Fort Wolters has had several names and served a variety of services over the last 90 years. It started out life as a Texas National Guard Training Camp in 1925 and ended its life as a civilian industrial park with abandoned warehouses, barracks, and other military structures scattered throughout the base’s old property lines sometime after the base was decommissioned in 1975.
A Brief History of Fort Wolters
As I mentioned before, Fort Wolters once served as a Texas National Guard Camp (Camp Wolters). The camp was mostly used a training facility and a small portion of the old training camp still supports current Guard training.
Then in 1941, Camp Wolters was turned over to the U.S. Army for Infantry Replacement Training and was one of the largest U.S. Army training facilities during World War II. But was deactivated in 1946 and a portion of the base was purchased by a local business group in 1947. The land and structures were converted to civilian use.
In 1955, the U.S. Army resumed control of the base and in 1956, the U.S. Army Primary Helicopter School was activated.
Then in 1963, Camp Wolters became Fort Wolters, Texas and the dedication ceremony was held on July 4th, 1963 and served as the U.S Army Primary Helicopter Center/School until the school was transferred to Fort Rucker, Alabama in 1973.
After the school left, there wasn’t much reason to keep the base up and running. So the U.S. Army deactivated the base in 1975 for the last time. At some after 1975, Fort Wolters was renamed to Wolters Industrial Park.
Fort Wolters as it Stands Today
Back in June, my wife and I spent a late afternoon Saturday exploring Fort Wolters, Texas. This article is part two of the North Texas Road Trip June 2013–Anna, Texas, Celina, Texas, Pilot Point, Texas, and Mineral Wells, Texas. Since the fort is a historical marker and important part of Army’s history, we decided it was time to document the property and share our findings.
Fort Wolters is located just east of Mineral Wells, Texas on Highway 180. You really can’t miss it, The old Fort Wolters Air Base sign has been restored and hangs over the entrance into the area.
The base is a place you might want to reserve more than just a few hours there. We were there just a few hours and only stopped at a few places to shoot. But there are buildings and other things in the area to explore.
What I mostly found were abandoned barracks or barracks being used for storage. Everything that I looked at were in rough shape.
I only stopped at one barrack grouping near the Camp Chapel and everyone single one of them was stripped down and used for storage. The buildings were ranged from needing paint job to burned out to the foundations.
When I was walking through one of the barrack foundations I found an old soda bottle that must have been hidden in the bushes near the building’s foundations for decades and was uncovered when I found it sitting in some overgrown bushes and weeds.
But the main attraction for photographers and Urbex Explorers is the Fort Wolters Beech Army Hospital that has been abandoned for the better part of at least two decades.
The first time I visited the hospital, it was overgrown and the broken down cars on the roads near the hospital made me think of a post apocalyptic movie scene. But now, the grass has been cut and lot of the trash has been cleaned up.
At some point, I plan on returning to Mineral Wells and to Fort Wolters. At that point, I want to dedicate a complete history work up with current pictures of the abandoned structures and current military buildings still in use.
For more information and a full history of Fort Wolters, check out these great sites.