Camp Grant Pictorial History Brochure - 1917
Front Cover, Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois - A Picture History, 1917. GGA Image ID # 1864e8debd
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Administrative History Note (1)
Camp Grant was established on July 18, 1917, to serve as a training center for the 86th Division (National Army). Named after Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the post was located 4 miles south of Rockford, Illinois.
Construction began in late June 1917 and was essentially completed by November of that year. The post received its first increment of draftees between the 1st and 15th of September 1917.
Camp Grant was designated as an infantry replacement and training camp in April 1918 and as a demobilization center in December 1918.
Several officers' training schools also operated at Camp Grant. The post was abandoned, except for a caretaker, in April 1924, and the buildings were sold by May 1, 1924.
On June 24, 1917, the work of building suitable quarters for housing, and providing drill grounds, rifle ranges, etc., for the training of this division of 43,000 men of the new National Army, was begun.
In a little more than three months after the erection of the first building, 180 barracks were ready for the reception of the first contingent of the selected men who are now being trained.
And in the short period of five months, the cornfields, pastures, and orchards had been razed, and in their stead, long rows of bare, unpainted structures had sprung up; macadamized roads built; sewers put in; heating, lighting, and water systems installed; bridges built, and a remount station and rifle range constructed.
The post was christened Camp Grant in honor of General Ulysses S. Grant.
The total cost of the camp was $7,000,000. The largest number of men working at any one time was 8,500, but it is estimated at least 50,000 individuals worked on the big job.
The camp's total area is 5640 acres, within which eighteen miles of water pipe were laid, through which the camp water plant forces 6,000,000 gallons of water per day.
Three hundred and fifty miles of electric wire was strung and is in use.
The 1,520 buildings have an aggregate floor space of 2,200 acres, and if placed end to end, would reach a distance of twenty-five miles. Forty-eight million feet of lumber, 680 tons of nails, and 21,000 barrels of cement were used in constructing the buildings and their foundations. In all, 4,500 carloads of material were hauled into camp by railroads.
Fifty-nine steam-heating plants furnish heat for the cantonment through a system of thirty-two miles of pipes. Each of the big power plants contains a battery of from two to ten 250-horsepower boilers.
In contrast to the heating system, an ice plant turns out 20,000 tons of ice a day to supply the cold-storage house and the refrigerators of the 180 barracks. Fifty tons of rubbish are carted away from these barracks each day to the garbage incinerator to be burned. Most of the garbage from the camp is sold to nearby farmers for feeding to hogs.
The base hospital unit contains 61 buildings, which were erected at the cost of $500,000. Thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and supplies have been purchased for the hospital.
Camp Grant has a remount depot, which has a capacity of 5,000 animals. At this station, animals for the army are assorted and assigned to the various army posts in the central department's zone at Chicago. In connection with the remount depot is a school for blacksmiths. The remount depot buildings cover fifteen acres.
Fire protection for the military city is secured through an efficient fire department housed in three fire stations. Two hundred and sixty-two fire hydrants are provided throughout the camp, and 18,000 pails and as many fire extinguishers are placed in the various buildings for emergency use.
Eighteen miles of macadam road and a pile bridge 1,000 feet in length with an eighteen-foot driveway were built. Connecting with the camp system of roadways are two cement roads leading from Rockford to the cantonment.
1 War Department. Camp Grant, Illinois. 7/18/1917-4/1924 Organization Authority Record.