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Camp Grant - History - World War I Army Cantonment


Located about five miles south of Rockford, Ill., to the east of Rock River, and connected with that city by a magnificent concrete highway, Camp Grant, which is the training quarters for the men who will constitute the divisions to be drawn from northern Illinois and all except the Lake Michigan shore counties of Wisconsin, is one of the most northerly of the i6 cantonments. It has more sunny days than any other of the i6 cantonments, with 274 cloudless or only partially cloudy ones annually.

Camp Grant is bounded on the west by the Rock River, and fronts the north bank of the beautiful little Kishwaukee River for a distance of half a mile. Rockford, with a population of 6o,000, was so enthusiastic about having a cantonment near it that a fund of $ioo,000 was raised to improve conditions there. The Chamber of Commerce built some 400 residences on a tract outside of the cantonment used as homes for the officers. No city has shown a heartier hospitality to the new National Army forces than Rockford.

This cantonment was laid out with an eye to preserving the natural beauty of the site. A magnificent fringe of trees stretches along the banks of Rock River and has been preserved for park purposes. Some rare old farm houses have been utilized as officers' quarters.

A circle drawn around the camp at a distance of 8o miles will pass through Chicago and Milwaukee, cross the Mississippi at Dubuque and embrace an area in Iowa within the Big Bend of that river between Dubuque and Davenport. This territory embraces magnificent farming land and the great dairy region of which Elgin is the center and from which annually come hundreds of millions of pounds of golden butter.

Of course, everybody knows for whom this camp was named—Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, chief military hero of the Northern armies in the Civil War and afterward President of the United States.

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