ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Historians are telling the story of Rockford’s Camp Grant.
The Rockford Historical Society held their annual banquet and presentation at Midway Village Museum Sunday night.
Rockford was chosen by the federal government for an army infantry training camp as the U.S. entered World War I back in 1917. Tens of thousands of recruits trained there.
It had a large economic and social impact on the city, contributing to its growth. Six thousand African American soldiers arrived at Camp Grant, forever changing the demographics of the community.
Camp Grant was on the land where the Chicago Rockford International Airport is now.
One museum director said that this is a story that has not been told in a significant way.
“Camp Grant is really an important story in Rockford’s history and it has not been told in an extensive way. That’s what we intend to do here at Midway Village,” said Patrick O’Keefe, executive director of Midway Village. “That’s what our business is, telling the Rockford history to our community members, as well as collecting archives.”
The museum is continuing to look for artifacts and stories related to Camp Grant. The exhibit will become part of Midway Village’s permanent exhibit space.