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Camp Adair
Oregon

Home WW 2 Timeline Links   Sources Images
Postcards from Camp Adair
(PC-003 to 037) - See Index/Camp Adair
From Walt Robbins, Sr.,  to Norma Haas Robbins
Pvt. Walter C. Robbins/ Co. B. - 413 Inf./ A.P.O. 104 Div./ Camp Adair, Oregon/ U.S. Army
   

 

   

Camp Adair was built in 1942 for the US Army after being chosen over a site near Eugene, Oregon partly because it had terrain and weather much like Germany. S2 It was named after Henry Rodney Adair, a native of Oregon.  The site consisted of 57,159 acres.  It was built as a WW2 division training camp and was able to house over 2100 officers and more than 37,000 enlisted personnel.  S4,  Many homes, farms, cemeteries and even the town of Wells, Oregon were uprooted to make way for the building of the camp  Link
Camp Adair was developed and constructed by the Portland district of the Army Corps of Engineers.  “At Camp Adair, the District set up an artillery practice range. While located apart from the camp and far outside Corvallis, precautions against stray shells proved necessary.  The military told farmers to place red flags beside any ordinance which they might find in their fields.  The District instructed certain personnel in the defusing of these dangerous objects, and they made many trips to the Corvallis area to aid alarmed farmers or picnickers.  One Corvallis farmer tried to improve upon this procedure.  In response to his call, a Corps of Engineers employee arrived only to discover that the man had hauled a live round over snowy fields on a sled and placed it in his barn.- together with his livestock – “for safekeeping.”  The Corps employee defused the explosive and instructed the well-intentioned farmer that in the future a red flag might be a more prudent approach.” , page 122  [Source:  http://www.usace.army.mil/inet/usace-docs/misc/un24/c-9.pdf] [Link not working 24 Apr 2011] - .pdf of a portion of the source - original source unknown
Camp Location:  Six miles north of Corvallis, Oregon  - Latitude: 44-42'00'' N   Longitude: 123-12'30'' W  S1,   "Camp Adair extended from about two miles north of Lewisburg in Benton County to two miles south of Monmouth in Polk County - the following link also shows an aerial view of the camp  Source  - Map Image
Site Officially selected July 1941 - 65,000 acres - Farmers and homeowners relocated - Town of Wells demolished - S13 p 11, 13,
1800 Buildings, The bakery produced 45,000 loaves of bread daily - 500 barracks, 11 chapels, 5 movie theaters - Hospital was able to treat 3600 military patients  -  S13 p 34,
Construction reportedly cost $32 million - S13 p 35,
Basic Training began on 14 Dec 1942 and ended on 13 March 1943 and Unit training began on 14 March 1943  -  S13, p 48 and 50,
Camp Adair nickname was "Swamp Adair"  S13 p 52,
Camp Newspaper:  Cam Adair Sentry  S13 p 63,
Lots of photos of construction, camp use and demolition - S13,
Camp Adair was dedicated on 4 Sept 1943 - the camp post office was in operation from 1942-1946. S4, Dedication Photo
Camp Adair was Oregon's 2nd largest city with Portland being larger and 1700 buildings were erected at the camp.  Source
In July, 1944, the local newspaper reported that Camp Adair had been abandoned and the soldiers sent away.
When the divisions left, the U.S. Army turned the hospital at Adair over to the U.S. Navy. The Navy brought wounded men from the Pacific Theater to Adair for treatment. The hospital was enlarged to take care of about 3,600 patients.
Shortly after the last division left, part of Camp Adair served as a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp for Italians and Germans. Civilians in Benton and Polk counties were mostly unaware of the prisoners' presence. Link
From 1944 until 23 July 1946 Camp Adair was used as a prisoner of war camp which housed both Germans and Italians.  Source unknown
When the war ended, the camp was closed and most of the buildings removed, except for the hospital, which in 1946 was leased to Oregon State University for student and faculty housing. The university converted the hospital into apartments, a local government was organized, and Adair Village post office established in 1947. When the postwar enrollment boom dwindled, Oregon State gave up its lease, and the United States Air Force maintained the base as a radar station. Adair Village post office closed in 1951, and Adair Air Force Station post office took its place from 1961-1969. The Air Force ceased operations and sold the property, with the individual houses being placed on the market. Adair Village incorporated in 1976. Adair Village city hall is one of the original World War II buildings.  S3,
1946:  The camp was demolished
2006:  Camp Adair (OR) munitions response inspection - Source
Currently:  Adair Village, Oregon (Zip Code 97330) Occupies part of the land which housed Camp Adair - Location:  44° 40' 25" N   123° 13' 4" W

Adair Remembered

Soldiers who trained at Camp Adair remembered many aspects of Oregon's climate and natural surroundings. Many soldiers got poison oak, encountered snakes, choked on summer's dust, and got sore muscles climbing Coffin Butte, Most remembered training in the driving Oregon winter rain.

After sloshing through the countryside, marching in the rain, fording swollen streams, pushing and pulling vehicles through the mud, and trying to keep their equipment from rusting, many soldiers felt like they were living in a swamp. It's no wonder they called it "Swamp Adair." 

Source unknown

Camp Adair, consisting of 65,000 acres mostly in Polk and Benton counties north of Corvallis, was chosen in August 1941 after officials considered other locations elsewhere in the state. The site was selected because of its proximity to railroad, water, and electric supplies as well as its mix of flat land and wooded rolling hills for training. Four divisions trained at the camp: the 104th "Timberwolf" Infantry Division; the 70th "Trailblazer" Infantry Division; the 96th Infantry Division; and the 91st Infantry Division. The camp itself had 1,800 buildings, including barracks and mess halls, numerous office buildings, five movie theaters, seven churches, stores, a hospital, and a bakery capable of producing 35,000 loaves of bread each day. Training grounds, artillery ranges, and wooded hills covered almost 75 percent of the camp's area and included a simulated Japanese village where soldiers practiced for a possible future assault on the main islands of Japan.  Source
Soldiers: Helped to Rescue of Fleeing People
As the waters submerged bottomlands of Benton and Linn counties, troops from Camp Adair used assault boats and jeeps to rescue two marooned mothers with new offspring and bring many others. The furiously swollen Santiam struck at communities between Jefferson and Independence. Five hundred feet of new revetment washed out near Independence. 
Source

George Fox University
News Release – 4 Sept 2001 .txt file

A Piece of George Fox Campus History from Postwar Years Uncovered in Demolition of a nearly-forgotten Building 

Newberg, Oregon -  Something about the old, one-story wooden structure in south Newberg seemed vaguely familiar to Dick Cadd…It turns out the building was the east end of the former library at George Fox, moved to its current location in the 1960s….It started its life at Camp Adair Naval Hospital in the Corvallis area, and was relocated to the Newberg campus in 1946-47. . .  The building was one of several barracks and officers’ lounges the federal government offered for free to the college, as long as the labor to dismantle and move them was provided by the school.   

 

The proximity of Corvallis to a major World War II training facility resulted in war-related developments within the community. In the winter of 1941, the United States War Department began a survey of potential training camp sites on the West Coast. The Ninth Army Corps needed suitable locations for cantonments, airplane fields and munitions depots. An area five miles north of Corvallis was selected as a cantonment for a Triangular Division of 30,000 to 35,000 troops. At the peak of operation, Camp Adair was the second largest city in Oregon. The proximity of a development of this size near Corvallis had several consequences for the community. Housing became scarce as enlisted mens' and officers' wives scrambled to find places to live in Corvallis. Many of the large, older houses in the community were converted into apartments at that time to meet this demand for housing. At least one hotel re-opened its doors after closing in the 1930's.

It was believed that Corvallis was vulnerable to enemy attack during World War II because of its proximity to the coast and Camp Adair and because there was an army airport, in conjunction with Camp Adair, just south of Corvallis (Johnson 1942:1). Engineers made a survey of public buildings in Corvallis to determine their safety. Buildings declared safe were the Benton Hotel, the Crees Building and the First National Bank Building.

The greatest threat was perceived to be fires set by enemy planes during the dry season. In order to protect the community, a Civilian Defense System was put into place. An aircraft observation squad kept a constant lookout for planes as did community members stationed on the rooftops of buildings in Corvallis. Each block in Corvallis had at least one air raid warden, who among other duties, insured compliance with blackouts (Johnson 1942:4).

A canteen division in Corvallis prepared and served meals at the former Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, and Avery Park. The former Madison Street Methodist Church was the site of a USO Canteen where servicemen stationed locally gathered for recreation (Chapman and Weber 1983-84). The Corvallis Canteen Division was unique since men also served in it (Johnson 1942:5).

 Source

 

E E Wilson Wildlife Area - History
    -- Located on a portion of the site of Camp Adair - "The portion of the base that became E. E. Wilson was fondly referred to as “Swamp Adair” due to the constant rain, mud, standing water, and mosquitoes."

Also see .txt file

 

Poison Oak Health Issue   S6 PC-016,

Extract: Walter talked about the poison Oak and how most all of the soldiers got into it in one form or another. He said when someone got it they had to spend 7 days in the hospital to get over it. The only thing they had for it was some pink stuff they rubbed on it. Since you had to crawl around on the ground and move through the brush, etc you couldn't help but keep getting it - [Interview 2 July 2003, page 2, 3 - Link]

104th Inf Div:  15 June 1943 to 25 July 1944 when they were deployed to France
    Originally known as the "Frontier Division," the 104th later adopted the name "Timberwolf." The army activated the division on September 15, 1942, at Camp Adair. It was made up of 840 officers and 16,000 enlisted men.

They fought in France in September 1944, and also saw action in Belgium and Germany. In March 1945, they crossed the Rhine River, capturing several towns and many German troops. After fighting in the European theater for ten months, this division returned home.  Source

 

Camp Adair was located in the northwestern portion of Oregon. The site was situated about 60 miles south of Portland and about 45 miles north of Eugene. The former site is located on Oregon highway 99W about 15 miles north of Corvallis. [S10] The elevation of the site is 226 feet with the following coordinates: 44.7 latitude and 123.20833 longitude. [S1] The camp occupied almost 65,000 acres and more than 100,000 troops received their training at this camp. The dedication for the camp was held in 1943. [S2]
Camp Adair was developed and constructed by the Portland district of the Army Corps of Engineers. “At Camp Adair, the District set up an artillery practice range. While located apart from the camp and far outside Corvallis, precautions against stray shells proved necessary. The military told farmers to place red flags beside any ordinance which they might find in their fields. The District instructed certain personnel in the defusing of these dangerous objects, and they made many trips to the Corvallis area to aid alarmed farmers or picnickers. One Corvallis farmer tried to improve upon this procedure. In response to his call, a Corps of Engineers employee arrived only to discover that the man had hauled a live round over snowy fields on a sled and placed it in his barn.- together with his livestock - “for safekeeping.” The Corps employee defused the explosive and instructed the well-intentioned farmer that in the future a red flay might be a more prudent approach.” [S11]
During the construction of the camp, which eventually was listed as the second largest city in the state, many cemeteries, railroads, families and even the whole town of Wells was uprooted, moved, or destroyed. Very few of the numerous buildings exist today to mark the existence of the camp. Today the land is owned by various individuals and government entities. The camp was named for Henry Rodney Adair who was a graduate of West Point. During use of the camp for training entire European city models were constructed to simulate what they could face in Europe. [S7]
One of the problems encountered by the soldiers while in Camp Adair was Poison Oak. The laboratories at Oregon State College went to work to give them some aid. They worked with the officers at the camp to develop an extract which had a desensitizing effect on most of the affected soldiers. [S6]
Today Adair Village (ZIP Code 97330) sits on land once included in the Camp Adair compound. It was established in 1976 and is home to about 600 residents. The water and sanitary systems that were designed to serve the former camp are now operated by the town and both are fully compliant with current standards. [S12]
 
 
 
 

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Links
Google Web Search:  "Camp Adair" +Oregon
Google Image Search (Researched - 5 Feb 2010)
WikiPedia Article
Image of the interior of a barracks at the camp
Camp Adair Post office Location:  Benton County, Oregon  - Latitude: 44-41'59'' N   Longitude: 123-12'34'' W
Benton County [Oregon] Historical Society & Museum "Camp Adair"
 
Camp Adair Postcard Link
Adair Village, Oregon - Wikipedia Article

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Sources
 

Source Citation

Image
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S1 Camp Adair Location :  Benton County, Oregon -  Latitude: 44-42'00'' N   Longitude: 123-12'30'' W  
S2 Benton County Historical Society - Museum Online Exhibit "Camp Adair:  The Story of Camp Adair, Oregon"  
S3 Adair Village, Oregon - Wikipedia Article  
S4 WikiPedia Article - Camp Adair  
S5 News Release - George Fox University, 4 Sept 2001 "A Piece of George Fox Campus History from Postwar Years Uncovered in Demolition of a Nearly-Forgotten Building"  .txt file  
S6 Benton County History Minutes - Camp Adair - Health Issues, nd - Benton County Historical Society  .txt file  
S7 E E Wilson Wildlife Area - History   -  E E Wilson Wildlife Area - .txt file  
S8 Robert Rust Photograph Collection, 1930-1950.  P0317.  Utah State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives.  Box 1, WW2 Photographs, Camp Adair, Oregon.   http://library.usu.edu/Specol/photoarchive/p0317.html  
S9 Interview with Walter Clifton Robbins (8400 W CR400S, Yorktown, IN 47396), page 2, 3 - Poison Oak.  Acc082505-001(Note Walter talked about the poison Oak and how most all of the soldiers got into it in one form or another. He said when someone got it they had to spend 7 days in the hospital to get over it. The only thing they had for it was some pink stuff they rubbed on it. Since you had to crawl around on the ground and move through the brush, etc you couldn't help but keep getting it)  
S10 NationalAtlas.gov - Search for:  "Camp Adair Oregon"  
S11 http://www.usace.army.mil/inet/usace-docs/misc/un24/c-9.pdf  Not working 24 Apr 2011  
S12 Welcome to Adair Village, Oregon  
S13 Book:  Baker, John Harvard. Camp Adair: The Story of a World War II Cantonment. Newport, Oregon: Lazerquick, 2004. Bk3340.
Reading Notes
 
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Postcard from Adair Adair Buildings Some Barracks at Adair Memorial   Guard Gate
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