Saturday, May 5, 2012

World War II POW Camp in Ohio

Leo and I decided to drive up to Port Clinton, Ohio a few weeks ago, which is about an hour or so away from Toledo. The area is most famous for Cedar Point, the huge amusement park, but we wanted to check out the small towns along the way and go for a drive in the country.

While Port Clinton was quaint and cute (and the jumping off point for Put-in-Bay, an archipelego in the Great Lakes) what most struck me was our stop along the way to Camp Perry. Nowadays, Camp Perry is most known for having the world's largest Civilian Marksmenship Competition, where people come to competition shoot but back in the day it was a functioning military installation.

It still is to some extent but not much. Leo's had to train there a few times but it's pretty dead.

However, the camp does house hundreds of little white cabins all set in rows upon rows upon rows.

I learned they were housing for German and Italian POW's during World War II.

I thought I was pretty good at history but I seriously never knew there were POW camps here in the US (besides the Japanese camps). It makes sense but somehow I never put two and two together.

Most are completely uninhabitable but it was so eerie looking at them, knowing you were staring at a real pice of history. They are also completely creepy and when I managed enough courage to look into one, I saw a burned out old mattress and bed frame, empty beer cans and a lot of trash.

Not sure if they are now a bum camp or a teenage get-away.

When I mentioned it to a guy a t work, he told me that on his grandfather's farm there used to be several POW's working. They were allowed to work there because so many American men were gone. They obviously weren't going anywhere, since the majority wouldn't have spoken English (although this area was settled by Germans so I'm sure the Germand could have gotten by somehow) and didn't have any money. Not to mention, working in a field in Ohio is better than getting your head shot off in Russia. Just barely.