Building the Camp

Obtaining the Land

The Louisville Board of Trade purchased farmland outside of the city of Louisville to loan to the United States Government for the purposes of constructing an army training base, or cantonment. The government eventually purchased this land. These images, four of 110 in a photograph album of land purchased for the Camp, show homes, outbuildings, and farms, some of which were demolished to make way for the camp. Many of the names of the 38 property owners can be matched with those listed in the 1913 atlas.

The borders of land occupied by Camp Zachary Taylor's main section were as follows: Clarks Lane to the north, the south fork of Beargrass Creek and Newburg Road to the east, Interstate 264 to the south, and Preston Highway to the west. Outlying areas included the army base hospital which lay south of 264 near Male High School and Evergreen Cemetery, the Remount Station at Eastern Parkway and Crittenden Drive, the Maneuver Field on the west side of Preston Highway, and the Rifle Range six and a half miles south of the Camp. An artillery range of nearly 16,000 acres was located near West Point, Kentucky.

These four 1913 maps represent most of the area covered by Camp Zachary Taylor. A comparison of the documented property owners in the Camp Zachary Taylor Photograph Album, which consists of properties purchased for the Camp, shows that over half are listed on these 1913 maps.

Demolition and Construction

The United States Government hired nearly 10,000 carpenters and builders to construct a military complex large enough to house 47,500 men at one time, using 45.3 million feet of lumber. The Government awarded the building contract to Mason & Hager of Frankfort and Richmond, Kentucky on June 20, 1917, and the Camp was ready on November 1, 1917. The land was described as high and rolling, with trees around it, with a ground of yellow clay.

Building the Camp