Sunday, June 2, 2013

Camp Michaux

Memorial Day morning I visited a little-known part of American history. Camp Michaux, just off Route 233 south of Pine Grove Furnace State Park, was once a Civilian Conservation Corp site, a church camping area, and for thirty months in World War II a center for the interrogation of German and Japanese prisoners of war. Pine Grove, as the camp was called, was top secret, and soldiers stationed there were instructed to say they were from the nearby Carlisle Barracks. Carlisle is the location of the Army War College, and one can imagine there were a lot of communications back and forth among Carlisle, Pine Grove, and Washington regarding the information 'extracted' from the prisoners.

I was alone that morning as I walked the crumbling asphalt road into the camp. Most of the buildings are nothing but foundations, and nature is reclaiming the land.

Did the CCC, the church group, or the US Army build this fountain? And what was it used for?

I heard rushing water to my left, so I walked off the asphalt down a short trail to a pond with a crumbing dam and an active spillway. Again, I don't know who built it, or when, but the water bouncing over stone took some of the solemnity from the morning's hike. 

I walked back to the car, thinking about the many men and women who served our country in peace, and, sadly, war. Seventy years before an Army truck was noisily pulling into the camp on the road I was walking on. This morning the ruins of the camp heard only the songs of the birds, the rush of the water, and the echo of my footsteps.

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A Taste For The Woods: Camp Michaux

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Camp Michaux