History program on Camp McCoy slated for May 11

The Benno and Barbara Scholze Farm in New Lyme Township, pictured here sometime in the 1930s, was just one of hundreds of Monroe County farms acquired by Camp McCoy during its 1942 expansion.

Contributed by the Monroe County Local History Room

In a diary entry dated Feb. 20, 1942, George Barry of La Fayette Township, writes, “Got a big surprise today.  A US Marshal was here and served notice on my wife and 11-year-old daughter [that we] have to be out of here by March 10—eighteen days hence!”

On Thursday, May 11, at 7 p.m., Ryan Howell, Garrison Archaeologist and Historian at Fort McCoy, will present the program “Army Maneuvers:  The 1942 Expansion of Camp McCoy and Eminent Domain Farm Removals” at the Monroe County Local History Room & Museum in Sparta. 

The program will cover the history of the 1942 expansion of what was then Camp McCoy from the pre-World War II 9,000 acres of “Old South Post” to the modern installation of 60,000 acres. This 1942 51,000-acre base expansion removed a large number of Monroe County farm families from rural communities via eminent domain.  

Farm owners were compensated financially but were not given an option to negotiate on price or resist removal.  

Period historical documents associated with the farm removals will be on display, and the results of historical and archaeological studies conducted by Fort McCoy on the demolished farmsteads since the 1990s will be discussed and presented as well.

The Monroe County Local History Room & Museum is located at 200 W. Main St., Sparta. This program is jointly presented by the Monroe County Local History Room & Museum and Monroe County Historical Society.  

A $1 admission donation is appreciated to help defray programming costs.  

For more information, visit Facebook.com/MCLHR or call (608) 269-8680.

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