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Camp Grant - WW1 Training Cantonment

Troops on review ground listening to address by Governor Lowden. Camp Grant Pictorial Brochure, 1917.

Troops on review ground listening to address by Governor Lowden. Camp Grant Pictorial Brochure, 1917. GGA Image ID # 1a144c60cf


Located about five miles south of Rockford, Illinois, the cantonment lies east of Rock River and connects with that city by a magnificent concrete highway. Camp Grant is the training quarters for the men who will constitute the divisions drawn from northern Illinois and all except the Lake Michigan shore counties of Wisconsin, one of the most northerly of the 16 cantonments. It has more sunny days than any other of the 16 cantonments, with 274 cloudless or only partially cloudy days annually.

Camp Grant, named for Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, leading military hero of the Northern armies in the Civil War and afterward President of the United States, faces the Rock River in the west, and the north bank fronts the beautiful little Kishwaukee River for half a mile. With a population of 60,000, Rockford was so enthusiastic about having a cantonment near it that its residents raised a fund of $100,000 to improve conditions there. The Chamber of Commerce built some 400 residences on a tract outside of the cantonment to be used as homes for the officers.

No city has shown more heartfelt hospitality to the new National Army forces than Rockford. This cantonment was laid out to preserve the natural beauty of the site. A magnificent fringe of trees stretches along the Rock River banks that have been preserved for park purposes. Some rare old farmhouses have been used as officers' quarters.

A circle drawn around the camp at 80 miles will pass through Chicago and Milwaukee, cross the Mississippi at Dubuque, and embrace an area in Iowa within the Big Bend of that river, between Dubuque and Davenport. This territory embraces magnificent farming land. The excellent dairy region of which Elgin is the center that annually produces hundreds of millions of pounds of delicious golden butter.

Based on the article from The National Geographic Magazine, p. 459


Front Cover, Camp Grant Pictorial Brochure, Rockford, Illinois, 2017.

Pictorial History of Camp Grant - 1917

This is the pictorical history of the Miracle of Camp Grant, the World War One Illinois Cantonment, built in 1917 to train soldiers of the National Army called the Allied Expeditionary Force or AEF.


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The Folks Behind the GG Archives

The GG Archives is the work and passion of two people, Paul Gjenvick, a professional archivist, and Evelyne Gjenvick, a curator. Paul earned a Masters of Archival Studies - a terminal degree from Clayton State University in Georgia, where he studied under renowned archivist Richard Pearce-Moses. Our research into the RMS Laconia and SS Bergensfjord, the ships that brought two members of the Gjønvik family from Norway to the United States in the early 20th century, has helped us design our site for other genealogists. The extent of original materials at the GG Archives can be very beneficial when researching your family's migration from Europe.