10,000 Soldiers Spell Out Camp Zachary Taylor

Of the dozens of photographs taken at Camp Taylor, one that is somewhat popular, is photo #678, taken by Simes and Campbell, of Louisville Kentucky. This iconic photograph was taken on September 15th, 1918, and it used over 10,000 soldiers of the 159th Depot Brigade, to form the letters. This newspaper article featuring the event, has a handwritten note on it which says, “Olon was in the photo, and he helped to form the letter”C”, Keep it Please”.

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They creatively used light and dark clothing to enhance the letters, which allowed them “stand out” from the background.

The photo was taken in an area known as “Renfro Field”. It was named after a nearby market, Renfro Station, that was located near the railroad tracks that bisected Camp Taylor. Renfro Field was also used as a makeshift airport for Curtis JN-4 (Jenny), and other small military airplanes. There were never any aircraft stationed at the Camp, but a week after this photo was taken, 20 airplanes arrived at Camp Zachary Taylor from the Wilbur Wright Field at Dayton, Ohio, to give exhibition flights. The airplanes stayed for a week, and were parked on Renfro Field.

It was noted that an “Armed Detail” would be dispatched around the clock to “Prevent curio seekers and souvenir hunters from taking away parts of the planes, as mementos of the world war.”

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Curtis JN-4 Jenny at Camp Zachary Taylor c.1918