Southwest took its toll on the Anaconda plant. Anaconda closed its Hastings-on-Hudson facility in 1975 after many years of gradual decline.

Anaconda was purchased by Atlantic Richfield (AR) in 1977. AR never operated the plant. AR sold the site in 1978 to two other parties.