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.

5 comments:

  1. Especially poignant after reading "The Soldier's Wife"!(I'm about 70% through, according to my Kindle.) That's cool that you got to see it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Do you like the book? For me it started a little slow but I got really into it. It made alot of historical things more real.

    BTW, I think you're going to like Pinterest!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I also didn't realize this (Italian & German POWs) -- Very interesting!

    There is quite a bit that I learn each time I return to the States to visit family. I often try to visit some particular place where I've never been before and/or learn something new about a place I'm visiting. For example, I just recently learned on a visit to Portland, Oregon that it could have been named Boston instead in a coin toss... Everything in each visit seems to be more important for some reason, now that I live abroad. Do you often get to visit where you are from originally?

    ReplyDelete
  4. A coin toss? That's funny! Seems like alot of big decisions get settled in unconventional ways.

    I actually grew up about 45 minutes north of here in Ann Arbor, Michigan which is a big college town (Univ of Michigan). But being a Michigander, I was always taught to hate and fear Ohions! Lol. Most of that is to do with stupid football rivalries. But I really dislike this area which is why I moved to Boston (Mass not Oregon) right after college. I was very unhappy that we had to come back here but at least it's only for 1 or 2 more years. I wish I had made it up to Portland and Seattle when we were on the West Coast, but I mostly went down to Mexico and Central America.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Kristin, I can use one of these photos for my site? (I have a document of an Italian prisoner who was there) thanks
    My site www.usaarmy1944.com
    My email anto90nitro@yahoo.it to which you can respond!

    With greetings from 'Italy

    ReplyDelete