Camp Thomas A. Scott - Fort Wayne, Indiana
Posted by: Rupert2
N 41° 03.275 W 085° 05.408
16T E 660494 N 4546573
Quick Description: The front gate to Camp Thomas A Scott is located Moeller Road between Hessen Cassel Road and Meyer Road. This facility is NOT open YET to the public . The City holds occaisional open houses for the community.
Location: Indiana, United States
Date Posted: 10/5/2007 3:50:16 PM
Waymark Code: WM2B13
Today the camp has been converted into a stormwater treatment wetland by the City of Fort Wayne. The only reminants of the camp remaining are the old telegraph poles along the north fenceline of the property. The site will most likely be opened up to the pubilc when on-site staff can be funded, a condition of the EPA permit.
Camp Thomas A. Scott was originally a training center for the Army's Railroad Operating Battalions. My grandfather who lives just a few miles away trained here before becomming part of the SOXO unit deployed to the Eurpoean theater during WWII.
In 1943 the Camp was converted into a POW camp for some 600 Germans taken from the North Africa campaign.
Excepts from: "World War II camp had impact on city"
By MICHAEL HAWFIELD
from the archives of The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne), 1990
"Here stood Camp Thomas A. Scott, originally a training center for the Army's Railroad Operating Battalions. But at the end of the war, it was the detention center for more than 600 German prisoners of war, mostly from Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's famed Afrika Korps."
"The training facility closed in mid-1944, when the last battalion was shipped overseas. By September, ominous machine-gun towers and barbed-wire fencing appeared along Moeller Road and Wayne Trace. Soon after, more than 600 prisoners arrived to live in the camp's frame and tar paper houses. Prisoners of war had been housed in the county for some time, having been transported from the large camp in Defiance, Ohio. But this was the first time prisoners were actually billeted in Fort Wayne."
"Still, the appearance of the prisoner-of-war camp - a German one - rankled many. The camp's commander, Capt. Frank Bodenhorn, himself the descendant of German immigrants, was a Fort Wayne man. Soon after the camp opened, he stated in area newspapers that he understood that the prisoners were "not welcome visitors in our midst," but that they were "a byproduct of war that can be used to advantage."
Sure enough, these proud veterans of Rommel's corps performed a variety of tasks around town, but never were they abused or degraded. They worked in fields harvesting crops and in local industries. One Fort Wayne resident remembers POWs being used to set pins in the Lions Club Bowling alley on Calhoun Street, and they were a frequent sight shoveling snow on Fort Wayne streets.
But they also were paid the competitive rate that other workers were paid; their earnings were put into savings accounts, to be withdrawn at the end of the war. With the money they were able to keep - about 80 cents an hour - they could buy things in their own canteen. Unauthorized local women visiting the camp after hours seems to have been an occasional problem.
The camp had its own library and game room. Movies were shown four nights a week, and the prisoners could listen to WOWO at night on their private radios. The pingpong tables left behind by the Railroad Battalions were a hit, but the pool tables mystified the Germans.
Not everyone in Fort Wayne was pleased with these comfortable arrangements. This was the time of the Battle of the Bulge, and the war continued in the air and at sea at a deadly pace.
In newspapers, letters to the editor complained bitterly of the good treatment given to the German prisoners. Especially irksome was the daily allotment of two packs of cigarettes to prisoners, while rationing prevented locals from buying more than one pack.
Among the prisoners, there was little discontent. One escape attempt ended in a quick capture, and a riot that broke out ended in the 100 or so culprits being shipped out to Texas. Only one man committed suicide - for reasons unknown.
The prison camp guards were regular servicemen assigned to the task. After a guard in Texas, newly returned from the Battle of the Bulge, went berserk and killed a number of prisoners, psychiatric tests started being given to guards regularly. A number of Fort Wayne guards were removed from duty. Local reactions to the prisoners were varied and curious.
One prominent Fort Wayne insurance executive, Ed Rice, remembers as a 12- or 13-year-old going with his friends out to the camp and shouting insults at the prisoners - the thing to do in wartime, the youngsters thought - and then taking the prisoners' nickels to the local store, buying them candy and pop, and handing it through the barbed-wire fence to the prisoners.
Another Fort Wayne executive remembers riding with the sheriff on his nightly rounds only to find a suspicious car parked next to a machine-gun tower at the camp. Upon investigation, the sheriff was embarrassed to find the guard and a local woman in a compromising position. After much begging not to be turned in to his commander, the sheriff sternly admonished the woman to go home and the soldier to get back to his duty.
Six months after the surrender of Germany, Camp Scott was closed, on Nov. 16, 1945. The prisoners were returned to Germany, and the camp was considered as a prospective site for postwar housing for returning GIs, at a time when housing was scarce."
Please post an origional photo of the site. New features not show in the other find logs are encouraged. Feel free to add any information not provided in the waymark listing. If you or your family has any personal knowledge of the site, please feel free to share.