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Camp Howze Museum


After four years of training and housing thousands of soldiers Camp Howze, began deconstruction on July 20th 1946. A majority of all buildings and equipment was offered as surplus. First sold to veterans and then to the general public, the demand was high. 

 Most of the surplus buildings went to veteran's housing and to the universities. With 77 buildings dedicated to veterans housing. The schools that received this surplus include Southern Methodist University, North Texas State Teachers College (now University of North Texas), and community colleges throughout the area. Some barracks remained in Gainesville to house student veterans attending school at NTSU in Denton. At SMU, surplus from Howze was used to make a new student union, as well as add buildings for the overflowing campus. Chapels were also apart of the surplus. One stayed in Gainesville, another in Carollton, and the last in Dallas. Of the other surplus that includes typewriters to pipes, we see it everywhere throughout the DFW area, from Skyline Airport to water lines in Dallas. 

Not just surplus was apart of the deconstruction. Of course deconstructing the buildings was an important part of this transition, but so was what happened to the land of Camp Howze. What was left of the land after the impact of the training was remaining ordanance, the Gainesville airport, the few permanent buildings, a water tower, and the cement blocks from the buildings that went to surplus. Camp Howze served as an infantry and artillery training camp, that housed and trained many units. This required many ranges for firing not just rifles but also artillery rounds and shells. Upon deconstrution of the camp there was unexploded ordanance left in the ground. Immediately upon closure of the camp, US Army engineers inspected the land to ensure that there was no danger, so the farmers land would be returned. There was remaining unexploded ordanance that farmers have found on their property in the decades following the camp closure. Since 1946, the US Army Corps of Engineers have made multiple visits to clear the land from the remaining ordanance.

There have continuously been new findings. What is left at Camp Howze today is the now Gainesville airport, hospital, other buildings and the water tower are still on the land today as they were permanent structures. Throughout the area of former Camp Howze there are hundreds of cement blocks and buildings from the camp that remain today. These structures serve as markers of what once was Camp Howze, and all the surplus throughout the area marks Camp Howze's impact outside of the US Army.

Surplus in Schools

One of the major purchasers of Camp Howze's building surplus was the universities, mainly Southern Methodist University and North Texas State Teachers College. One hundred and five colleges and universities from four states submitted applicatios to receive surplus from 26 military camps. Howze was included on this list. Not all received surplus but it shows that the demand was high for military camps like Howze. The universities that did recieve surplus like SMU and NTSC used if for veteran's housing or to aid in their overcrowded campuses. SMU used the surplus to create a student union that would support their large numbers. Surplus was also used to house student veterans attending NTSC in Denton but also in Gainesville allowing veterans to commute.

SMU and NTSU received the most buildings out of all the schools but a list of other academic institutions includes, Henderson County Junior College , Valley View ISD, and Denison. These schools received camp surplus to add to their existing buildings. For example Denison school district used camp surplus to open a cafeteria from materila that once was a POW barracks.

Surplus in Chapels

Surplus went not just to Gainesville but all over the Dallas Fort Worth area. Calvary Baptist Church in Gainseville, which is still active today, contains barracks wood from Camp Howze that was used to build a room. . The other Churchs that had buildings that contained camp surplus are not known to be active currently. Bible Prespyterian Church was another church in Gainesville, but this church received an entire chapel from Camp Howze and was dedicated July 25, 1947. Another church that received the camp's surplus was Carollton's First Baptist Church, however, the building that contained the surplus is no longer in use. Camp surplus went to the building of their educational buildings. A church in Dallas called Honey Springs Methodist Church had its opening April 1947 which contained an entire chapel from Camp Howze. First Baptist Church of Whitesboro that is active today, is repurposing a camp building for their services. On this page is an image of what Calvary Baptist Church in Gainesville looks like today, as well as a newspaper article on Carrollton First Baptist Church's opening of their educational buildings.

Veteran Housing

Upon decommission, Camp Howze’s materials were repurposed in projects throughout North Texas. Specifically, wood from the barracks and even full buildings were recycled and used in veteran housing projects in Denton as well as other cities in the area. The University of North Texas - North Texas State Teachers College at the time - reused three Camp Howze buildings in the construction of a dormitory building across from Chilton Hall. These dorms were slated to be used by 244 single veteran students making use of their GI benefits.

Camp Howze's many buildings were put up for auction. These would be used for projects across North Texas. Not only was there student veteran's housing in Denton for those attending NTSC, but also in Gainesville for those veterans attending the college. Veteran's Housing was also offered for those veterans attending SMU to help ease the overflow of not just student veterans but also the entire campus' student population. Surplus was not just purchased from Camp Howze but from military camps throughout Texas to support the high demand for veteran's housing.