|History in a Pecan
in 1942 as an Infantry-training camp, Camp Howze once covered 59,000 acres of
Cooke County land that was acquired from local landowners shortly after Pearl
It was named to honor Major Robert E. Lee Howze, who had
won the Congressional Medal of Honor and had served during the Indian campaigns,
the Philippine Insurrection following the Spanish-American
War, and World War I.
The base was activated in August of 1942, and had a capacity of just under 40,000
Several hundred thousand men received their training here over the
course of the war and the camp later became a Prisoner of War Camp for captured
An estimated $20 million was spend on the camp during
it’s construction and use, providing hundreds of jobs for Cooke County residents.
After the war, the camp, like most others, was deactivated. The buildings
were sold as scrap and today only the cement foundations, chimneys and water towers
In an interview with a former trainee, he recalled how demoralizing
it was to see German prisoners playing soccer while his unit was enduring a forced
march. “The war was over for them, but it hadn’t even started for us.”
of Camp Howze(One
from 1942 to 1946, Camp Howze served as an infantry training facility during World
War II. It was named for General Robert Lee Howze (1864-1926), a native Texan
whose distinguished career in the United States Army began with his graduation
from West Point and included service in France, Puerto Rico, Germany, a South
Dakota Indian War and the Philippine Insurrection, 1899-1902.
McMahon of the Gainesville
Chamber of Commerce first contacted Federal authorities with the idea of establishing
a military installation here. Attracted by the community's active endorsement
of the plan, the government activated Camp Howze on August 17, 1942, under the
command of Colonel John P. Wheeler. In addition to infantry training, the base
was also the site of a German prisoner of war camp and an air support command
base, now part of the Gainesville Municipal Airport. Services provided for the
soldiers included camp exchanges, libraries, chapels, theaters, service clubs
and a base newspaper, the "Camp Howze Howitzer."
The economic and social
impact of Camp Howze on Gainesville
was significant and was instrumental in the town's rapid growth and development.
Camp Howze Company Photo
dad was at Camp Howze in 1945. He did make it back but passed away in 1975. Here
is a company picture.
I had it restored. Not sure how many of these are out there. Please post so all
can enjoy." - The Glenn D. Beard Family, December 17, 2011
are the most visible remains of WWII
Camp Howze NW of Gainesville.
When the grass is low there are a great many small foundation supports stretching
across the countryside.
There are a number of small structures there
but the water towers stand out.
The camp was 59,000 acres (92+ sq mi).
From a story related by a friend whose parents owned a farm/ranch within
the camp boundaries. The army came in one day and said we're buying your place
and bull dozing your buildings, you have x days to get out. They were allowed
to repurchase the property following the base closing if they wanted. Most had
relocated and could not afford to do so. Large chunks were made into two ranches."
Price, September 27, 2007
off for the roadside marker. It was quite eerie, and beautiful, because the foundations
looked like tombstones. I stopped and talked to a couple of men working on the
road, they said those foundations were everywhere." - Sarah
Reveley, October 31, 2007
Letter from a Former POW
Your Camp Howze story and pix
stumbled onto your pictures and story concerning the German POW camp at Camp Howze.
Thanks for bringing back memories.
I was one of those POW’s at the camp
from Mar 45 to Spring of 46. There were 3 compounds for the prisoners, all next
to each other. Most of us worked on area farms, I had the fortune of working at
the Camp Howze laundry plant. In the Spring of 46 we were shipped home, which
turned out to be a journey to England where we had to work for another few years
as POW’s for the Brits.
In the mid 50’s, I with my family emigrated to
the US. I had opportunity to visit Camp Howze (or what was left of it) in the
early 70’s during a trip to Dallas.
At that time I met with and talked to a farmer who had built his homestead where
the camp was located before. He told me that I was the first and only former
POW he knew of that ever came back. Thanks again for your story and your pictures."
- Wolf Weber, February 15, 2011
Hotels > Gainesville
by Mike Cox|
This story is about a mystery involving the flag staff that
once stood at Camp Howze, a sprawling World War II Army base at Gainesville...