The construction and operation of Camp Croft
brought major changes to the Spartanburg and Pacolet area. The camp itself
was only about six miles from Pacolet Station. Camp Croft was only one
of several hundred military facilities built all over the United States
at the beginning of World War II.
The size of the camp was huge and it was built in what
seems like a miraculous time compared to modern projects. The ground
breaking ceremony was held on Dec. 5, 1940 and construction began right
away. There were about 167 acres in the basic camp area and about 20,000
acres in the total facility. Enormous quantities of construction materials
were needed in the construction. By January, 1941, there were over 12,000
employees at work on the base. In February, 1941 part of the camp was ready
for use and on March 7th the first trainees arrived. The initial was construction
was completed in May 1941. Over 674 buildings had been completed.
During the War, evidence of the Camp was present at
Pacolet. As a child, I remember that the sound of artillery practice could
be heard all day and sometimes at night. It sounded like continuous thunder
off in the distance.
Soldiers from the Camp, in their rare time off, sometimes
visited the local communities such as the Pacolet and Glendale. The photo
and story of one such visit to Glendale is shown at Sgt. Robert P. Emerson. (Thanks to Mr. Ron Crowley
for making this picture available.)
From 1941 to the end of the war, over 200,000 men were
trained at Camp Croft. After the War, the camp was closed. The Spartanburg
County Foundation purchased the troop housing area and the state purchased
the 7,000+ acres that became Croft State natural Area. The rest of the
property was purchased, at fair market value, by returning veterans and
There are many famous men who trained at Camp
Croft. One such person was Henry Kissinger who was Secretary of
State in the Nixon Administration. There is another person with a connection
to Camp Croft who has been highlighted with a recent book and television
series. The book is “Band of Brothers” published by Simon
& Schuster and written by Stephen Ambrose. The TV series has the same
title and was directed by David Frankel andTom Hanks for HBO. The book
and TV series follow the story of Company E (Easy Company) of the 2nd Battalion
of the 506 th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.
The prominent figure in both the book and the TV series
is Richard (Dick) Winters. Click on the following link to read more about
Dick Winters, his connection to Camp Croft and his army career. Winters
took his basic training at Camp Croft and also returned a second time to
help train new recruits.
There is an interesting web site that was used
as a reference source for some of the above information. It is: (http://www.schistory.net/campcroft/).
It has a large amount of material relating to all phases of Camp
Croft and the men who trained there.
(The Hub City Writers Project in Spartanburg has an excellent
book about the effect Camp Wadsworth in World War I and Camp Croft
in World War II had on the Spartanburg area. It is titled “When the Soldiers
Came to Town”. It is prepared and edited by edited by Susan Turpin, Carolyn
Creal, Ron Crawley and James Crocker. There is also a great deal of information
on Camp Croft in the Vernon Foster Book, “Spartanburg-Facts, Reminisences,
Folklore”, described elsewhere on this web site.)
Post Cards of Camp Croft
There were many commercial post cards published about Camp Croft
for use by the soldiers being trained there. These post cards give a photographic
record of the base. A sample of some of these cards can be seen
by clicking on the link below.