Recognizing in 1940 that hosting peacetime draftees might revive the county's economy, the city of Paris sent a request for the army to build a training camp here. The local American Legion acquired land options. Delegations from the Chamber of Commerce of Lamar County received initial support, but Congressman Lyndon Johnson moved the planned camp to his district at Bastrop. In response U. S. Senator Tom Connally and army officials ensured a camp for Paris, confirmed in July 1941. The 70,000 acre site was being surveyed when the U. S. entered World War II in December. Camp Maxey, named for C. S. A. General and U. S. Senator Sam Bell Maxey from paris, was activated on July 15, 1942. Its main entrance was Gate 5 marked by stone portals at this site. Two infantry divisions, the 102nd Ozark and 99th Checkerboard, trained here with the 250th Field Artillery and other army units. A regional hospital and a prisoner of war camp hosting 7,000 Germans were part of the reservation. Local women formed the Maxey Command to host dances for the total of 194,800 soldiers stationed here. Area residents housed thousands of dependents and filled 10,300 civilian jobs on base. The camp was closed when the P. O. W. stockade was vacated in early 1946.
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