Camp Wolters

History

Camp Wolters was established in 1925 on fifty-seven acres just east of what was then the City of Mineral Wells, which purchased the site and presented it to the state of Texas for the camp’s headquarters. The camp was named for Brigadier General Jacob F. Wolters, Commander of the 56th Brigade of the Texas National Guard, and served as the headquarters for all mounted cavalry in the National Guard in the state of Texas. The Guard still uses a portion of the post today for training. By 1927, a thousand officers and men, and the same number of horses, were encamped at the base. The citizens of Mineral Wells leased another 2300 acres surrounding the original site for three weeks annually for maneuvers. Just prior to World War II, the citizens leased more land surrounding the original camp and authorized the construction of buildings on the property.

On October 30, 1940, Mineral Wells was selected as the location of the Infantry Replacement Training Center. The city leased almost all of the Camp Wolters site, now totaling 7500 acres, to the federal government for the center. The camp became the nation’s largest infantry training center replacement center, housing 30,000 at one time. It was home to the internationally famous “F” Troop of World War II, one of the many mounted units trained at the camp. The center was deactivated by the U. S. Army on January 19, 1946.

The camp was purchased after the war by a group of Mineral Wells businessmen, who turned it into Camp Wolters Enterprises, Inc. In February, 1951, the camp was reactivated and redesignated Wolters Air Force Base, with the mission to house the newly-formed Aviation Engineers Force. On July 1, 1956, the camp was transferred to the U. S. Army and on September 26, 1956, the Army Primary Helicopter School was established. On June 1, 1963, the base was redesignated Fort Wolters. In March, 1966, the base was redesignated the U.  S. Army Primary Helicopter Center.

The original 57-acre site was located at the current site of Mineral Wells High School.

Camp Wolters Main Gate

The original main gate for the camp was located on what is now Highway 180. Later, the National Guard built an armory on the west side of the camp entrance. In 2012, the old armory was sold to Peron Industries, which updated it to modern standards.

The old camp entrance is just a few blocks west of the main entrance to what was Fort Wolters, renamed after the closure of the base to Wolters Industrial Park. The photo below shows the old camp’s main gate as it was in the mid-1930s.

Significant portions of the old camp’s entrance street walls remain. The wall was built by the federal government Works Progress Administration around 1936. A portion of the wall on the east side of the street, nearest the highway, was restored by the Fort Wolters Gate Committee in 2012, and a historical marker was installed nearby by the City of Mineral Wells in 2012.

If sufficient funding can be developed, the gate committee would like to restore the rest of the several hundred foot long eastern wall, which ends near the high school.

An historical marker, provided by the City of Mineral Wells, was installed on the west side of the old Camp Wolters entrance and dedicated in 2012. It is shown in the photo below.

For further information, visit the “Old” Camp Wolters Historical Marker located the flagpole on Camp Wolters Historical Park, just east of the Mineral Wells High School.

Camp Wolters Historical Park

Camp Wolters Historical Park is located just east of the Mineral Wells High School on the site of the original camp headquarters and is centered around the original camp flagpole.  Mounted on the flagpole is the “Old Camp Wolters” Historical Marker. In addition, a new state marker is nearby and shown below.

The park was established in 2012 by the Mineral Wells Independent School District Board of Trustees.

A memorial was added to honor the fourteen recipients of the Medal of Honor who served at Camp Wolters and Fort Wolters. The memorial was built by volunteers. A drawing of the memorial, by noted Mineral Wells artist, Jacqueline Bandy, is shown below, along with a photo of the completed memorial, which was dedicated in 2011.

For more information about Camp Wolters, visit the website, www.FortWolters.com, or view the Pictorial History of Fort Wolters that is available from the University of North Texas Libraries on their website: http://texashistory.unt.edu.