Camp Croft



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 other people.

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.

Major Dick Winters

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.

(Click on this link to see post cards on Camp Croft.)

 
Return to Pacolet Homepage

This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.  Contact me at:
gteaster@pacoletmemories.com or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.  My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485

See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.