Caserne Major Cogniaux
THE ABANDONED MILITARY SITE IN BELGIUM
‘Caserne Major Cogniaux’ is an old military site in the Belgium city Verviers. From 1890 until 1935 this military site was named ‘Caserne de Stembert’. It was eventually abandoned in 1994.
Due to its geographical position, the city of Verviers was involved in many international conflicts. The first plans for building a military base in Verviers are made during the year 1842. But it took almost 40 years before the first soldiers were stationed. In 1881 the army is quartered in an old textile factory. But in 1890 the troops move into this new innovative building, the ‘Caserne de Stembert’, built by the head of military engineering, captain Sinet.
The barracks are composed of three main buildings and had all the luxury for its time. A wide variety of troops were stationed here over the decades. In 1935 new buildings increased the capacity of the barracks with three infantry battalions. Thereupon the site is renamed ‘Caserne Major Cogniaux’. It stationed among others the 20ème TTR or Division des Troupes de Transmission.
By the end of October 1994, most soldiers had already left the Verviers barracks, and by the end of 1994, the last soldier left the place empty. It took several years of abandonment before the first buildings were converted to houses. In late 2008, the first building was completed, Block C has now 41 apartments. The facade and the high walls that surround the 3.5 hectares have been preserved. I visited ‘Caserne Major Cogniaux’ in 2014.