March 29, 2006
APRIL 22: HISTORIC MILITARY HOUSE IN WEST CHARLOTTE REOPENS AS MUSEUM
Charlotte, NC - The historic James C. Dowd House, 2216 Monument Street, reopens after extensive renovations with a ceremony on April 22, 2006 at 10 a.m. The Dowd House is the most important remaining structure of Camp Greene, a World War I training camp in West Charlotte, and has just undergone a $305,000 renovation.
The U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, which spearheaded the American Army’s drive to Baghdad, and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, which captured Saddam Hussein, were both organized nearly a century ago at this camp in Charlotte. A monument a block away at Wilkinson Boulevard and Monument Street commemorates the founding of these infantry units during World War I.
The ceremony will feature the 42 piece military band from the 3rd Infantry Division. Representatives of the 3rd and 4th Infantry will speak at the ceremony, as well as Parks Helms, Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Valerie Woodard, District 3 Commissioner, and William Chandler, Park and Recreation Commissioner. The ceremony will conclude with tours of the home/museum and a neighborhood festival on the grounds.
Built in 1878 as a farm house, the home is now a designated historic landmark owned by the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department. In 1917, it became the first administrative headquarters for Camp Greene, named for Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene. The camp was built on a 6,000-acre site chosen by General Leonard Wood. The federal government spent $6,000,000 to develop the camp. During World War I, 60,000 Army troops were stationed here in tents and hastily-built wooden buildings. The population of Charlotte then was only 40,000.
Soldiers who trained at Camp Greene played a key role in the American advance in Europe in World War I, staffing the 3rd, 4th and 41st Infantry Divisions. The camp officially closed June 30, 1919 - eight days after Germany signed the armistice to end the way. The neighborhood that later grew here is still known as “Camp Greene.” Born in this historic house before WWI, were William Carey Dowd, longtime owner of the Charlotte News, and Willis Frank Dowd, who started Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company.