The old Camp Sheridan, active during WW-I, was located in North Montgomery on land that became the Kilby Prison reservation shortly after the war ended. The entire camp covered many square miles. For a variety of reasons, this war (which was going on long before the United States got into it) was especially hard on Alabama. Thus Alabama’s then powerful congressional delegation was able to secure for their state three major military installations built to support the war. One was Camp McClellan near Anniston, and two were built near Montgomery. Taylor Field, spoken of previously, was a delight for Montgomery’s high society, while Camp Sheridan, depicted above, with its 25,000 infantry troops, was a joy for local merchants. I cannot help but take note of the cruel irony forced on our state by the Yankee congressmen who named the facilities. Soon after the war ended, however, Alabama got even by making the ground a state prison.
Camp Sheridan was the training encampment for Ohio’s famous “Buckeye Division”, and while here the unit suffered greatly from the flu epidemic of 1917. Then, oversees during the war, it suffered 5,000 battle casualties. In 1969, Alabama Gov Albert Brewer dedicated a memorial flagpole on the Capitol grounds to the 20,000 returning members of the Ohio Division who paraded through downtown Montgomery in April of 1918 upon their return from Europe.
Today, this now quiet divided boulevard in Boylston seems to be the entrance drive that led into Camp Sheridan. In its median are monuments, historic markers, a cannon and a howitzer, all standing in silent tribute to that bygone era. Especially poignant is the memorial placed here in 1931 by veterans of the Buckeye Division in recognition of the warm treatment the unit received in Montgomery during WW I. A study of plat maps of nearby Chisolm reveals the path of the streetcar line that terminated near this point to facilitate the soldiers downtown spending.