Camp Funston Illustrated - Cantonment Life - 1918

Front Cover, Camp Funston: Illustrated -- Cantonment Life, 1918.

Front Cover, Camp Funston: Illustrated -- Cantonment Life, 1918. GGA Image ID # 1865250064

Publisher Information

Created, Produced and Sold by Baird Company Engravers, Kansas City, MO. Price $1.00. This Book is published under the direction of the Department of Camp Activities and Amusements, Camp Funston, Kansas. All Photographs by Franck C. Rogers, Official Photographer for Baird Co. Engravers. Copyright 1918, Baird Company Engravers.


IN JUNE, 1917, the War Department decided to locate a large Army Cantonment on the Government Reservation at Fort Riley, Kansas. At the direction of Secretary of War Baker, Professor James S. Pray of Harvard University, engineer and expert in town planning; Mr. Wynkoop Kiersted of Liberty, Missouri, engineer and expert on water works and sewerage; Herbert Hare, landscape architect of Kansas City, Missouri; and Lieutenant-Colonel (then Captain) Fred J. Herman of the Quartermaster Corps, United States Army, met at Fort Riley and selected the present site of Camp Funs ton.

The land selected was a large meadow near the Kansas River, bounded by high bluffs on the north and on the main line of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Active construction was begun July 1, 1917, and the Cantonment was completed December 1.

Camp Funston has accommodations for over 50,000 men and has been built at a cost of approximately $10,000,000. It is the largest of the permanently built Cantonments and consists mainly of two-story buildings.

It has complete systems of water works and sewers; is lighted by electricity; has its own refrigerating plants, capable of manufacturing all ice needed and refrigerating all meats, etc. It maintains its own garbage collection and disposal system and incinerators for garbage and dead animals.

Camp Funston is the only Cantonment possessing a Zone of Camp Activities, representing an investment of over $1,500,000, financed and built by private capital, without cost to the Government, planned under the personal direction of Captain Dick B. Foster.

It is four city blocks long, containing an arcade where refreshment booths are established; complete restaurants in operation, large stores carrying complete lines of merchandise for the soldiers; theatres, pool halls, picture shows, barber shops, clothing repair shops, bowling alleys, etc.

Camp Funston has 14 Y.M.C.A. Buildings; three Knights of Columbus Buildings; a large library, conducted by the American Library Association; a hostess house under the auspices of the Y.W.C.A.; and numerous places of amusement and recreation. Fourteen infirmaries are maintained as well as numerous regimental hospitals.

The Base Hospital has accommodations for over 3,000 patients.

Camp Funston is heated by its own steam heating system, costing over a million dollars, consisting of 17 large central plants, 2 for the Base Hospital, and 37 smaller plants for groupe of office buildings. Fourteen miles of steam railway and several miles of electric lines are maintained within the Camp proper.

Camp Funston has its own fire department, adequately equipped with 12 pieces of motor apparatus and manned with 550 picked men who have had experience in the larger cities.

There are 28 miles of stone paved streets in the Camp, eight miles of which are water-bound macadam and twenty of macadam with asphalt border.

The barracks for men and quarters for officers were erected for summer and winter occupancy, splendidly lighted and heated. The soldiers’ barracks are two stories high and are provided with completely equipped kitchens and mess halls. Adjoining the living quarters are modern lavatories, containing shower baths with hot and cold water.

The police force of Camp Funston consists of the military police, a special organization.

Suitable buildings are provided at division headquarters for foreign officers, and officers on duty as instructors in trench warfare, gas attacks, defense, etc., developed in the last three years.

At no time in the world’s history has the soldier been so well cared for as he is today in Cantonments and Army Posts of the United States.

Wherever criticism has been heard it has emanated from the mouths of the uninformed, the ignorant, and from wilful misrepresentations based on a lack of technical, sanitary and military knowledge.

Administrative History Note (1)

War Department General Order 84, of May 18, 1908, provided that a camp of instruction be established at Leon Springs, Texas, about 17 miles north of San Antonio. The first troops began arriving in June 1908. It was in operation until August 31, 1910, when the 23d U.S. Infantry left the post.

In February 1917 Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston, commanding general of the Southern District, died in San Antonio, and facilities at the Leon Springs Reservation were named Camp Funston in his honor.

Another camp in Kansas was also named Funston, and since Funston was a native of Kansas, the Leon Springs Camp was redesignated Camp Stanley, after Brig. Gen. David S. Stanley, former commander of the Department of Texas, in compliance with War Department General Order 134, dated October 12, 1917.

In July 1917 the 57th Infantry moved to Camp Funston with Lt. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Lt. Walton H. Walker, who later commanded the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea, was also a member of the 57th at Camp Funston. In the spring of 1917 a remount station was established at Leon Springs to process and maintain horses used by the mounted arms of the military services.

In September 1917 an additional 16,000 acres of land was leased, extending the Leon Springs Military Reservation to the south. By the end of the World War I more than 32,000 acres near Leon Springs was in use by the army.

Between World War I and World War II improvements continued to be made. The old San Antonio Arsenal, originally built in 1859, was poorly located and by 1919 had been surrounded by the downtown area.

It was moved to Camp Stanley and by 1937 required an area of 1,760 acres. At this time Camp Stanley was devoted to storage and testing of ordnance materials, and all other military activities at the Leon Springs Military Reservation were conducted at Camp Bullis.

Briefly used during World War II, the camp became a subpost of the Red River Arsenal on July 1, 1949, in accordance with General Order 27, Department of the Army, dated June 9, 1949.

By 1990 the Leon Springs Military Reservation consisted of Camp Stanley, largely used for ammunition storage and testing, and Camp Bullis, utilized for firing ranges, maneuver areas for army, air force, and marine combat units, and for field training of the various medical units from Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston.

1 War Department. Camp Funston, Texas. 2/1917-10/12/1917 Organization Authority Record

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