Moormann - genealogy - Military Camp Hale

Camp Hale, Colorado

Leadville Ranger District

2015 North Poplar - Leadville, CO - 80461
USDA Forest Service: Rocky Mountain Region: Pike, San Isabel NF and Cimarron, Comanche NG


The Tenth Mountain Division, a military troop based at Camp Hale near    Tennessee Pass, served World War II. "This famed mountain division, which served heroically in Italy in 1945 is commemorated with a war memorial on Tennessee Pass at the entrance to Ski Cooper, as are men of the Ninety-ninth Infantry Battalion who ere stationed also at Camp Hale" (Simons 114-5).

Leadville officially received word on March 31, 1942 that the United States Army would be building a multimillion dollar training camp approximately seven miles north of Tennessee Pass at Camp hale, which as then called Pando. "Construction of the camp, designed to house over fifteen thousand troops and support personnel, began the following month. The influx of construction workers in 1942 is said to have doubled the population of Leadville" (Blair 234).

The purpose of the new camp was to train the recently organized Tenth Mountain Division in the necessities of mountain and winter warfare. A volatile part of the war efforts, since few Americans elicited mountaineering skills in the 1940s.

"The camp was dedicated on June 14, 1942 and named after General Irving Hale, a Denver graduate of West Point. Construction was completed in November of 1942, and occupied by "Christmas 1942The Tenth Mountain Division spent the greater part of three winters in the region, then in July of 1944 moved to Camp Swift in Texas for final preparation. They sailed for Italy early in 1945. Their combat record, the casualties they suffered, their pride and devotion to duty and to one another is a story that all America can take pride in" (Blair 235-60).


Blair, Edward, Leadville: Colorados magic City. Boulder: Pruett Publishing Co., 1980. Pp. 234-238.

Simmons, Virginia McConnell. The Upper "Arkansas, A Mountain River Valley. Boulder: Pruett Publishing Co., 1990.pp. `114-115.


"The Leadville Story, 1860-1960, Second Edition" 
by Rene L. Coquoz

Big Snow - Army Considers High Altitude Camp (pages 27-29)

1936 was the year of the big snowfall. It started snowing in January and continued until the latter part of March.  In many places on the highways, there were but one-way lanes.  Some of the business houses in the city went back to horses and sleighs for delivery purposes., while many discontinued delivery services until Spring.  Every piece of equipment of the city, county, and the state was used on a 24 hour basis.  There were some roads in the county that were impossible to keep open.  

In 1938, Hitler was preparing to take the world over and war drums were beginning to be heard the world over.  In 1940, the city council inaugurated the snow removal program from Harrison Avenue.  The city administration at the time consisted of John Cortellini, Mayor; A.J. Laing, City Attorney; Mrs. Mary Keating, City Treasurer; Bert Maich, Robert Ball, George Burke, Francis Slavin, Fred Joyce, and Rene Coquoz, Aldermen. [note: and author of this article].

December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan and America declared war on Germany and Japan.  On the following June, word was received hat three sites were being considered by the Army for high altitude training for the war in progress.  The Army announced that the three sites which were under consideration were Yellowstone, WY - Washington State, Pando, Colorado.  Newspapers throughout the country carried the reports and once again Leadville was in the limelight.

Whatever state was to be chosen, the Army estimated that from 15,000 to 25,000 men would receive their training in the camp.  The cost of constructing the camp would be more than $5,000,000 and would require 5,000 men to build the proposed training camp.

On February 9, 1942, Lake County, as well as the rest of the country, was put on daylight savings time.  Effective at 3 a.m. on the morning of the 9th, all clocks were set back one hour.  Minerals were in demand and there were reports that the government was considering a drainage tunnel in Lake County.   There had been a number of false reports that Pando, Colorado was selected as the training camp, but it was not until March 28 that official word was received by the Herald Democrat.  Soon thereafter the wheels were put into motion for construction and hundreds of workers began to arrive in the city.  Every house, hotel, camp ground and available lodging  was taken and hundreds slept in tents and trailers, some even in their cars.  The building of Camp Hale was in some way similar to the gold rush of 1878.  It was impossible to keep enough milk and bread on hand and often the stores were out of these items by noon on the same day delivered.  With rationing in progress and the requiring of stamps, many of the other items of daily use were impossible to purchase.  By midsummer the population of Lake County and Leadville reached a peak of nearly 15,000 persons.  The housing project north of the city was constructed and was used mostly for the need of local workers and officers of Camp Hale.  


For a very interesting story read about "Tons of Silver" by clicking HERE.

Last modified: Friday, 29-Oct-2004 11:55:43 MDT

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