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Camp Funston - Illustrated Cantonment Life - 1918

Camp Funston Illustrated Cantonment Life

In June 1917, the War Department decided to locate a large Army Cantonment on the Government Reservation at Fort Riley, Kansas. At the direction of Secretary of War Baker, Professor James S. Pray of Harvard University, engineer and expert in town planning; Mr. Wynkoop Kiersted of Liberty, Missouri, engineer and expert on water works and sewerage; Herbert Hare, landscape architect of Kansas City, Missouri; and Lieutenant-Colonel (then Captain) Fred J. Herman of the Quartermaster Corps, United States Army, met at Fort Riley and selected the present site of Camp Funston.

The land selected was a large meadow near the Kansas River, bounded by high bluffs on the north and on the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Active construction was begun July 1, 1917, and the Cantonment was completed December 1, 1917.

Camp Funston has accommodations for over 50,000 men and has been built at a cost of approximately $10,000,000. It is the largest of the permanently built Cantonments and consists mainly of two-story buildings. It has complete systems of water works and sewers; is lighted by electricity; has its own refrigerating plants, capable of manufacturing all ice needed and refrigerating all meats, etc. It maintains its own garbage collection and disposal system and incinerators for garbage and dead animals.

Camp Funston is the only Cantonment possessing a Zone of Camp Activities, representing an invesment of over $1,500,000, financed and built by private capital, without cost to the Government, planned under the personal direction of Captain Dick B. Foster. It is four city blocks long, containing an arcade where refreshment booths are established; complete restaurants in operation, large stores carrying complete lines of merchandise for the soldiers; theatres, pool halls, picture shows, barber shops, clothing repair shops, bowling alleys, etc.

Camp Funston has 14 Y.M.C.A. Buildings; three Knights of Columbus Buildings; a large libirary, conducted by the American Libirary Association; a hostess house under the auspices of the Y.W.C.A.; and numerous places of amusement and recreation. Fourteen infirmaries are maintained as well as numerous regimental hospitals. The Base Hospital has accommodations for over 3,000 patients.

Camp Funston is heated by its own steam heating system, costing over a million dollars, consisting of 17 large central plants, 2 for the Base Hospital, and 37 smaller plants for groupe of office buildings. Fourteen miles of steam railway and several miles of electric lines are maintained within the Camp proper.

Camp Funston has its own fire department, adequately equipped with 12 pieces of motor apparatus and manned with 550 picked men who have had experience in the larger cities.

There are 28 miles of stone paved streets in the Camp, eight miles of which are water-bound macadam and twenty of macadam with asphalt border.

The barracks for men and quarters for officers were erected for summer and winter occupancy, splendidly lighted and heated. The soldiers' barracks are two stories high and are provided with completely equipped kitchens and mess halls. Adjoining the living quarters are modern lavatories, containing shower baths with hot and cold water.

The police force of Camp Funston consists of the military police, a special organization.
Suitable buildings are provided at division headquarters for foreign officers, and officers on duty as instructors in trench warfare, as attacks, defense, etc., developed in the last three years.

At no time in the world's history has the soldier been so well cared for as he is today in Cantonments and Army Posts of the United States. Wherever criticism has been heard it has eminated from the mouths of the uninformed, the ignorant, and from wilful misrepresentations based on a lack of technical, sanitary and military knowledge.

Panoramic View of Camp Funston

CAMP FUNSTON KANSAS. Named in honor of our Nation's hero, General Frederick Funston. The largest of the solid built Cantonments, being of wood and mostly of two story barracks, having all the essential necessities of a city, accommodating over 50,000 men and being over two miles long. Construction of this Camp used up 47,700,000 feet of lumber and many thousands of car loads of hardware, roofing, plumber supplies, water mains, pumps, machinery, cement and equipment for the buildings and reached a cost of approximately $10,000,000. The heating system cost over $1,200,000, and notwithstanding the cost of heating sytem, this is the cheapest per capita of any Cantonment built. The Construction Quartermaster, upon whose shoulders this great responsibility was placed, is Lieutenant Colonel Fred J. Herman.

Publication Information

Created, Produced and Sold by Baird Company Engravers, Kansas City, MO, Price $1.00. The Book is published under the direction of the Department of Camp Activities and Amusements, Camp Funston, Kansas. Official Photographer for Baird Co. Engravers : Frank C. Rogers. Copyright 1918, Baird Company Engravers. Illustrations must not be reproduced without special permission.

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Cantonment Life Illustrated - 1918