The History of Camp Zachary Taylor — Part 1

Next summer, in June of 2017, “Camp Zachary Taylor” will be celebrating it’s 100th Anniversary. The World War 1 Cantonment, and now neighborhood in Louisville KY, was built in the summer of 1917, and survived for three years until it was closed shortly after the war ended. Over the next year, and leading up to the anniversary of the Opening Day of the camp, we will be posting stories about how the camp came to be located in Louisville, Kentucky.

I will be talking about the events that led up to Louisville being selected as the location for one of the 16 new camps built in the United States. I will delve into the details of the political maneuvering, bidding and negotiating by the city leaders to win the project. We will be talking about the people who passed through it, some on their way to success, and some of the regular soldiers, who felt duty bound to fight for their country. We will look into the people who volunteered in various capacities to help keep the installation running, and many other topics related the history of Camp Zachary Taylor.

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(photo above) Review of The 84th Division at Camp Zachary Taylor, photo taken 11-10-1917 in the Maneuver Field (On the land of the Standiford’s homestead, looking north – Henry Phillips homestead house in background).

This astronomical construction project was conceived, drawn and built (and substantially complete) in 69 calendar days. It was turned over to the Construction Quartermaster 80 days after the first board was cut. The Main Camp covered nearly 4000 acres and contained 1787 buildings. The artillery range was an additional 16,000 acres. The initial cost was $7, 041,400.00. However, the army continued construction during the three years of occupation. On January 1, 1919, the total expenditures for construction topped out at over $8,800,000.00 .

Work Begun 6-23-17

(photo above) Construction of first Barracks at Camp Zachary Taylor, June 1917.

Camp Knox was originally part of Camp Taylor, and served as the training branch for the Field Artillery that was stationed at Camp Taylor. It’s existence today is due to it’s connection to Camp Taylor. We will be covering the history of this relationship later in this series. Check back as we post more stories over the next year. I also welcome inquiries about Camp Taylor, and invite anyone to submit questions to us. We can be reached at EMail Us

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copyright 2016, Camp Zachary Taylor Historical Society