The Camp Zachary Taylor Football Squad – 100 years ago this fall.

Camp Taylor vs. Camp Hancock, Nov. 16, 1918 at Eclipse Field, Louisville.

It’s Football Season, and 100 years ago, plans were conceived to create a football team for Camp Zachary Taylor. With the war winding down, and thousands of soldiers on base with little to get excited about, the army proposed to assemble a “Crack Football Team” that would compete against other army camps and universities that would be interested in joining the league. Trench and Camp, the weekly soldier newspaper, reported in August, that Capt. Samuel B. Jones (see photo below), was in communication with other camps and several universities to organize the teams.

Moral Officer, Major Forrest C. Braden, encouraged extra circular activities among the men to keep them their spirits ups, and not let them become idle. Sports competition among the men was a regular part of their training, which already consisted of Boxing, Basketball, Baseball and Tennis.

Maj. Forrest C. Braden  (1st row center) – Morale Officer Camp Zachary Taylor

Trench and Camp Newspaper

Captain Samuel D. Jones

Brig. General Fred T. Austin – acting commander at Camp Zachary Taylor


Brigadier General Fred T. Austin, the commanding officer at Camp Taylor, would review and approve the appropriations.

The camp organized several intramural teams and from those teams, organized a team that represented Camp Taylor outside of the camp.

Officers in charge of acquiring the best, and most experienced, football players in the region pulled out all of the stops when finding and recruiting ex-college and professional players to join their team. Camp Taylor was no exception, and had some of the best players available to them. Two of the biggest acquisitions were recent college champions, Arthur Hoffman from Cornell University and the great Al Feeney, from the University of Notre Dame.

Arthur L. Hoffman was a graduate of Cornell University and played from 1915 to 1918. He played the fullback position and was on the 1915 National Championship team. Cornell was undefeated that season with a 9-0 record. Four of the games were shutouts, with only 50 combined points scored against them, while scoring 287 points for Cornell. Their game against Harvard (10-0) was Harvard’s first loss in 50 games. They defeated Michigan (at Ann Arbor) 34 to 7.

Arthur L. Hoffman – Cornell University c.1917

Al Feeney was a graduate of Notre Dame University and a member of the Fighting Irish Football Team (1911-1913). Feeney played center alongside team Captain, Knute Rockne (Left End). Notre Dame was undefeated those three seasons, and dominated collegiate football those three years.

Al Feeney was 26 years old when he was summoned to Camp Zachary Taylor in 1918. After leaving Notre Dame in 1913, Feeney joined the Indianapolis Em-Roes (named after Em-roe Sporting Goods Co. of Indianapolis and team owner), a professional basketball team. He played in the guard position. From 1914 to 1916, the Em-Roes traveled the state of Indiana and took on all willing opponents. They won 122 consecutive games over that two year tour.

Notre Dame Football Team 1912, Al Feeney – middle row seated on far right hand end.

The football team that was assembled, “The Camp Taylor Huskies”, dominated their intramural schedule, and with the power of Fenney and Hoffman, they overpowered most of the other teams. Other members of the team were Lammars, Campbell, Caldwell, Callahan, Hancock, King, Coffeen, Briscoe and Howard. The team was coached by Ward “Piggy” Lambert, who was the head basketball coach at Purdue University. Lambert was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960, and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

The football squad was only organized for the 1917 and 1918 seasons, and had a record of 5 wins (Georgetown College 14-10, Camp Shelby 52-21, University of Indiana 7-0, Camp Grant 12-0, Camp Sherman 40-0) 2 losses (Camp Sherman 7-26, Centre College 6-10), and one tie (Camp Hancock 0-0).

Courier-Journal, December 2, 1918

Perhaps the most exciting game occurred on Thanksgiving Day 1918, when Camp Zachary Taylor took on Camp Sherman for the second time. Their first game in 1917 handed Camp Taylor their first loss, and they were eager to win this rematch. The newspaper account of the game describes it as an “onslaught” when the fourth quarter began. The score was 20 to 0 at the beginning of that quarter, and the Camp Taylor Huskies piled on another 20 points before the game ended. The Thanksgiving Day game was the last one played by the Huskies, and the team was disbanded due to the war having ended two weeks earlier.

Al Feeney 1933

Al Feeney would return to civilian life and play in the newly formed National Football League for the Muncie Flyers in 1920.                                                                                                                                  After Al Fenney’s football career ended, he was appointed the Indiana State Safety Commissioner in 1932. He later became the Superintendent of the State Police. In 1948, Feeney (democrat) was elected Mayor of Indianapolis Indiana. He ran on a platform of “Quality Law Enforcement” and replaced the Chief of Police with a nonpartisan Chief, Edward Rouls, who happened to be republican. The two leaders announced a new “war on crime” campaign in 1948. Unfortunately most of Fenney’s plans were never fulfilled as he died in office on his 58th birthday, Nov 12, 1950.

100 Years Ago Today, The Great Flu Pandemic Hit Camp Zachary Taylor

On September 20, 1918, the first cases of the H1N1 Influenza outbreak was recorded at Camp Zachary Taylor. This infection was spread by a number of soldiers who were transferred from Camp Devens to Camp Taylor. A number of these men were admitted to the hospital for treatment, then the infection spread rapidly inside the camp.
The total number of reported and treated cases of the flu from September 20th to December 31st was 12,816. Of those Flu cases, 2601 patients also had complications of pneumonia. By December 31st, 824 men and women died, and all but three of those cases also had pneumonia.

Chart Showing Total number of Admissions and Deaths related to the Influenza Pandemic at Camp Zachary Taylor. September through November 1918

At the very onset of the epidemic, the Camp Surgeon called a board of officers for the purpose of formulating regulations to combat the disease. The first order was the closing of places of public gathering and entertainment. They restricted the number of men allowed in places of exchange (the PX) and how many many men were allowed to leave the camp on pass.

Newspaper Notice telling Soldiers are not allowed in picture shows in town.

Newspaper Article from the Courier Journal










The mess halls were regulated as to how many men were allowed in at a time, and where where they could sit. Screens were installed at all of the tables to try to prevent the transfer of the virus wile eating. Sick inspections were stepped up to twice a day and any man showing a rise in temperature was sent to the hospital for isolation.

The Base Hospital was overwhelmed and incapable of housing the rising number of admissions. Action was taken to move men out of nearby barracks and place them under canvas to expand the hospital wards adding 8300 beds. On September 20th, 1918, the base hospital had 897 patients admitted. By October 8th, there were 8,593 patients under their care. Admissions peaked on October 7th, with 1,190 men admitted that one day.

Portion of Camp Taylor Map with handwritten notes indicating that his barracks was taken for the emergency hospital wards.

The first death at Camp Zachary Taylor occurred on October 1st, taking the life of Sgt. James Gray Jr. The daily death rate increased for 11 straight days, peaking on October 11th, when 69 soldiers died that day. The death rate slowly decreased over the month of October when on November 2nd, only two deaths were reported.

The Base hospital issued Memorandums giving instructions on Treatment for the Flu. Their list of those treatments are as follows:
1. Place the patient in a warm cubicled bed and in a well ventilated ward allowing at least 1000 cubic feet of air per patient.
2. Take P.T. R.
3. Give warm milk.
4. Give Tinct. Digitalis – M.XXX-q.6.h. for 48 hours.
5. Give tepid sponge for temperatures 103.6 – q.4.h.
6. give cleansing S.S. enema on admission and q.d.
7. Drop 1% camphor-menthol in liquid petrolatum in both nostrils bid.
8. give hot saline mouth wash and gargle bid.
9. Give two C.C. pills night of admission if bowels have not moved sufficiently.

Courier Journal report of the first death at Camp Taylor.

Notice of Camp Taylor Base hospital under Quarantine

CJ Article reporting Training Postponement.

Chart of Admissions and Deaths related to the Flu Pandemic

Inside the Hostess House during the flu Pandemic

CJ Article about the Flu Killing More than the War.

By November 1918, the Flu was losing ground and fewer cases were being reported. By the end of the year, it had run it’s course, and was on it’s way out.

It is estimated that the 1918 Flu Pandemic was contracted by 25 million Americans, and killed 675,000 of them. It killed an estimated 21,000 service men at home including approximately 950 and Camp Zachary Taylor. Approximately 43,000 American service men died world wide.

The following is a summary of the events that occurred at Camp Zachary Taylor and in the City of Louisville, showing the timeline of important events during the Flu Pandemic.



• September 20, 1918 – First Case of Influenza is reported at Camp Zachary Taylor.
• September 24, 1918 – Newspapers reported over 100 soldiers ill with influenza at CZT.
• September 25, 1918 – 262 cases reported at CZT.
• September 27, 1918 – Partial quarantine of CZT. Soldiers were prohibited from entering theaters, movie houses, restaurants, and other public places in town, as well as from congregating in the camp.
• End of September 1918 – more than 2,100 cases at CZT. Due to hospital overcrowding, 15 barracks of the “C” section of the camp were converted to temporary hospital wards.
• The week of October 19th, 1918 – 3,722 cases reported at CZT.


• Fall 1918 – The pandemic peaked in Louisville, but remained prevalent throughout the state during the winter and spring of 1919.
• Winter 1918/1919 – Louisville’s death rate was 406 per 100,000 people.
• By September 20, 1918 – 50 civilian cases were reported in Louisville.
• Late September 1918 – Louisville calculated about 1,000 cases.
• September 26, 1918 – City officials met to develop a plan of action.
• September 26 to November 16, 1918 – 6,735 cases of flu were reported in Louisville, 577 resulting in death.
• September 30, 1918 – State Board of Health issued its 1st Flu proclamation urging that anyone showing symptoms “isolate themselves.”
• By mid October – Louisville had about 180 deaths a week from influenza related illnesses.
• On October 2, 1918 – Local Boards of Health ordered to placard and quarantine any infected households for a minimum of 10 days.
• October 7, 1918 – Home Care was initiated by Louisville’s charitable nursing associations. Agencies such as The Red Cross worked to provide meals for the sick.
• October 7, 1918 – Statewide order was issued closing all churches, schools, and places of amusement or assembly until further notice.
• October 12, 1918 – Louisville reported a total of 2,300 cases of influenza since Sept 28.
• October 13, 1918 – Louisville opened a 110 bed capacity emergency hospital at the Hope Rescue Mission.
• November 11, 1918 – Conditions improved; Kentucky Board of Health announced the closure order and ban on gathering would be lifted, and issued regulations to prevent overcrowding and to ventilate stores properly.
• The week after Thanksgiving, 1918 – attendance at Crescent Hill neighborhood schools had dropped 50%.
• December 13, 1918 – Officials announced a 2nd school closure; children under 14 were banned from theaters and other public gathering places.
• December 30, 1918 – Schools were reopened.
• January 6, 1919 – Children were allowed to go to the movies and five and ten cent stores.
• Late February 1919 – 3rd spike of influenza cases occurred that lasted about 5 weeks. No closures were issued.

• October 1918 – 5,201 deaths were reported in Kentucky from influenza and related pneumonia.

Camp (Fort) Knox was Born 100 Years Ago Today, July 26, 1918

Camp Knox, Ky – November 16, 1918 – Spelled out using men from the 170th Field Artillery Brigade. (The photo was actually taken at the West Point Firing Range)

Camp Knox is located about 30 miles southwest of Louisville, Ky, near what is now the City of  Radcliff . It was built directly over the town of Stithton, Ky, and it covers parts of Hardin, Meade and Bullitt counties. It was approximately 36,330 acres at the time of construction. Built to replace the smaller artillery firing range at West Point, Ky, the new firing range had a seven mile long firing zone, which was much greater than the range at West Point. The West Point camp had a few structures, but all of the soldiers lived under canvas the entire time they were there.

West Point Tent Encampment for Field Artillery, circa July-1918

Constructing Quartermaster, Major W. H. Radcliffe, arrived at the newly selected site on July 26th, 1918, and immediately made arrangements with Lieutenant Van F. Pruitt, the Constructing Quartermaster at Camp Zachary Taylor, to take control of the surveying party as they had already performed some preliminary topographical work on the site. No mapping of the site had been preformed, and that was the most important next step in the process. The Camp Planner arrived the next day from Camp Taylor, and the final site selection for the structures were chosen. The city of Radcliff was named after Major Radcliffe.

John Griffiths & Son Co. Construction Office – October 30, 1918

Major W. H. Radcliffe – Constructing Quartermaster at Camp Knox

Five hundred train cars full of material were shipped to the location shortly thereafter, however the train siding at Stithton could not hold more than eleven cars at one time. Additional track was quickly laid to accommodate more train cars. The General Contractor (John Griffiths & Son, Chicago) arrived on August 5th, and buildings started to take shape about 10 days later.

Civil Engineers at Camp Knox, c. Aug. 1918

Stithton and the surrounding area was void of any hotels or boarding houses, so several barns and tobacco warehouses were commandeered and set up as bunk houses. The labor pool in the area was very thin, and finding qualified workers became a problem. The General Contractor was put on overtime, working seven days a week, from sun up to sun down, to keep up with the schedule.

Material was shipped in by the train car load. Some of that material delivered to the site were: 1.5 million bricks, 75,000 barrels of cement, 54 million board feet of lumber, 25,000 kegs of nails, 2,000 gallons of paint, 111,800 rolls of roofing, and 3.5 million square ft of wall board. There were 16,216 men employed over the duration of the construction.

Turnover of workers was very high due to it’s rural location and lack of access to stores and entertainment.

Construction continued until November 11th when the armistice was signed. After that date, all overtime was stopped, and construction ceased completely on December 21, 1918.

Construction started again on February 1, 1919, but stopped on July 7, 1919 when all funds for the project ran out. Congress appropriated additional funds on August 18, 1919 which was to pay for the work that was already in progress and needed to be completed, but no new structures were started. The original plan was for Camp Knox to be capable of housing 60,000 men, and 27.000 animals. After the signing of the armistice, the camp size was reduced to house 27,000 men.

Caissons rolling thru Camp Knox, circa 1919

The 325th, 326th and 327th Regiment of Field Artillery of the 84th Division had been training at West Point since April 1918. These regiments completed their training in September 1918, and shipped out.

The 170th Brigade Field Artillery, composed of the 67th, 68th and 69th Regiments took their place. In addition, the 24th Brigade Field Artillery, the 24th Trench Mortar Battery were also shipped there. The 29th Aero Squadron and 31st Balloon Company were organized at West Point prior to the construction of Camp Knox. These troops were transferred to from West Point to Camp Knox on November 24, 1918. The last of the transfers were complete by December 26, 1918.

Soldiers and Transport Truck at Camp Knox. circa 1919

Camp Knox became one of the US Army’s Field Artillery ranges, second to Fort Sill in Oklahoma. It remained in operation as one of the Field Artillery Central Officers Training Schools, which had started at Camp Zachary Taylor in August 1918. In 1921, the 10th and 11th Infantry Brigades arrived, along with 40,000 National Guardsmen and ROTC students. The fate of Camp Knox was in doubt since the end of WW1. The army was making plans to downsize, and close camps across the US. It was not until June 9, 1922 when it was announced that Camp Knox would remain open.

Soldiers inspecting M1917 Tank at Camp Knox, circa 1919

Artillery pieces of all types along with tanks were delivered to Camp Knox during that time period because of the large firing range that was available there. .

One of the Mess Halls at Camp Knox, circa 1919

However the good news did not last long. With pressure to downsize the military, along with the demobilization of hundreds of thousands soldiers, Camp Knox was close to being shuttered. By October of 1922, Camp Knox was reassigned as a training camp for the Fifth Corps. The manpower was slashed to 300 soldiers, who were kept to maintain the camp, and provide security.

A baseball game at Camp Knox, circa 1920

Soldiers clowning around the barracks at Camp Knox, circa 1920

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge signed an executive order reducing the once second largest military camp in the US to “National Forest” status. This lasted for two years until the value of the camp was re-assessed, and two companies from the 10th and 11th Infantries were again stationed at Camp Knox.

The camp stayed in operation for four years where it filled a need in the mid-west as a training facility. In 1931, Camp Knox was upgraded to a permanent base, and renamed “Fort Knox”, which it remains today.

100 years ago today, July 14, 1918 – Quentin Roosevelt is shot down over France, giving name to Roosevelt Avenue in Camp Taylor

100 years ago today, the youngest son of former president Theodore Roosevelt, was shot down over France. Quentin, a fighter pilot in the 95th Aero Squadron, knew Eddie Rickenbacker who had high praise for the young pilot, but also thought he was reckless.

Lt. Quentin Roosevelt

Quentin had his first confirmed kill four days earlier on July 10th. On July 14th, while on patrol with three other pilots, they were participating in the Second Battle of the Marne, when the four allied planes were overtaken by seven German planes. Quentin was shot twice in the head, and crashed behind the German lines.

The wreckage of Quentin Roosevelt’s plane

The Germans buried him near the crash site, and maked his grave with a simple wooden cross, banded together with wire from the plane.

American soldiers at Roosevelt’s grave

Roosevelt Avenue in Camp Zachary Taylor was named after Quentin Roosevelt. The road was not named when the camp was built. It bordered the southern edge of Renfro Field, also known as Argonne Field.


Captured German airplane on display at Renfro Field at Camp Taylor c.1918

Renfro Field was used as a makeshift landing strip for when airplanes visited Camp Taylor. There never were any permanent aircraft stationed there, but it was only fitting to name this street after Quentin Roosevelt as it was the closest to a airstrip at Camp Taylor. Twenty years later, Standiford Field would be built just a short distance away from this location, and occupies all of what was the Maneuver Field.

Humorist, Journalist, Sports Columnist and Soldier at Camp Zachary Taylor – Arthur “Bugs” Baer

Arthur “Bugs” Baer

Arthur (Bugs) Baer – Journalist, Humorist, Sports Writer

Arthur Baer was born in Philadelphia in 1886. The seventh of fourteen children, he dropped out of school in 1900 at the age of 14 to work in the textile industry designing lace patterns. He also enrolled in Art School where he learned to do line drawings.

Cartoon by “Bugs Baer” 1929,

By 1906, he found a job at the Philadelphia Ledger as an “office boy”, where he earned $2 per week. He worked up the ladder to obtain a position as a “Staff Artist”. Nine years later in 1915, Arthur took a job at the Washington Times as their Sports Cartoonist, where he gained notoriety. He developed his talent of drawing cartoons showing sports figures (mostly baseball players) as a combination of baseballs with “bug like” appendages.
The readers of the Washington Times liked his cartoons and humor, and their sports page became one the most widely read pages in any newspaper in the country. The “bug like” characters in his cartoons soon garnered Arthur the nickname “Bugs”, which he soon adopted and preferred to be called. “Bugs Baer’s” first newspaper column was called “Rabid Randolph”, a daily humor column in the New York World.

Sports Page Cartoon by “Bugs Baer” 1915

Bugs had an ability to interject humor into his early columns and is well known for his whit. One famous quote from Bugs, (when he was writing about New York Yankee Ping Bodie) who unsuccessfully attempted to steal second base. “His head was full of larceny, but his feet were honest”. That column attracted the attention of William Randolph Hearst, who hired him to work for the “New York American” in 1915.

Newspaper column by “Bugs Baer”, where he signs “Ty Cobb’s” name as the writer.

When World War 1 came knocking on America’s door step, Bugs was taken into the US Army. In 1918, he enrolled into the “Field Artillery Central Officers Training School” (FACOTS) that was being conducted at Camp Zachary Taylor. The school was the largest school in the world at that time and enrolled 18,253 men over a six months period. Of those who enrolled, 8.737 men graduated, and they came from every state in the union, and several countries from overseas, such as Cuba, Japan, the Philippines and England.

Bug’s talent was not only in his studies during this grueling six-week course of mathematics, geometry and calculus, but his talent was also enlisted as one of several artists who were asked to draw cartoon panels for the 1919 book “FACOTS”. Bugs drew several panels for that publication.

“That OD Underwear”, cartoon panel by Bugs Baer for FACOTS Book.

After leaving the army, he also contributed cartoons for their quarterly publication while working for the New York American Newspaper. One was a look into the future (1980 to be exact) with the main character telling his grandchild about his embellished exploits in the Great War at Camp Taylor.

“The Grand Army of the Ohio, 1980” by Bugs Baer, 1919.

After leaving the army and returning to civilian life, Bugs returned to journalism, Broadway and Motion Pictures. While working for the Washington Times, Bugs switched to columnist when the his boss went on a two week long binge, leaving Bugs to write the column. He soon quit drawing cartoons and wrote full time as a sports columnist, injecting his humor along the way.

Bugs Baer was personal friend of Babe Ruth, and he coined the phrase “The Sultan of Swat” when referring to Ruth. In 1920, Bugs wrote the screen play for “Headin’ Home”,

“Headin Home” written by Bugs Baer. 1920

a silent movie about Babe Ruth, where Ruth plays himself as the lead character. Although the story line was completely fictional about Ruth’s life, it was an attempt to create a mythology about Babe Ruth that put his troubled past in a better light.

In 1923, Bugs co-wrote the “George White’s Scandals” review, which was on Broadway, with George Gershwin as the composer.

Bugs Baer continued his work as columnist with a syndicated King Features column “One Word Led to Another”, which had a circulation of about 15 million readers.

“One Word Led to Another”, by Bugs Baer.


Another syndicated column was “The Baer Facts” where common every day observations were humorously discussed, as well as his column “Bo Broadway” for the Evening World,.Bugs was also one of the writers for the “Mutt and Jeff” comic strip for two years. He wrote many of the story lines that were used by Bud Fisher, the creator of Mutt and Jeff.



The Baer Facts by “Bugs Baer”

Mutt and Jeff, by Bud Fisher










He appeared on radio station WGBS as a humorist and writer, and was a regular emcee for various appearances and shows by the “Syndicated Newspaper Cartoonists”.

Friend and acquaintance, Milton Berle, said that “he tapped Bug’s wit on occasion for inspiration when needing fresh humor”.

Arthur “Bugs” Baer was considered by the New York Times as “one the country’s best humorists of his time”.

Other quotes by Arthur “Bugs” Baer

A writer’s fame may be measured these days by the Lit’ry standing of the birds who steal his stuff.”

America never lost a war or won a peace.”

In 1928, when referring to Philadelphia Athletics pitching ace Lefty Grove,  “He could throw a lamb chop past a wolf.”

You can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy

Alimony is like buying oats for a dead horse

Arthur “Bugs” Baer died in 1969 at the age of 83.



“The Star Spangled Banner” – 100 Years Ago Today, the First “4th of July” was Celebrated at Camp Zachary Taylor

One hundred years ago today, the 84th Division at Camp Zachary Taylor assembled in the parade ground at the Flag Staff for the first 4th of July flag raising ceremony held at Camp Zachary Taylor. The Flagstaff was located near the Headquarters at Taylor Avenue and Poplar Level Road.

Approximately 45,000 soldiers were there, along with thousands of civilians who came to listen to the speakers that address the crowd.

When the Flag was raised on that hot July day, all of the soldiers saluted it while the band played the National Anthem.

Dignitaries and Officers at the Flagstaff

Officers on horseback conducted the Flag Raising Ceremony at the base of the Flagstaff in full view of the dignitaries and civilians.

The photo taken that day was titled :The Star Spangled Banner”, and is one of the most iconic images ever taken at Camp Zachary Taylor.

Happy Centennial Day for the first 4th of July at Camp Zachary Taylor.

The Great Demand for Uniform Clothing at US Training Camps

At the onset of World War 1, the US Military was in need of a large amount of clothing for all branches of the armed services, and very quickly. The US Government did have private manufacturers for uniform clothing, but Government itself manufactured more uniforms than it secured from any single outside source during World War 1.

The Quartermaster Depot, Jeffersonville, Indiana

There were two government uniform factories. One was located at the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot, and the second was at the Quartermaster Depot in Jeffersonville Indiana. The Jeffersonville Depot produced army shirts, breeches and outer clothing. It expanded in size to cover 10 square blocks during the war, and it became the largest shirt manufacturing plant in the world.

The Jeffersonville Uniform Factory, which was just across the Ohio River from Louisville Ky, was established in February 1918. Louisville already had several operating clothing and cotton mill factories. Many experienced workers were easily secured to work in the government factory, with wages offered for the all women production force starting at $50 and up to $80 per month. The factory operated two shifts of eight hours, and produced 750 woolen coats and 1,500 pairs of woolen trousers per day. The factory employed approximately 2000 workers at it’s peak.

The Jeffersonville plant also installed the most modern “woolen cloth shrinking equipment” in the United States. At the cost of $50,000 to install, it could treat 10,000 yards of wool per day. The US Army plant in Jeffersonville was able to make uniforms at a cost of 25% less than those purchased from private manufacturers. The cost to produce a woolen Service Coat was $1.02, and a pair of Breeches cost .54 cents.

Standard WW1 Army Issue Wool Shirt and Breeches

The great demand for clothing and skilled seamstresses was so strong in 1918, that the US Army implemented a program of hiring expert seamstresses to work and teach out of their homes. The new sewing women, who had volunteered to work from home, were recruited through newspaper ads, and the assembled sewing force grew to approximately 20,000 women operatives, which were located in practically every town and village throughout southern Indiana and northern Kentucky.

This new sewing force increased the output of shirts from 600,000 per year at the QM Depot, to 8,500,000 per year. Each home worker was supplied with one complete shirt to be used as a template, and was provided the shirt material from the Jeffersonville factory. The material was pre-cut to a pattern, and bundled in sets of 10 shirts. The completed shirts were inspected by the factory, and cleaned before being shipped out.

Manufacturing at the Jeffersonville Shirt Factory continued at full capacity until the end of the war, where production was halted in November of 1918.

Copyright, CZTHS 2018

The 99 Year Old Motor School Garage to be Taken Down

The last remaining, unaltered building that was constructed during World War 1 at Camp Zachary Taylor, will be dismantled next week. The process will take several weeks to complete, and an attempt to save as much of the structure will be made. The building was the last structure built at the cantonment in 1918, and it almost made it to it’s 100th birthday. But due to water infiltration and rot, the 102′-0 long wooden trusses have caused them to begin to collapse. The building is in imminent danger of falling down.

Ariel view of the Motor School Garage – 2017

The Motor School at Camp Zachary Taylor, was designed to teach soldiers the repair of Trucks, Motorcycles, Automobiles and Artillery Pieces. At the onset of World War 1, the Army realized that there were not enough trained mechanics to provide support to the new mechanized division in the Army. Camp Zachary Taylor built the Largest Mechanic’s School in the World to train those soldiers.


The Motor School Garage was the second garage built. The original garage was 1/4 the size, and stood just a few yards north of the existing building. The New Garage building was 102′-6″ wide and 256′-0 long. The roof was curved and built using lattis trusses for a clear span over the entire building, and it had a concrete floor. A windowed clerestory ran the entire length of the building, allowing for natural light to illuminate the inside during the day.

The original building was taken down, and the lumber was salvaged for use in the new garage. It was announced on October 7, 1918 that the new garage, and additional buildings, would be constructed, which began the first week of November 1918.

View of Garage North Face – 2017

The cost to build all of the structures was $190,456.00. Construction continued until November 11, 1918, when the armistice was signed, halting all hostilities in Europe. The army issued orders immediately cancelling all construction projects in the United States.

North Face 2-07-2018

The Garage was put on hold, and it stood partially built until December 4, 1918, when new orders were issued, re-authorizing the construction to move forward.

View of Garage South Face – 2017

South Face 2-07-2018

Metro Parks uses this facility as their maintenance facility. Their plan is to build a new structure on the same spot, and approximately the same size. The new building will be an all steel structure, and will not resemble the Old Garage, other than it being the same size. The Camp Zachary Taylor Historical Society, along with the Department of Veterans Affairs, is working with Metro Parks and the City of Louisville to save as much of the original building material as possible. The City included in the budget of 2017 the cost to take down the building, and store the material (on site). It will be covered to protect it from the elements.

Our goal is to work with Metro Parks to help encourage the budget committee to provide funding in next years budget to include the funding to build a new stand alone structure in the cost to build the new garage.  The stand alone building would serve as a “History Center” for Camp Zachary Taylor. The History Center would incorporate a Museum and Learning Center that would focus on Camp Zachary Taylor, and Louisville’s participation in World War 1. The History Center building would incorporate as much of the timber and salvaged lumber from the garage in it’s construction.

We hope to get this accomplished in the next several years, and look forward to seeing this come to a reality. Anyone interested in more information about this project, or would like to volunteer in any capacity, please feel free to email us at

Image of building column after exterior sheeting removed, showing extensive damage to the structure.

Original Exterior tar paper that was applied to the building for weatherproofing. The ghost image of the baton strips are visible on the paper.


View of the North Face showing the window bays that ran the entire length of the building. The header in the first bay on the left has broken and is falling down. (indicated by arrow)


Christmas at Camp Zachary Taylor – 100 years ago

Camp Zachary Taylor was open for only a few months before the winter of 1917. Thanksgiving had just past, but the coldest December on record was on it’s way. Christmas was a cold and snowy one. December of 1917 still holds the record for the snowiest and coldest in Louisville.


Christmas Tree in the YMCA Auditorium on Poplar Level Road, 1917.

Days leading up to Christmas in 1917 saw the coldest temperatures ever recorded in December. December 8th was neg. 1, December 9th was neg. 6, December 10th was neg. 4 and December 11th was neg.3 degrees. These four consecutive dates still hold the record for the coldest temps on those dates.


Barracks at Camp Zachary Taylor during the record cold and snowy winter of 1917-1918

The unusual cold weather continued through the month of December 1917 and into January 1918, with the record coldest date for January occurring on January 12, 1918, where it reached -15 below zero. The photo above was taken around that date, and mentions -18 degrees, which it might have been, away from the city.

1917 also hold the record for the most snow fall ever recorded in the month of December, which was 13.6″. The winter of 1917-1918 still hold the record of the most snow in one season, which is 50.2″. It crippled the camp, and the city. Not much moved unless it was mule drawn, as you can see in this photo of soldiers trying to get a team out to the main road, right after one of the snow storms.


Merry Christmas!