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