Camp Stark - Stark, New Hampshire
N 44° 37.084 W 071° 23.238
19T E 310597 N 4943296
Quick Description: Site of New Hampshire's only World War II POW camp.
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Date Posted: 9/27/2009 3:57:43 AM
Waymark Code: WM7AE3
In 1944, several hundred German and Austrian prisoners of war were transported by train from Camp Devens (Massachusetts) to the northern reaches of New Hampshire. Upon arrival in the small town of Stark, the prisoners left the train, crossed the Stark Covered Bridge to get to the other side of the Upper Ammonoosuc River, then walked several miles up the road to the camp that would serve as their home until 1946.
Located on the site of an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corps camp that had been built in the 1930s, Camp Stark provided an immediate source of labor for the paper mills in northern New Hampshire that were experiencing a severe manpower shortage because of the war. The prisoners cut wood and performed other duties until the camp closed in 1946.
The general mood between the prisoners and the American soldiers who guarded the camps was fairly friendly - some of the prisoners remained in New Hampshire after the war ended, and there have been several reunions of prisoners and guards at the site of the POW camp, the most recent reunion taking place in 1986.
Today, the camp is little more than a partially overgrown clearing in the woods just south of Route 110 in Stark. A New Hampshire Historic Marker notes the location of the camp. Just behind the marker in the woods you'll notice the remains of some type of rock and concrete structure, and a small overgrown road a few feet east of the marker will lead you into a clearing where the remains of a chimney can be found. Few, if any, other signs of the camp remain today.
For those who are interested, a more detailed account of the camp and its prisoners can be found in Allen V. Koop's 1988 book titled Stark Decency: German Prisoners of War in a New England Village.
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