Skip to main content

Camp Howze Museum

Howze and North Texas

Little evidence of the economic powerhouse that was Camp Howze is left standing. The barracks and facilities that housed thousands of soldiers over the course of World War II have been reduced to concrete pylons that modern day resident ranchers must navigate through when feeding their cattle. However, the whirlwind phenomenon of Camp Howze brought incredible migration to Gainesville and the North Texas area due to the need for workers and through the military itself. Still reeling from the Great Depression, the farming towns of North Texas were glad to take part in the prosperity that mobilization efforts had to offer.  Overall,  Camp Howze allowed Gainesville and other rural North Texas cities to grow into the spaces we know today. 

Camp Howze directly contributed to the economic growth of Gainesville and surrounding cities in three major ways. First, the camp's construction was a massive undertaking. Cities like Saint Jo,  just west of Gainesville in Montague County, even advertised for workers to move in. Second, as the camp became operational, civilians were an important workforce for both the training and POW camps. Third, the soldiers at Camp Howze were consumers of whatever Gainesville and other cities had to offer. Businesses capitalized on the influx of soldiers. However, massive growth does not come without problems. Gainesville experienced a housing crisis that extended into cities like Denton. Newspapers wrote articles pleading with locals to open their homes, citing their patriotic duty to the war effort. 

Overall, Camp Howze is an important milestone in North Texas history. The construction and operation catapulted Gainesville and other North Texas towns out of the Great Depression. It turned sleepy farming towns into bustling cities. At the conclusion of World War II, Camp Howze was decommissioned. Parts of the camp were allocated to veteran housing projects - even one on the University of North Texas campus.