• December 27, 2014

Group to dedicate N. Fort Hood historical marker

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Posted: Friday, October 11, 2013 4:30 am

GATESVILLE — The Coryell County Historical Commission on Saturday will dedicate a historical marker to remember the score of Central Texas communities that were forced off the map in 1942 to make way for the creation of a tank destroyer training ground at Camp Hood, which later became Fort Hood.

The dedication is scheduled for 10 a.m. on State Highway 36 across from the gate at North Fort Hood.

Tough little farm and ranch communities such as Tama, Ruth, Turnaround, Ewing and Antelope — built around churches, schools and small businesses — were abandoned when their residents were forced to leave for what old-timers called simply “the camp.”

Sylvia Edwards, graduate program coordinator for the University of Texas school of journalism, is the featured speaker.

The ceremony, open to the public, will include a roll call of the families and communities displaced by the expansion of the military post.

Edwards, a Gatesville native whose mother grew up in the community of Tama, wrote her master’s thesis at Baylor on the acquisition of Coryell County land for the formation of Camp Hood.

In August 1942, the U.S. Army acquired 108,000 acres in Bell and Coryell counties for Camp Hood, home of the tank destroyer tactical and firing center.

The Army needed room to test and train crews for the mobile anti-tank guns mounted on armored half-tracks that were developed to counter German tanks in World War II. The open ranch and farm land of Central Texas was ideal.

In January 1943, another 34,943 acres in Coryell County and 16,000 more acres in Bell County were acquired for what would become North Fort Hood.

Some of the communities were settlements named for nearby creeks or hilltops.

Others had a mill, a gin, a post office, church, school or Masonic lodge. Some were founded in the 1850s.

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