At its peak the facility trained an estimated twenty thousand recruits every three months.
This United States Army Training Center, located on 22,000 acres southeast of Spartanburg, was established on December 5, 1940. Named after Major General Edward Croft (1874–1938), a Greenville County native and chief of Army Infantry, Camp Croft was one of several training centers established across the nation as the United States began rebuilding its armed forces prior to Pearl Harbor. At its peak the facility trained an estimated twenty thousand recruits every three months. To establish the base, many people were forced to leave their homes and farms to make way for the new installation. The federal government paid landowners up to $281,000 for appropriating their property. Like most military training centers, Camp Croft provided a much needed boost to the local economy, injecting new jobs and higher wages for people across the social strata. This was especially true during its construction, when nearly twelve thousand workers were employed with a weekly payroll of $400,000. After construction was completed in early 1941, the center employed some three hundred civilians during its service. Conversely, Croft put a severe strain on the housing, recreation, and health facilities of the small upstate community. During the last year and a half of the war, Croft also housed nearly one thousand German prisoners of war, the second-largest number in the state. After the training center was deactivated on July 31, 1945, the land was turned over for various civilian purposes, including residential housing and businesses. Another part was dedicated in 1949 as Croft State Park.
Fields, Elizabeth Arnett. “Post World War II Development of Surplus Military Installations in South Carolina.” Master’s thesis, University of South Carolina, 1994.
Moore, John H. “Nazi Troopers in South Carolina, 1944–1946.” South Carolina Historical Magazine 81 (October 1980): 306–15.
Racine, Philip. Spartanburg County: A Pictorial History. Virginia Beach, Va.: Donning, 1980.