Camp Fremont

Camp Fremont was a World War I-era military base located near Palo Alto, California. Construction started in July, 1917 and the post closed in September, 1919.


Camp Fremont was constructed on vacant land in and around the area of Palo Alto and Menlo Park.[1][2]


Camp Fremont consisted of slightly more than 7,200 acres (29 km2) and contained approximately 1,125 structures, mostly temporary buildings constructed of wood.[3]

Creation of post

During preparation for possible entry into World War I, the U.S. Army determined a need existed for a post on the west coast of the United States to train National Guard units for combat.

Construction started on July 24, 1917, and the new installation was named in honor of Major General John C. Fremont, an early hero of California.[4][5][6][7][8]

Use during World War I

Camp Fremont served as a training site for the National Guard's 41st Infantry Division, which included soldiers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming. The 41st Division was later moved to Camp Greene, where it completed its training before departing for fighting in France.[9][10][11][12]

The 8th Infantry Division then occupied Camp Fremont. Slated for combat in France, the 8th Division was later assigned the mission of fighting in Russia during the Siberian Intervention.[13][14][15]

Camp Fremont was also home to the 332nd Auxiliary Remount Depot, part of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps. The depot was authorized 5,000 animals, and averaged about 2,300. Remount depots were organized to procure, train and condition horses and mules, and then dispatch them to the units that required them.[16]

Association with prominent individuals

Post closing

After the end of World War I combat, there was no longer a use for Camp Fremont, and the Army ordered the post closed. The buildings were sold at auction, and the camp was abandoned in January, 1920.[23][24]


Several new businesses were begun in Menlo Park and Palo Alto to provide goods and services to soldiers at Camp Fremont, many of which stayed in existence after the post closed. Menlo Park received its first paved streets and its first municipal water and gas services during World War I, both of which were constructed by the 8th Division engineers.[25]

Present day

MacArthur Park Restaurant a former YWCA "Hostess House" designed by Julia Morgan in 1918.

The post hospital on Willow Road in Menlo Park later became the site of a Veterans Administration hospital. It is now also the location of Stanford University's Arbor Free Clinic.[26]

Two popular restaurants, MacArthur Park (which once housed Palo Alto's community center) and the Oasis Beer Garden are both located in former Camp Fremont buildings.[27][28]


  1. Annual Report of the Secretary of War, published by U.S. War Department, 1920, Volume 2, page 1644
  2. Annual Report of the University President, published by Stanford University, 1918, page 23
  3. The New International Year Book, 1918, page 718
  4. Newspaper article, Work Progressing On Camp Fremont, Berkeley Daily Gazette, July 27, 1917
  5. Newspaper article, Camp Fremont, Palo Alto, Will Be Completed, Deseret News, August 25, 1917
  6. Newspaper article, Fremont's Telephone System Completed, San Jose Evening News, November 10, 1917
  7. Newspaper article, Angelino Builds Army Cantonment, Los Angeles Times, November 11, 1917
  8. Compiled Monthly Bulletins, California State Board of Health, 1917, page 158
  9. Newspaper article, Off to Camp Fremont, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1918
  10. The US Army in World War I - Orders of Battle, Richard A. Rinaldi, 2004, page 216
  11. The Catholic Encyclopedia, 1922, Volume 17, page 530
  12. The Official History of the Washington National Guard, published by the Washington National Guard, 1961, page 525
  13. Newspaper article, History Of The Eighth Division, Ellensburg (Washington) Daily Record, December 31, 1919
  14. Harper's Pictorial Library of the World War, 1920, Volume 5, page 368
  15. America's Part in the World War, by Richard Joseph Beamish and Francis Andrew March, 1919, page 560
  16. The Army Veterinary Service During the Great War
  17. Anne Cipriano Venzon, The United States in the First World War: An Encyclopedia, 2013, page 263
  18. Official U.S. Army Directory, published by U.S. Army Adjutant General, 1918, page 96
  19. New Mexico World War I Records, 1917-1919, entry for James Edward Wharton, retrieved March 4, 2014
  20. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, compiled by J.T. White, Volume 46, 1963, page 239
  21. Historical Roster, 12th Infantry Regiment, Sarge's Home Page web site, by Bruce Holzhauer, accessed March 10, 2011
  22. Biography, Philip Johnston, American National Biography Online (February 2000), Published by Oxford University Press, accessed March 10, 2011
  23. Newspaper article, Fremont to Close Officially Jan. 31, San Jose Evening News, January 3, 1919
  24. Historic Spots in California, by Mildred Brooke Hoover, et al., revised by Douglas E. Kyle, 1990, page 382
  25. Palo Alto Online article, The Peninsula Mobilizes for War, by Don Kazak, undated
  26. Early History page, Menlo Park History web site, undated
  27. Palo Alto Online article, The Peninsula Mobilizes for War, by Don Kazak, undated
  28. California Office of Historic Preservation page, Hostess House

External links

Coordinates: 37°27′13″N 122°10′58″W / 37.45361°N 122.18278°W / 37.45361; -122.18278

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