Memories of Camp Cody Weblog

December 8, 2018

Base Hospital, Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 2:28 pm

“Winds, That Have Moved The Friendly Trees”

by Sergeant Glenn Ward Dresbach

Winds, that have moved the friendly trees to speak,
With lyric voices, to us when we went –
How long ago it seems – down roads to seek
New gladness and new dreams and wonderment,
When Spring comes back you will not find us there,
And will not miss us, and the grass will grow
And bluebirds sing and Earth-life thrill the air
As one glad Spring ago.

In our mid-western lands some one shall sow . . .
Sunlight and starlight and the quiet rains
Shall fall on peaceful fields that shall not know
How blood is spilled on battered hills and plains
Across the seas. Homes shall keep Liberty-
Although the olden happiness gives place
To thoughtful hopes and faith like comes to be
In each loved absent face.

The moonlight shall look in on places strange
To tears, and tears shall glisten, but the Night
Shall hold no driving foes. No better change
Of host that ravish waits the coming light,
The Light of Dawn! . . . What broken homes are these?
What hearts by strife and sorrow stricken dumb?
What pitted fields? What mangled, helpless trees? . . .
O bleeding France, we come!



December 1, 2018

Camp Cody Director for the Y. M. C. A.

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 3:41 pm

Major G. N. Randle, chief engineer of the Armour project in California, which reclaimed a big area of land at the cost of $5,000,000, an engineer in the public works department of that state, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, has been put at the head of the utilities branch of the quartermaster corps at Camp Cody, succeeding the acting commander Captain Henry C. Chard, who now returns to his former office as assistant camp quartermaster. Major Randle will soon have camp highways that will look good to the world.
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Charles H. Blesse has been assigned to Camp Cody from Camp Kearney, as camp physical director for the Y. M. C. A. for a time he was stationed at Honolulu where he had athletic training of the officers, who in turn trained the men under them. – Deming Graphic – Friday November 15, 1918


YMCA – Camp Cody, Deming, New Mexico

November 24, 2018

General James R. Lindsay, commanding the 97th Division

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:48 pm

E. E. Nold, an experienced and prominent business man of El Paso, for some time camp business secretary of Camp Cody, has been made acting camp general secretary, vice Cylde M. Becker resigned, now a first lieutenant in engineer corps, U. S. A.
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The Red Cross Orchestra in which several famous bands of the United States are represented, is one of the Camp Cody entertainment features most enjoyed by officers and men.
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General James R. Lindsay, commanding the 97th Division, Camp Cody, has caused to be instituted fine outdoor entertainments every week day and Sunday evening at the division stadium, and outdoor natural amphitheater where comfortable seats are provided for thousands of soldiers at one time. All welfare bodies co-operate with the military in providing the very best obtainable.

Deming Graphic – Friday November 15, 1918


November 17, 2018

Camp Cody Soldier get a French military decoration

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:09 pm

The first “Croix de guerre” man to arrive at Camp Cody in Deming, New Mexico is Major Wm. T. Cook, commanding field battalion 62. This distinguished honor was conferred upon Major Cook for conspicuous gallantry in action during the operations connected with the capture and defense of Catigny. May 27 to 31, Major Cook is strong for the work of the welfare organizations which back up the fighting lines “over there.” “I don’t know what the boys in trenches would do without them” said Major Crook.

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The Liberty Theatre is being greatly enlarged and improved by the addition of a high stage that will accommodate the large theatrical troops that will visit Camp Cody during the winter. – Deming Graphic – Friday November 15, 1918

FrenchMilitaryDecoration_Croix de guerre

French Military Decoration – Croix de guerre

November 11, 2018

Camp Cody Reclamation Branch

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:10 pm

The reclamation Branch of the quartermaster corps at Camp Cody in Deming, NM, brought to a remarkable state of perfection by Captain Stanley Eisman and his able assistants, Lieutenant J. S. Donovan, Lieutenant F. R. Jordan, Lieutenant F. W. Racine and a well selected office staff and corps of operatives, operates one of the most interesting demonstrations of what the war has developed in economy measures. It is the reclamation hat shop, which has an expert instructor, Private O. H. Runkel, formerly with the John B. Stetson Co. who came here with a thorough knowledge of the business from Camp Meade, Maryland. He is given splendid assistance by privates John Tyler, Perry Pugh and Bernard Farry and four soldier trimmers.

With an equipment gotten up very largely by the utilities branch, with the exception of the hat blocks and an eyelet machine manufactured by private Fred Khron, of the reclamation repair shop, this small but energetic force figures on turning out about one hundred perfectly reclaimed hats per day.

This branch of the conservation service is almost creative in its labor. It takes an article that has already served it purpose and makes of it a much better article than it was in the first place. Uncle Sam couldn’t buy for $1.25, the original price of the hat, an article nearly as good as the one reclaimed for 3 cents; thus eight soldiers are performing the double service of conservation and reclamation. Incidentally they are saving their country a hundred dollars per day out of practically nothing. – Deming Graphic – Friday November 15, 1918


Camp Cody Reclamation Branch

November 5, 2018

Letter From Danuel Sholes – Part 2 of 2

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 8:52 pm

Dear Father and Mother

The country here was about the same as it was in Texas, mostly ranch country. As we moved on west the country changed, we began to see sage brush and cactus, there were no towns, just a depot and a few shacks, talk about crooked roads they were so crooked that we almost met ourselves coming back. We stopped at Vown for a little rest, this was a town about the size of Orchard, I don’t know what the people live on, there was not a thing but sage brush, cactus and sand, still they all seemed to live and to enjoy themselves.

I was put on guard from 10:00 to 12:00 that night, we stopped and changed cars at Belen, that looked like a quite a city. I went on duty again at 4:00 in the morning, it was so dark I couldn’t see much of the country. I could see something that looked like fields of grain but as it got lighter I saw my great mistake, my large fields of grain turned out to be sage brush and cactus. We were getting into the foothills of the mountains such a looking country we made one stop between there and Deming, I do not know the name of the town, I don’t think it had a name.

We arrived at Deming just before noon, I was in hopes that Deming would be different, but the cactus grows bigger then ever they stand higher than my head. Now if you don’t believe it come and see.

They hauled us out here to the camp our tents were ready for us, but talk about sand, it was about ankle deep. I think Uncle Sam had a spite at us when he sent us here, it began to rain that afternoon and has rained every day since, they are having their rainy season it will rain for about three weeks and then not rain again for a year. It is colder here than in Nebraska, we are 43,000 feet above the sea level.

I was at Deming for the first time last night there were between 10 and 15 hundred soldiers there. We have to be in at 10:00, there are 35,000 of us here now, we are all feeling fine. I haven’t done any drilling yet, have been getting the ground cleared off. We have lots of pets here such as horned toads, but spiders and lots of other things to numerous to mention.

Well it has stopped raining the sun is coming out and I have a washing to do, so will have to close for this time, answer soon. I am writing on the head of a nail keg.

Your son
Daniel Sholes

Orchard, Antelope County, Nebraska Newspaper – September 20, 1917


Daniel Sholes on the right – Letter and Photo Donated by Sandy Dempsey

October 29, 2018

Letter From Danuel Sholes – Part 1 of 2

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 5:30 pm

Dear Father and Mother

I thought I would drop you a few lines about my trip to New Mexico. We left Norfolk the 14th at six pm. I was a little homesick before we left there that morning, but after we got started I cheered up and felt better, we arrived in Omaha about 11 o’clock pm. we over took the Chadron Co., there and the two trains were put together, I won’t say much about Omaha for we didn’t get to see much of it, we wasn’t allowed to leave the train. We left there at 2:00 o’clock am. and our next stop was Falls City, Nebraska there was a Company waiting there but it belonged to the Fifth Nebraska, it had to wait for the next division which was behind us, at night the train was guarded, my turn come from 9 until 11 so I got to see Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and also Kansas City, it is the prettiest City I saw on my trip. On the 15th we went through the oil fields of Kansas, you could look in any direction and all you could see was oil fields. The towns were fairly good size but they were all new houses sprung up since the discovery of oil. The crops were about the same in Kansas as they were in Nebraska, but as we crossed the line into Oklahoma you could see a change the corn fields commenced to disappear and what there was didn’t amount to much, it seemed to be mostly small grain raised there. We stopped at Waynoka, Oklahoma, they let us off to get the train.

We stopped at Waynoka, Oklahoma, they let up off to get the kinks out of our legs. Was there about two hours and left just before dark. The next country we come to, I think the marker had a spite at, for all you could see was sand hills and then some more sand hills, they wasn’t like the sand hills of Nebraska, No, Sir! There was not one thing growing on them just pure white sand. I was disgusted and went to bed. When I got up in the morning things looked different, we were in Texas, the first thing that met our eyes was a bunch of cow boys out on a round up, this country was as level as a floor you can see for miles any direction and not a hill or a tree in sight, just cattle and once in a while a ranch. It looked as though there was enough beef to feed Uncle Sam’s armies long enough to whip the Germans.

Our next stop was at Clovis, New Mexico, just over the line from Texas, the train got stuck on a grade about a mile from town, they unloaded us and marched to town. Believe me it seemed good to get straightened out once more. – Daniel Sholes – September 20, 1917


Daniel Sholes on the right – Letter and Photo Donated by Sandy Dempsey

October 20, 2018

The Cody Theatre: Deming’s Playhouse Beautiful – Part 3 of 3

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 9:37 pm

By C. A. Gustafson

The intense garage flames, aided by a west wind, carried across the narrow alley to the rear of the Cody theater. The Deming Fire Department made a valiant effort to save the show place but soon gave this up in order to contain the fire to one block. Camp Cody sent their fire truck to assist. Private Frank Munier was overcome by the heat and was taken to the army hospital. After about two hours the fire was under control and it was almost completely out by 4 pm.

The shops in the theater building on Pine Street were not badly damaged due to the brick wall of the movie house. The fire was still burning when Scoot’s Sign Shop placed a notice over its door. “Open for Business.” On Copper street north of Pine, Mrs. DeLauny’s Dining Room and the Russel dwelling, used as a rooming house, were severely gutted. The Deming Public Library, on the northeast corner of Copper and Pine, was only slightly singed due to a 50 foot open space to the east and favorable winds. The library’s 3,500 books were unharmed.

Not so fortunate was Sam Watkins, whose car agency lost twelve new Buick and Dodge cars. Watkins estimated his lost at $25,000 over insurance. The total damage for the fire was thought to be over $100,000. The diligent work of firefighters from Deming and Camp Cody prevented the conflagration from spreading to the Foxworth-Galbraith lumber yard on North Gold. A grateful H. G. Bush later presented the Deming Fire Department with a check for $100 and a similar about to Camp Cody athletic fund.

Manager Sol Carragien estimated the loss of the Cody Theater amounted to between $15,000 and $20,000. He said his insurance was only $2,000. The fire insurance companies regarded the affected block as a hazardous risk and the consequent high premiums discouraged many in the area from carrying adequate coverage.

After the fire, Carragien said he planned to rebuild at once. “We will be operating again in forty days,” he stated. That optimistic prediction never materialized. Possibly there were financial problems, or the fact that the war was winding down made the rebuilding impractical.

The Cody Theater was said to be the finest in New Mexico and one of the most outstanding in the southwest. Like a celestial comet, the “Playhouse Beautiful” flashed acrossed the entertainment skies of Deming for 208 nights (plus matinees), only to be terminated by a premature fiery final. – Desert Winds Magazine – July 1990


October 14, 2018

The cody Theatre: Deming’s Playhouse Beautiful – Part 2 of 3

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 4:02 am

By C. A. Gustafson

A series of stage attractions followed, including Princess Lani and her Hawaiian troop with a real hula-hula dance. In February 1918, a young English comedian by the name of Stan Laurel appeared with his partner, May Laurel. The vaudeville queen Eva Tangua made her screen debut in “The Wild Girl” in February also. The war influence was felt in such film presentations as “Over The Top” and “The Kaiser, the Beast of Berlin” in June, 1918. Admission prices varied from as low as 10 cents to as high as $1.50, depending on the nature of the presentation. Generally the price ranged around a half dollar. Carragien claimed to have paid as high as $2,500 for one of the initial stage presentation.

It was evident that in mid-1918 the Cody Theater was gradually shifting the major part of its entertainment to motion pictures. A new organ, costing between $6,000 and $7,000 was installed, this constituting the audio accompaniment to the silent pictures.

The silent motion picture era was one of the most fascinating and revolutionary in entertainment history. It was the supreme illusion. Actually, moving picture is a misnomer. The pictures did not move and only appeared to do so. The illusion of movement is achieved by sliding a succession of still pictures before a lens in rapid fashion with a black insertion between each frame. Due to persistence of vision, whereby the eye retina retains an image for a fraction of a second, the effect is that the picture “moves.” Film has been described as “stillness in motion.”

Thomas Edison held his first public performance of the new film projections in 1896 in a New York music hall. Gradually the Nickelodeons made their appearance in old storerooms, vacant halls, and various enclosures that could simulate a theater. The pictures were usually one-reelers and lasted about 10 minutes. The Nickelodeons gradually gave way to theaters that were built specifically to present movies. The one-reelers expanded to two and then to a half dozen and more. The first movie palaces began to appear about 1914.

The movie patron could check his/her cares and worries at the box office and pass through magic portals into another world, one that exuded mystery, romance and adventure. Seated comfortably in a darkened auditorium, the move goer focused attention on that rectangular image at the front of the theater, the silver screen. This was like a huge magic carpet, albeit vertical, that carried the viewers to the exotic corners of the earth.

The magic world of fantasy, and reality, came to an abrupt end for Cody Theater patrons on the afternoon of July 11, 1918. About 1 pm., a fire broke out in the Deming Garage on Pine street, west of the theater. The garage was owned by Roy Baker. There were a couple versions as to the origin of the fire. Baker claimed a worker threw a cigarette on some oil-soaked waste. Pete Measday had an older brother who was employed at the garage that summer. Cyril Measday, now deceased, related to Pete that gasoline had been used to clean the repair shop, creating a volatile atmosphere for a flame or spark. The wooden floors were oil-soaked from the cars that frequently leaked. There is the possibility that a car was driven into the garage enclosure, rife with gas vapors, and a flash fire resulted. Baker was severely burned about the head. His foreman, Walter Dusire, required hospital treatment for burns. – Desert Winds Magazine – July 1990


October 7, 2018

The cody Theatre: Deming’s Playhouse Beautiful – Part 1 of 3

Filed under: Camp Cody Deming — Tags: — Michael Kromeke @ 2:34 pm

By C. A. Gustafson

Deming has been the site of numerous architectural landmark in its 109 years. May are only memories and some still grace the local landscape. One of the notable missing and shortest in duration, was the Cody Theatre over 70 years ago.

The year 1917 was an eventful one for the nation and the Village of Deming. The United States declared war on Germany on April 6 and the first Americans troops landed in France three months later. A site north west of Deming was approved in July for the location of Camp Cody, one of 32 to be established across the country. Construction of the cantonment was begun immediately and employed around 3000 workers to complete the basic building before the year end.

In Deming, records showed that permits for permanent buildings were in excess of $200,000 the latter part of the year. The Cody Amusement Company, organized by local people, leased three lots on the northwest corner of Gold and Pine from the Deming National Bank. Plans were revealed for the immediate erection of a $25,000 theater. Ground was broken on October 22 by Jolly and Morris, the El Paso contractors who had just completed the Teal Theater the previous month. This plush palace of entertainment was to be named the Cody Theater. (The spelling “theatre” derived from Middle English, was commonly used with playhouses in the era of this story. However, the Americanized version “theater” will be utilized in this article.)

The Cody was built of brick and cement. The front faced Gold Avenue and consisted of a round arch facade that architecturally simulated the triumphal arches in Paris and Rome. It height was 30 feet and extended 75 feet north on Gold. There were a half dozen 10-foot shops on this south side.

The auditorium measured 60×100 feet with the seats facing west and pitched to permit a clear view of the stage from any one of the 1000 capacity. The lighting was indirect and a vacuum system insured clean air. The stage in the west end had a 24-foot opening and ran 75 feet from wall to wall. The projection booth above the balcony on the east end housed two number 6B Power machines for the film shows.

While construction of the Cody Theater was underway, the Princess movie house featured D. W. Griffith’s extravaganza, “The Birth of a Nation.” This picture had opened in New York in 1915 and would gross $18,000,000 by 1939. It was the first movie to be screened at the White House for President Wilson. On November 2, there was a mild public reaction when the postal department raised first class mail a penny to 3 cents an ounce.

In December, the Cody Theater, aptly termed “The Playhouse Beautiful,” was completed and ready to open for business. An original intent to premiere on December 14 was abandoned because of the Friday superstition. The following day, Manager Sol Carragien opened the Cody with the presentation of the Audra Alden Company in “17 Past” on the stage. This play enjoyed successful runs in New York and San Diego before coming to Deming. The screen attraction was “Camille” in five reels. Admission for this initial attraction was 35 cents. Both Saturday and Sunday performances were sellouts and many people were turned away. – Desert Winds Magazine – July 1990


U.S. Ammunition Wagon In Deming, New Mexico

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