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Picture the US Army's Original Camp Bowie in 1918


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#1 gotutex

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 06:24 PM


Years ago, somewhere I saw a map of the original Camp Bowie (c1918), and with it came a few landmarks and street names in Fort Worth . . . to help describe exactly where the camp was situated relative to the city.

Going on memory here, the camp generally occupied the high ground west of (what is now) Montgomery Street, east of Lake Como, south of the Trinity Rivere, and north of the T&P tracks along W. Vickery St. Further, I have read somewhere that a streetcar line ran from downtown FW to the camp, and the tracks were situated virtually on the center of what is now Camp Bowie Blvd.

QUESTIONS:

* Does anybody have a map of the original Camp Bowie?

* Was the camp inside the city limits of 1918?

* Is it true that today's Rivercrest Country Club golf course was once the camp's officers club course?

* Where were the barracks?

* Where were the stables?

* Were there any noteworthy structures in the camp or any that that still stand today?

* Did Camp Bowie Boulevard exist as a city street?

* Other than Lake Como, was there anything of interest west of Camp Bowie?

* The war ended in the fall of 1918. How long after the army abandoned the camp did developers begin to plan the Arlington Heights, Rivercrest, and Montecello neighborhoods?



#2 AndyN

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 10:44 PM

I have surveyed in and around the camp location and have seen bits and parts of deeds and maps that refer to the camp, but not enough to have a complete picture of it. Djold1 (Pete Charlton at www.lectricbooks.com has a topo map that shows the limits of the camp.)

As I recall, Arlington Heights was actually developed in 1890. It was a streetcar development, so I'm sure Camp Bowie Boulevard was in place at the time since that was the route of the streetcar, although I think it was called Arlington Boulevard or something like that. There was a place called Ye Arlington Inn, which I imagine was swanky in its day.

I can't think of any structures remaining that are original to the camp. I think there were some apartments/former barracks there several years back, but they were removed for museum expansion. I don't think the public health building was part of the camp.
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#3 WTx

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 11:35 PM

There is a book out for purchase at Barnes and Noble and other like stores called "Fort Worth in Vintage Postcards" by Quentin McGown. There is some info and pics on pages 60/61. The book states that Fort Worth offered 1400 acres on the citys west side much of which had been part of 19th century Arlington Heights. Construction began in April 1917 and the base was closed by 1919. The book also says that the officers quarters were built along Hilcrest Road not far from the country club at River Crest. Hope that helps a bit?

#4 johnlp

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 09:14 AM

Does this help?
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#5 djold1

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 09:31 AM

Very nice map. Looks like a Charles Rogers work if I decipher the credits correctly. Was this published in a book or brochure or was it issued flat?

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#6 gotutex

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 10:17 AM

QUOTE(johnlp @ Mar 29 2006, 09:14 AM) View Post

Does this help?
IPB Image




Wow. Perfect.

Help me out in superimposing current landmarks on this map. When I prrinted this map, some of the typography was too small to be easily read.

Post corrections if any of the following conclusions are incorrect --

In 1918 --

* Camp Bowie Boulevard was named "Arlington Heights Blvd."

* W. Vickery was named "Grandbury Rd."

* The eastern exent was about where University Drive is now

* W. Lancaster was called "Crocket Avenue"

* The remount station was situated approximately where we have Will Rogers-Casa Manana complex

* The post's hospital would have been somewhere near Merrick Street

* Today's Rivercrest Country Club was not part of the original camp, even though one feature is called "Country Club Stop"








#7 gotutex

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 12:48 PM

QUOTE(AndyN @ Mar 28 2006, 10:44 PM) View Post

I have surveyed in and around the camp location and have seen bits and parts of deeds and maps that refer to the camp, but not enough to have a complete picture of it. Djold1 (Pete Charlton at www.lectricbooks.com has a topo map that shows the limits of the camp.)

As I recall, Arlington Heights was actually developed in 1890. It was a streetcar development, so I'm sure Camp Bowie Boulevard was in place at the time since that was the route of the streetcar, although I think it was called Arlington Boulevard or something like that. There was a place called Ye Arlington Inn, which I imagine was swanky in its day.

I can't think of any structures remaining that are original to the camp. I think there were some apartments/former barracks there several years back, but they were removed for museum expansion. I don't think the public health building was part of the camp.




I found the following narrative from The Handbook of Texas Online --

CAMP BOWIE (Tarrant County). Construction of Camp Bowie began on July 18, 1917. The camp, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood about three miles west of downtown Fort Worth, was established by the United States War Department to give training to the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division.qv Local officials expected financial gain and urged that the camp be located at Fort Worth. Including the adjacent rifle range and trench system, the site encompassed 2,186 acres. The camp was named for Alamo defender James Bowie.qv Cavalrymen of the First Texas Cavalry guarded the camp during its raising. Although classified as a tent camp, it required much construction to accommodate a division of men. Camp Bowie was opened officially on August 24, 1917, with Maj. Gen. Edwin St. John Grebleqv of the regular army as commandant. During Greble's absence, the camp was commanded by a number of generals, including Brig. Gen. George Blakely.

The Thirty-sixth Division remained at Camp Bowie for ten months. Training dragged, partly because of epidemics and equipment shortages, but morale never flagged, thanks in part to the cooperation of Fort Worth in tending to the social needs of the troops. Relations between town and camp were remarkably good throughout the camp's existence, though the February 18, 1918, issue of Pass in Review, the bimonthly newspaper of camps Bowie and Taliaferro (near Saginaw), announced a base-mandated "purity crusade" designed to close down the brothels that thrived near the camp.

Camp Bowie's greatest average monthly strength was recorded in October 1917 as 30,901. On April 11, 1918, the Thirty-sixth went on parade in the city for the first time. The four-hour event drew crowds estimated at 225,000, making it possibly the biggest parade in Fort Worth's history. For about five months after the departure of the Thirty-sixth for France in July 1918, the camp functioned as an infantry replacement and training facility, with monthly population ranging from 4,164 to 10,527. A total of more than 100,000 men trained at the camp. Greble's retirement in September 1918 began a fairly rapid turnover of commandants that did not end until the camp ceased operation.

Shortly after the Armistice on November 11, 1918, Camp Bowie was designated a demobilization center. By May 31, 1919, it had discharged 31,584 men. The heaviest traffic occurred in June, when it processed thousands of combat veterans of the Thirty-sixth and Ninetieth Texas-Oklahoma divisions. The demobilization having been concluded, Camp Bowie was closed on August 15, 1919. After the camp closed it was quickly converted to a residential area, as builders took advantage of utility hookups left by the army.

#8 gotutex

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 06:37 AM

Twenty or so years ago, there was a two-story building just off Camp Bowie Boulevard somehow linked to the original army camp. Restauranteurs named the building something like "Rangoon Raquet Club" and ran it as a successful bar and restaurant, as I recall. Had a beer garden out back with lights all around the trees.

I can't remember the story linking that building to the army post. It might have been that the owners were claiming that it was the original officers' club.

I think the exact location was just north of the boulevard somewhere between Arlington Heights Methodist and the old FW water tower.

* Anybody remember that place or it's claim to history?

* Anybody know what happened to the building or if it is still standing?





#9 RD Milhollin

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 09:06 AM

QUOTE(gotutex @ Mar 30 2006, 08:37 AM) View Post

Twenty or so years ago, there was a two-story building just off Camp Bowie Boulevard somehow linked to the original army camp. Restauranteurs named the building something like "Rangoon Raquet Club" and ran it as a successful bar and restaurant, as I recall. Had a beer garden out back with lights all around the trees.

I can't remember the story linking that building to the army post. It might have been that the owners were claiming that it was the original officers' club.

I think the exact location was just north of the boulevard somewhere between Arlington Heights Methodist and the old FW water tower.

* Anybody remember that place or it's claim to history?

* Anybody know what happened to the building or if it is still standing?


Ah yes, I remember it, well sort of. It is like the '60's, if you remember it you probably weren't there.

The Rangoon Racket Club was a little east of where you refer to I think, although I would have to go over to the Westside and walk a little to get the exact location. It was an upscale place, a favorite of society types on the weekends, on Tuesdays they had great specials for restaurant and bar workers, great hangout. I seem to remember that was where Priscilla Davis and Stan Farr were partying the night that the "masked man" opened the state-of-the-art security system at the Cullen Davis Mansion and began shooting.

The place was imortalized as the Baboon Rocket Club in Tommy Thompson's novel "Celebrity", which is set primarily in westside Fort Worth. If you Fort Worth fans have never read it, I suggest it wholeheartedly. It is fun to go through and try to guess the real names of people and places that the author in some cases barely disguises. See if you can find the reference to Massey's Restaurant.

Sadly, I have no idea what happpened to the business or the building that once housed it.

#10 Shocker

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 11:49 AM

I actually barely remember going to the Rangoon Racket Club once with my parents (well pre 1980) when I was a kid. I asked my dad about it and he has quite fond memories. He said the building was originally an Officer's Club and that it is currently used as office space. He remembers that it was quite popular even until it closed. His favorite thing was a brass sign by the front which read "Exclusively for Non-Members." Good times.

#11 Urbndwlr

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 03:06 PM

QUOTE(Shocker @ Apr 1 2006, 12:49 PM) View Post

I actually barely remember going to the Rangoon Racket Club once with my parents (well pre 1980) when I was a kid. I asked my dad about it and he has quite fond memories. He said the building was originally an Officer's Club and that it is currently used as office space. He remembers that it was quite popular even until it closed. His favorite thing was a brass sign by the front which read "Exclusively for Non-Members." Good times.


Is the Rangoon Racquet Club building still standing? That was before my time. I thought it existed on the site where another building now stands. No?

I hope these old buildings are protected.

#12 RD Milhollin

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 12:01 AM

QUOTE(Urbndwlr @ Jul 12 2006, 04:06 PM) View Post

Is the Rangoon Racquet Club building still standing? That was before my time. I thought it existed on the site where another building now stands. No?


Surprise, It's still there! It has been bricked over though, well, at least I remember it not being red brick back in the 1980's. I have some photos, I will be glad to send them to you if you want to post.

#13 seurto

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Posted 14 July 2006 - 06:57 AM

QUOTE(Prairie Pup @ Mar 30 2006, 10:06 AM) View Post


The place was imortalized as the Baboon Rocket Club in Tommy Thompson's novel "Celebrity", which is set primarily in westside Fort Worth. If you Fort Worth fans have never read it, I suggest it wholeheartedly. It is fun to go through and try to guess the real names of people and places that the author in some cases barely disguises. See if you can find the reference to Massey's Restaurant.



I read that "hundreds" of years ago when if first came out; hadn't thought about it in years. Saw it at an estate sale last weekend, but didn't pick it up. I wish I had; I'd like to read it again. We ought to have a FW book club sort of thing; y'know read the books about FW (this one, "Blood Will Tell", some Dan Jenkins), then get together and flesh it all out. That might be fun. O, plus, the "masked man"/Davis shooting thing anniversary is coming up, 8/2/76 if I'm not mistaken. May be a golden opportunity for FW Forum mischief rotflmao.gif !! cool.gif


#14 djold1

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 10:35 AM

As you are probably aware from previous general posts I am in the final stages of getting my CDROM of the Antique Maps of Fort Worth, Tarrant County & North Texas ready to publish. I am going to include a little section showing maps of the Stone & Webster Fort Worth city lines, NTT and TCT as well.

I recently picked up a good image of a 1918 map of the Camp Bowie section of Fort Worth during WWI. This is the only map that I have ever seen of this period that shows the streetcar lines and its progress out Arlington Heights Blvd (Now Camp Bowie Blvd), cutting off at Byers Street to go due west and then at Prevost dropping south across Camp Bowie/Arlington Heights Blvd to the terminus loop at Lake Como.

See the Camp Bowie Map Image in a previous post above...

As I progress to later maps, the loop seems to have been compressed to maybe dead-end tracks as shown in the 1925 C.H. Rogers maps or at least a smaller loop. Then by 1929 as shown in the Jenkins/Fort Worth Blueprint map, the car line then ends (As described in the text on the map about car line access) at Prevost & Pershing Streets and a shuttle bus or motor coach runs on down to Lake Como.

All this is pretty well established. But ever since I moved to Fort Worth in 1971 there has been a small nagging question about the Camp Bowie streetcar line. And I thought maybe one or more you would have some insight on it. Here's the question:

Remembering that the Camp Bowie line was double track in the street median: After the car line to Como Lake was terminated, sometime in the 1920's (Is there a date for that?) then apparently the western Terminus was at the intersection of Camp Bowie and Pershing Streets. I have never seen anything that indicated that it was anything more than a dead end with a double ended streetcar returning back the way it came.

And yet..

Until the recent reconstruction of Camp Bowie which wiped everything out, I would swear that there was evidence in the brick streets and crossovers of a car line running in the south side of the Camp Bowie median all the way up to Pershing which would indicate the Byers to Prevost to Pershing to Camp Bowie route was essentially a return loop, instead of a stub. Which would make sense considering the little cost involved to build and maintain it. Why would you have double trackage in the median out to Byers and then have to return on the Byers single track line and then presumably cross over to the east bound track on the south side?

But

I have never seen that mentioned..

Can anyone help on this? It would be appreciated..

Thanks for any help..

By the way, the Stockyards Museum which is in Suite #103 of the Livestock Exchange Building on Exchange Street in the Stockyards District has a very good collection of WWi Camp Bowier memorabilia and items on display. And they have just received some newly donated Camp Bowie pictures and other ephemera that they are beginning to catalogue to future display.

Also.. For those of you that admire early 1900's architecture, the Livestock Exchange Building with its second floor galleries is a real gem. It is worth taking a few minutes to walk around to appreciate its well maintained atmosphere. Even at over 100 years old, it is a full working commercial building. It predates the better known and more acclaimed Swift Headquarters building by several years.

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#15 RogerWilco

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 10:47 AM

QUOTE (gotutex @ Mar 28 2006, 06:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Years ago, somewhere I saw a map of the original Camp Bowie (c1918), and with it came a few landmarks and street names in Fort Worth . . . to help describe exactly where the camp was situated relative to the city.

Going on memory here, the camp generally occupied the high ground west of (what is now) Montgomery Street, east of Lake Como, south of the Trinity Rivere, and north of the T&P tracks along W. Vickery St. Further, I have read somewhere that a streetcar line ran from downtown FW to the camp, and the tracks were situated virtually on the center of what is now Camp Bowie Blvd.

QUESTIONS:

* Does anybody have a map of the original Camp Bowie?

* Was the camp inside the city limits of 1918?

* Is it true that today's Rivercrest Country Club golf course was once the camp's officers club course?

* Where were the barracks?

* Where were the stables?

* Were there any noteworthy structures in the camp or any that that still stand today?

* Did Camp Bowie Boulevard exist as a city street?

* Other than Lake Como, was there anything of interest west of Camp Bowie?

* The war ended in the fall of 1918. How long after the army abandoned the camp did developers begin to plan the Arlington Heights, Rivercrest, and Montecello neighborhoods?


This is probably about 3 years to late for you but, I found that if I took the Camp Bowie map mentioned in these posts and drop it into Google Earth as an overlay it lines up perfectly! You can use the opacity tool to see both maps.







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