Camp MacArthur

By: Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 28, 2020

Camp MacArthur, a World War I training camp named for Gen. Arthur MacArthur on July 18, 1917, was on the northwestern side of Waco. Construction began on July 20, 1917, and in September of that year 18,000 troops arrived from Michigan and Wisconsin. The campsite proper covered 1,377 acres, although the entire tract of land reserved for the camp's use encompassed 10,699 acres. Facilities at the camp included a base hospital, administrative offices, and a tent camp, supplemented by 1,284 buildings. Troop capacity was 45,074, although the average strength of the force stationed at MacArthur during any given month did not exceed 28,000 troops. Construction costs were estimated at $5 million. The camp served as an infantry replacement and training camp, an officers' training school, and a demobilization facility. Among the units trained at the facility were the Thirty-second or Red Arrow Division, which saw combat in France in 1918. The camp was ordered salvaged on January 3, 1919, and materials from it were to be used in the construction of United States-Mexican border stations. The camp was officially closed on March 7, 1919, and the grounds became part of the city of Waco. A historical marker was placed at the former site of the camp headquarters in 1966.

Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1931–49; facsimile, Washington: United States Army, 1988). Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin.

Time Periods:
  • Progressive Era

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, “Camp MacArthur,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 28, 2020