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The Beginnings of Volk Field

Fine large map of the area around Camp Douglas, Wisconsin, prepared by the US Army Corps of Topographial Engineers in 1902.

The map was prepared in connection with the creation of Volk Field Air National Guard Base.  The origin of Volk Field dates 1888, when the State Adjutant General, General Chandler Chapman, purchased a site for a rifle range and offered it to the state for a camp. In 1889, the Wisconsin State Legislature authorized the acquisition of land in the area for a permanent campground and rifle range for the Wisconsin National Guard.

By 1903, the camp consisted of over 800 acres, which was used by the National Guard.  The site was re=named Camp Williams in 1927 in honor of Lieuteant Colonel Charles R. Williams, the Chief Quartermaster of the post from 1917 until his death in 1926.  Following World War I, the camp explanded slowing until 1935 and 1936, when the first hard-surface runways were constructed for aircraft.