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The history of Bastrop, Texas
Camp Swift, Texas (Bastrop County)

The following History of Camp Swift, Texas is taken from The New Handbook of Texas published by The Texas State Historical Association in 1996.

Camp Swift is bordered by U.S. highways 95 and 290 twenty-eight miles east of Austin and seven miles north of Bastrop in Bastrop County. It was built in 1942 on 55,906 acres and initially had 2,750 buildings designed to accommodate 44,000 troops. The camp was named after Eben Swift,qv a World War Iqv commander and author. During World War IIqv it reached a maximum strength of 90,000 troops and included, at different times, the 95th, 97th, and 102d Infantry divisions, the 10th Mountain Division, the 116th and 120th Tank Destroyer battalions, and the 5th Headquarters, Special Troops, of the Third Army. Swift was the largest army training and transshipment camp in Texas. It also housed 3,865 German prisoners of war.qv After the war much of the site was returned to former owners. The government retained 11,700 acres as a military reservation. That land housed parts of the Texas National Guard,qv a medium-security federal prison, and a University of Texas cancer research center. Environmental-impact studies and development plans for the mining of extensive lignite deposits under Camp Swift began in the 1970s. Opposition by environmentalists and former landowners resulted in decades of litigation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Arnold P. Krammer, "When the Afrika Korps Came to Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 80 (January 1977). Duford W. Skelton and Martha Doty Freeman, A Cultural Resource Inventory and Assessment at Camp Swift, Texas (Texas Archeological Resource Report No. 72, Austin: Texas Archeological Survey, University of Texas at Austin, 1979).

Art Leatherwood

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