Memories of Camp Cody Weblog

November 30, 2013

Story of How Camp Cody was Constructed Despite Difficulties is Related – Part 2 of 3

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Michael Kromeke @ 5:12 pm

Did Own Typewriting.

It was impossible to find, beg or steal a typewriter in Deming the first few days he was there. Major Miller said. However he eventually borrowed a “mill” and for several days did his own stenographic work. Later typewriters and stenographers were imported from El Paso.

As letters were from four to five days on the road to Washington, most of the correspondence with army heads at the capital was handled by night telegraphic letters, some of which were an entire page in length.

16,000,000 Feet of Lumber

It was first estimated that only 4,000,000 feet of lumber would be used, but as the work progressed and the camp grew in size it was found that over 16,000,000 feet would be needed. In one day over 650,000 feet of lumber was unloaded out of railway cars.

Great was the “grief” experienced during the during the earlier days, when it was not know from one day to the other whether there would be enough material on hand at dawn with which to work. As an example of the many pretty worries with which they had to contend, Major Miller pointed out the fact that one set of fire hydrants were delivered at Deming with threads different from the threads on the fire hose. The hose cart came equipped with wrenches that did not fit the fire hydrant.

Preliminary plans for the post office were not what they should have been, Major Miller said. The Deming postmaster pointed out many faults and declared that work in such an office would be greatly hampered. So The contractor and the major wired to Washington for the correct plans, and while they were on the road constructed an office as they believed it should be constructed. It had been completed when the blue prints arrived.

Quarters for Employes Built.

With every building in Deming occupied on July 20 and many residences renting for sums as high as $150 a month, the contractor had to build quarters for his employes and homes for his department heads.

“But the camp is now practically completed, due to the assistance of the people of Deming and El Paso,” concluded Major Miller.

Mr. Tilton spoke as follows, “I was informed that I was to read a paper on Camp Cody, but realizing the enormity of this subject, by mutual consent I have divided this responsibility with Major Miller, one far more qualified than I, who has prepared himself to address you extemporaneously.

“I, therefore, will confine myself to remarks, which are, or rather should be applicable from the contractor’s viewpoint, to the engineers”.

Contract Executed July 18

“The contact for the construction of Camp Cody was signed and executed on the eighteenth was to the effect that troops would arrive shortly after the first of August, Owen Hughes, the contractor, arriving in Deming on July 25 at the urgent call of the major and immediately realized the fact that he had something to do to carry out these same orders for the accommodation of those who had answered their country’s call.

“Deming, from the standpoint of hurried action, is not a cheerful or hopeful subject to consider, being a creation set in the plains and removed from any-wheres.

“The original order for lumber was placed from Washington and the receipt of the same was a matter of conjecture. Fortunately the local lumber companies had realized the necessities of the camp and had fortified themselves by stocking up, this being especially true of the Deming Lumber company, with the result that the S. O. S. signal sent out by the major and Mr. Hughes was immediately answered and on the afternoon of the 26th operations were commenced. – El Paso Herald Newspaper – Saturday, October 20, 1917

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November 23, 2013

Story of How Camp Cody was Constructed Despite Difficulties is Related – Part 1 of 3

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Michael Kromeke @ 4:23 pm

C. A. Tilton, Auditor of Contractor, and Major C. H. Miller, Engineer in Charge, Tell Southwestern Society of Engineers How They Solved Problems.

The story of how Camp Cody, the great army training camp at Deming, New Mexico, was constructed in record time despite innumerable difficulties was related in a vivid and interesting manner by C. A. Tilton, auditor of the contractor, and Major C. H. Miller, Engineer in Charge of construction, Friday at the afternoon session of the convention of Southwestern Society of Engineers. Friday night the engineers banqueted at the El Paso del Norte. The convention will be brought to a close Saturday and Sunday the visitors will start on their homeward trek.

Another Cripple Creek

Red Dog and Cripple Creek in their palmy days had nothing on the boom at Deming that has existed since the first steps toward the construction of Camp Cody were taken in the latter part of July, according to Mr Tilton and Major Miller.

Major Miller stated that he arrived in Deming from Little Rock, Arkansas, his home city and found only one assistant on the ground. The man was not an engineer but a very efficient business man and aided materially in laying out preliminary plans. The contractor, Owen Hughes, of Dallas, had not arrived and he was immediately wired for and instructed to be on the camp site July 26.

Survey of Site Made

In the meantime, Black and Veatch civil engineers, of Kansas city, had made a survey of the proposed site. Major Miller stated that scarcely any one knew that a camp was to be constructed until his arrival, particularly the railroad officials. This meant, he pointed out that no preparation whatever had been made for material or labor to construct the camp. One or two Deming merchants had taken a chance on the city receiving the cantonment, and A. H. Bush had one million feet of lumber under way which he had intended to dispose of to private individuals. It was this lumber that saved the day, the Major declared, as the material ordered from Washington about July 17, when the contract was signed, did not reach the camp until the work was well under way.

“Deming people have done all they could for us, and it is to their assistance, combined with that of El Pasoans, that we are indebted for the speed we made in constructing the camp,” he said.

Camp to Be Ready August 1

Advices received from Washington stated that the camp must be ready to receive troops August 1, and it was not until the night of July 1 that the first carload of lumber arrived. Material ordered could not possible have reached Deming before the arrival of the first contingent of troops.

With only tentative plans at hand, a force of workmen were immediately organized and on August 5 Washington was advised that the camp would be ready for the first advance companies from six regiment by the eleventh. On August 15, 33 buildings had been erected. It was not until August 18, however, that the first definite advice as to requirements for the camp were received.

Shortage of Labor

In relating the trouble the contractor experienced in getting together his first force of men, Major Miller explained that 55 carpenters and 70 laborers entirely exhausted the Deming supply, and three small trucks and 30 teams were all that could be obtained in the New Mexico town. Laborers and additional teams and trucks were imported from El Paso. On the fourth of August the force of men at work on the camp numbered 450 and three days later 900 were on the job and 53 buildings were under construction. – El Paso Herald Newspaper – Saturday, October 20, 1917

November 9, 2013

YMCA Man Indexing Men Who Play, Sing and Speak

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Michael Kromeke @ 3:57 pm

A. R. Lytle, the YMCA musical director here, reported that he has finished his first draft of a musical census of the 34th division and when he gets it checked up in the next day or two, he will begin to form orchestras, quartets and glee clubs, and put them to practicing. Some splendid musical features are certain to be developed, not to mention massed singing and massed orchestras which Mr. Lytle expects to work up.

This census carries with it a side issue in the way of a census of readers, elocutionists and practically all classes of entertainers so that there will be no trouble hereafter in locating all such when desired. – El Paso Herald Newspaper – Thursday, November 15, 1917

136th Camp Cody Band

136th Camp Cody Band

November 2, 2013

Work Scarce For Men Let Out At Camp Cody’s Finish

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Michael Kromeke @ 3:24 pm

Of about 2,000 carpenters and other laborers discharge Saturday at Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico, many have come to El Paso looking for work, according to P. P. Young, of the labor bureau of the United States immigration station at Santa Fe bridge. There is little work here for them, he said and he has been putting the situation up to California, Mississippi and Florida bureaus with not much encouraging response. – El Paso Herald Newspaper – Tuesday, November 20, 1917

Construction At Camp Cody

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