Chicago: Mayhart Studio, 1917. Large panoramic photograph, 8 x 90.5 inches. Rolled. Light wear at edges, with a couple of small chips and very short closed tears along top edge. minor dust soiling and toning. Very good. Item #1993
A fabulous and extremely long panoramic photograph, measuring approximately 7.5 feet in length, that depicts Camp Bowie in Fort Worth during October 1917. At this time, the camp was still under construction but also housed an entire infantry division in training for World War I. Ongoing construction efforts are clearly evident, as piles of lumber in various states of organization occupy the field in the center foreground. Already completed barracks and other out buildings occupy the right of the image, and thousands of army tents sweep into the background of the center and left portions of the image. A group of standard houses, likely for officers and their families, is located at the lower left of the image. The photographers, Mayhart Studio of Chicago, were responsible for a number of military and patriotic views during the United States' involvement in the Great War, including the well-known "Living Flag" image of thousands of servicemen composing an American flag.
"Construction of Camp Bowie began on July 18, 1917. The camp, in the Arlington Heights neighborhood about three miles west of downtown Fort Worth, was established by the United States War Department to give training to the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division. Local officials expected financial gain and urged that the camp be located at Fort Worth. Including the adjacent rifle range and trench system, the site encompassed 2,186 acres.... Camp Bowie's greatest average monthly strength was recorded in October 1917 as 30,901. For about five months after the departure of the Thirty-sixth for France in July 1918, the camp functioned as an infantry replacement and training facility, with monthly population ranging from 4,164 to 10,527.... Shortly after the Armistice on November 11, 1918, Camp Bowie was designated a demobilization center. By May 31, 1919, it had discharged 31,584 men. The heaviest traffic occurred in June, when it processed thousands of combat veterans of the Thirty-sixth and Ninetieth Texas-Oklahoma divisions. The demobilization having been concluded, Camp Bowie was closed on August 15, 1919" -- Handbook of Texas Online.
A quite remarkable photographic document of this short-lived, World War I-era army camp in Fort Worth, whose grounds and surrounding neighborhood are now touted by the municipal tourism office as "the city's premier commerce corridor." We locate no other examples of this excellent and large panorama.