Camp Dodge - History - World War I Army Cantonment 1917
Top: Studying French at YMCA. Bottom: In One of the Canteens. Camp Dodge Photographs, Series 5. Our Sons at Camp Dodge: A Book of Pictures by the Des Moines Register and Evening Tribune, 1917. GGA Image ID # 14eb1caa4c
Troops from four States are being trained at Camp Dodge, 11 miles north of Des Moines, Iowa. These troops include all of the National Army forces from Iowa, North Dakota, and Minnesota, and those from a middle belt of Illinois.
Military scenes are not new to the neighborhood of Camp Dodge, for the site embraces the Fort Dodge State rifle range and maneuver grounds of the Iowa National Guard in peace times.
The camp lies on both sides of the Des Moines River and occupies an area of about 3,500 acres. Many other cities sought the cantonment, but Des Moines showed that it enjoyed 3,000 hours more of sunshine a year than any rival site. It has 259 days of all or part sunshine. Its average annual temperature is 48 degrees.
Des Moines is one of the great railroad centers of the Middle West. It is the capital of the State, and its name signifies "Of the Monks." Founded 71 years ago, it is now a city of 100,000 progressive citizens.
Camp Dodge was named for General Grenville M. Dodge, a civil engineer who helped to make the Platte Survey, one of the first railroad surveys toward the Pacific. He was an officer in the Civil War, rising to the rank of major general of volunteers.
In 1864 he cammanded the Sixteenth Corps of General Sherman's army in the campaign which resulted in the fall of Atlanta. Later he was given command of the Department of the Missouri. He became chief engineer of the Union Pacific in 1867, and of the Texas and Pacific in 1871. He served a term in Congress, and in 1898 was appointed by President McKinley as chairman of a commission to investigate the charges of departmental mismanagement in the Spanish-American War.