Camp MacArthur
Named after Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, the camp was opened July 18th, 1917 to train men demobilized from service on the Mexican border at the end of World War I. It was in service for less than three years when it was abandoned on May 15, 1919. As well as a demobilization facility, Camp MacArthur served as an officers’ training school and an infantry replacement training camp. Located in northwest Waco, local business men helped to create a 10,700-acre complex from cotton fields and blackland farms.The estimated cost was five million dollars and included a base hospital, administration offices, tent housing for troops and other military personnel buildings.The first commander was Major General James Parker who formed the 32nd U.S. Infantry Division later known as “Les Terribles” for their “successful, tenacious attacks” on enemy troop sin Langres, France.The camp’s capacity could occupy over 45,000 troops but never exceeded 28,000 troops at a time. After the establishment of Camp MacArthur, the large influx of soldiers helped stimulate Waco’s economy until the Great Depression. The military presence also heavily influenced Waco’s Cotton Palace Exposition with an exhibit of a “bullet-ridden German biplane.”
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