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Fort Crook

Although plans were drawn for the 1888 establishment of Fort Crook (the predecessor of Offutt Air Base at Bellevue, Nebraska), no meaningful construction commenced until 1894. Slow as it was, though, the new post was a source of pride for Omaha, as excitedly reported in the Omaha Bee, June 22, 1896:

"New Fort Crook is conceded to be the finest and most conveniently arranged post in the United States Army. The trees, which are young and now afford to shade and serve only slightly to relieve the monotony of the grounds, under fostering care will grow rapidly. With these as a background for the fine buildings the post will become one of the most beautiful spots in the entire country.

"On the western side of the parade ground and separated from it only by a stretch of lawn and a macadam driveway is the row of line officers' quarters, twelve buildings in all, and in the center of this row is to be the commandant's quarters. Ten of these buildings are exact duplicates and are intended for married officers. The other two are designed for the bachelors of the post. The married officers' quarters are double buildings. There are mantles in the parlors, sitting rooms, and in the bedrooms upstairs, bath rooms with hot and cold water, steam heat in all of them, and the entire finish of the rooms on the first floor is in hard wood.

"The buildings for the bachelors differ only in the fact there are more sleeping rooms in the buildings in proportion to the others. There is a common parlor and sitting room, billiard room and dining room, and each officer has a sleeping apartment and a study room for his individual use.

"On the opposite side of the parade ground is the large building for the accommodation of the privates. In the center is the large dining room in which the entire regiment will sit down to its meals at the same time. In the wings to the north and south are the sleeping rooms for the privates, cots for a company being placed in each room, with small rooms off of these for the noncommissioned officers. The quarters are light and airy, with the best of ventilation, and in the bath rooms attached are ample facilities for the men to keep themselves clean. The appointments [fixtures] in these bath rooms are of the finest porcelain-lined tubs being used and the best of plumbing throughout. Probably nowhere in the world can be found such elegant quarters for the private soldier."

(March 1998)



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