Archaeology in Houston? Uncovering Memorial Park’s History


October 30, 2014
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Did you know that the US Army set up camp on the banks of Buffalo Bayou — where Houston’s beloved Memorial Park is today?

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Yes, Camp Logan was built as an emergency training center in World War I built in 1917 with the capacity to house 44,899 troops at a time.

“As you walk or run through Memorial Park now, it’s hard to imagine a huge sprawling military base on its grounds, but historic photographs of the camp depict row after row of tens on raised wooden platforms along graded streets near mess halls and latrines – and many of those foundation features are still visible in the wooded areas of the park,” comments historian and archaeologist Louis Aulbach.

The streets in Camp Logan were unpaved or surfaced with oyster shell or cinders. A 600-ton deep water well south of Washington Avenue serviced the camp, producing over 1 million gallons of water per day.

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“The thing that surprises us is how little you will hear or read about Camp Logan in any of the books dedicated to Houston’s history,” says Linda Gorski of Houston Archeological Society, “Most of the residents of River Oaks have no idea that Camp Logan extended across Buffalo Bayou and that horses and men paraded on grounds that are now their front yards.”

Little was recorded about Camp Logan so historians and archaeologists Louis Aulbach and Linda Gorski have been piecing the history back together from archaeology work conducted in Memorial Park, postcards from soldiers and maps.

They will present this unique story of Houston history at the Houston Museum of Natural Science on November 4 at 6:30 p.m. This lecture is sponsored by the Houston Archeological Society. Following the lecture Aulbach and Gorski will sign copies of their newly published book “Camp Logan: Houston, Texas 1917-1919.”

This presentation will be a tribute to the soldiers who trained at Camp Logan—including nine Medal of Honor winners and seventy one African American soldiers who won the French Croix de Guerre. Visit www.hmns.org/lectures for more information. Advance tickets are available online and at 713.639.4629.

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Historians Linda Gorski and Louis Aulbach on Buffalo Bayou near Memorial Park.

Authored By Amy P Potts

Amy is the Director of Adult Education at HMNS.


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