Camp Funston - WW1 Cantonment
Views of Camp Funston in Kansas. Camp Funston Illustrated, 1918. GGA Image ID # 19d5578b6b
The Camp Funston of World War I was the largest semi-permanent type training camp in the nation. The sprawling cantonment area could accommodate 50,000 men. It was built at an estimated cost of $10,000,000, and it was named in honor of General Frederick L. Funston, a distinguished soldier, who commanded the 20th Kansas Regiment in the Philippine Insurrection. Construction began in July, 1917, and the cantonment was completed December 1, 1917. Consisting mainly of two-story buildings, Camp Funston had complete waterworks, electrical, and refrigeration systems.
Troops of the initial draft trained at Camp Funston in overalls, and with wooden guns. The first division to train at Camp Funston was the 89th, commanded by Major General Leonard Wood. The division sailed for France late in the spring of 1918 without General Wood. The General remained at Fort Riley to train the 10th Division.
Camp Funston is the only Cantonment possessing a Zone of Camp Activities, representing an investment 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. Many photos illustrate camp life during WW1.
Camp Funston can accommodate 41,000 people—a city as populous as the State capital. To the south of the camp runs the Kansas River and to the north are grass-covered hills.
My impressions at Camp Funston were altogether favorable. I was in camp and with our camp-pastors three days, moving; about from early morning till late at night, either on foot or in electric cars, jitneys, and autos.