Camp Upton's Construction Is Off to A Discouraging Start Pt. 2

Footnotes to Long Island History

Camp Upton's Construction Is Off to a Discouraging Start

Thomas R. Bayles




The quality of the food served was good, and after the first month sanitary conditions were satisfactory. The service was that found generally in a construction camp and was not satisfactory to a large number of the men.
"The heating plant at the base hospital proved to be inadequate to heat all the buildings at the recent low temperature of 15 below zero on January 1. All the wards were heated satisfactorily, but not sufficient pressure could not be obtained to force steam to the buidlings at the end of the mains.
"The fire department was in charge of a retired captain of the New York City fire department. Working with him was a force which distributed water buckets, extinguishers, etc, and made inspections to see that no unusually dangerous fire conditions occurred. A light truck equipped with hand extinguishers was held in readiness to answer any fire alarms, but no fires except a few brush fires occurred.
"The division commander assumed command August 15. The first troops arrived September 10, with barracks  ready for 10,860. By November 1, barracks completed to house 37,000 men were in readiness.
"As it was necessary to house all the construction men within the camp, and as it was near New York city, it quickly became infested with a large number of crooks and men of the underworld. To handle the conditions that resulted it was necessary to employ a large number of detectives and men with police experience. At first, the men arrested were taken before the local authorities, but this did not prove satisfactory, and a U.S. Dist. Court was established at the camp. During the first nine weeks after the court was established 1,020 cases were tried with fines of $2,700 imposed, and jail sentences of 900 days, with 309 men held for the grand jury. In addition, about 1,000 men were escorted from the camp, as they could not account for their presence there or had remained after being discharged."
(to be continued) 

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