Camp Hulen

Camp Hulen, formerly known as Camp Palacios, was on Turtle and Tres Palacios bays just west of Palacios in southwestern Matagorda County. It reached its peak use as a United States Army training center during World War II. It was originally established as a summer training camp for the Thirty-sixth Infantry Division of the Texas National Guard after the Palacios Campsite Association donated the land to the state in 1926. The association had in mind the economic benefits a military training center would bring Palacios. Some 6,500 men came to the first training session in the summer of 1926. Beginning in July 1926 Camp Palacios had a newspaper, the Camp Palacios T-Arrow Daily, published by the Palacios Beacon; its name was derived from the symbols for the two states that largely made up the Thirty-sixth Division: T for Texas and an arrowhead for Oklahoma. In 1930 the camp, where more than $500,000 was spent on housing for the division, was renamed Camp Hulen, after John Augustus Hulen. By 1934 some 1,886 concrete tent floors had been laid for the trainees. Because the surrounding bays provided a safe range for target practice, in 1940 the United States War Department began to use the base for antiaircraft training for national guard units from across the country (the Thirty-sixth Division had moved to Camp Bowie in Brown County). In January 1941 the first draftees arrived, and the following month saw the first printed issue of the weekly Camp Hulen Searchlight, which had begun earlier as a simple mimeographed sheet. The paper ran until 1945; a few 1943 copies are housed at the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin.

Civil contractors and the Work Projects Administration constructed additions to the camp, which eventually included some 400 semipermanent buildings and 2,825 floored, framed, and screened tents, as well as a tent theater, fire station, bakery, weather station, library, dental clinic, post office, and 500-bed hospital. At its height the installation's troop capacity was 14,560. Associated with Camp Hulen were the Indianola Battalion Camp, the Wells Point rifle range and antiaircraft firing range, the Olivia projectile area, and the Civilian War Housing Project. Camp Hulen proper encompassed some 1,460 acres and adjoined the army air base to the north, which, despite the damage done the area by a September hurricane, saw construction begin in October 1942.

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Rachel Jenkins | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Camp Hulen is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Camp Hulen is classified as a Town


Latitude: 28.70665750
Longitude: -96.24330100

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated