Camp Taylor’s Motor School Garage To Be Demolished by the City of Louisville

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Camp Zachary Taylor’s “Motor School Garage” built November 1918.

It was announced today by the City of Louisville, that they have decided to demolish the last remaining large building that was part of Camp Zachary Taylor, the Motor School Garage. This large building that now stands in Joe Creason Park, was built in 1918 and has withstood nearly 100 years of use. But due to the city’s standard practice of neglect for structures under their control, this building has not been maintained, and now is in danger of collapse.

Over the last four to five years, several historians, including myself, have had conversations with those at Metro Parks, and were given assurances that this building would be preserved due to it’s Historical Significance. Those promises have been broken.

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Mayor Fischer;s Centennial Proclamation 4-6-2017

It was only three months ago that Mayor Fischer issued this Proclamation, “Our City did Its Part Through Camp Taylor, a Historic and Sacred Site Where 150,00 Americans were Trained. Our City Honors the Memories of all Americans Who Served and Sacrificed During World War 1”.

The City of Louisville is now Honoring those same individuals by demolishing the last remaining structure that has ties to that event. This “Historic and Sacred Site” has apparently lost the luster it had three months ago, and is now a liability to the city.

One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Five (1765) Kentuckians died in the World War. Below is a picture of twenty of those brave Kentucky soldiers who fought and died during those two years. Please remember them, as well as the other 1745 that are not shown.

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Kentucky Casualties of the Great War.

It is also a disgrace that they should decide to demolish this Historic Structure, the Very Year of the Centennial that is commemorating this building’s existence. I urge everyone who wants to see this structure saved, to write to Metro Councilman Pat Mulvihill (  and Mayor Greg Fischer Contact Mayor Fischer

Please tell them, and any other member of the Metro Council what you think about this decision.

I will be updating this as more information becomes available..

100 Years Ago Today

On July 4th, 1917, Camp Zachary Taylor was being built in a rush. The work that had begun just two weeks earlier, had produced dozens of building by this time. The farms that were taken over to build the camp, were cultivated Camp Zachary Taylorwith crops were already in the ground. The eight building in the photo (right) were started on June 25th, 1917. They show the progression of construction, as some buildings are nearing completion, and some are being framed. This photo was taken July 3, 1917.

Camp Zachary Taylor

Some of the workers were put up in hotels in town, but a small tent camp was erected on site for those workers who elected to stay closer to the construction ( see picture left). Demand for workers was very high, and shortages were common across the US where many other camps were being built. Men were brought in from around Kentucky and other nearby states to fill the demand. By early August, as many as 10,000 men would be employed on this single construction project .

The enormous amount of material that was brought in to build this one camp alone was unprecedented. A short list of the material is:

  • 45 million board feet of lumber
  • 28 thousand square feet of roofing
  • 20 train car loads of nails and hardware
  • 20 train car loads of windows and doors
  • 20 train car loads of plumbing fixtures and pipe
  • 192 train car loads of boiler tanks, heaters and stoves
  • 114 train car loads of electrical equipment
  • 10 train car loads of light poles
  • 175 train car loads of sand
  • 7 miles of railroad track and ties

Once this material was delivered to the site by train car, it had to taken to all points of the camp, some as far as three miles away. This was mostly done by use of mule cart. (see photo above). At the peak of construction, 299 teams of mules were in use, but only 79 trucks, which most likely arrived on the site after construction was well underway.

copyright 2017, Camp Zachary Taylor Historical Society