by Paula Bosse
Above, Camp Dick, an Air Service training camp which took over Fair Park during World War I. The War Department caption of this 1918 photo:
Camp Dick, Dallas, Texas: Men marching to mess after evening parade. Roof in foreground is the Officers’ house.
At the right is a roller coaster, a popular ride when the State Fair of Texas (rather than the U.S. military) is occupying the park.
Here’s a photo from 1911:
When Preston Sturges trained at Camp Dick — well before he became a legendary Hollywood writer and director — he and his fellow cadets did not let that roller coaster go to waste. He wrote this in his autobiography, Preston Sturges by Preston Sturges:
Out on the parade ground, boys fell over from [the intense heat] all the time and had to be revived with cold water and a sponge. Nights we would climb up the shaky apex of the large roller coaster in the corner of the fairgrounds to try to find a breeze.
An unexpected perk of basic training.
Sources & Notes
Top photo is from the National Archives at College Park; more info is here.
State Fair photo is a real photo postcard, taken by John R. Minor, and is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more info is here.
More Flashback Dallas posts on Camp Dick can be found here.
Copyright © 2020 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.