Marching to Mess — 1918
Not your typical boot camp setting… (click for larger image)
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.