Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Camp Ripley Entrance Walls

Camp Ripley
Minnesota Highways 371 and 115

The Camp Ripley Entrance Walls were built between 1934 and 1942 and involved three relief agencies; Fed/State Emergency Relief (FERA/SERA), Works Progress Administration (WPA), and Work Projects Administration (WPA). Little Falls Black Granite was used and the stones were laid without mortar, except for the gateposts. The site includes Bridge 4969 which carries Highway 115 over the Mississippi River.

A "pseudo-guard tower"¹, one at each of the north and south walls, east of Bridge 4969. This is the southern one.
The northern wall follows the arc of the Veterans Cemetery from Morrison County 76 to Minnesota Highway 115.

The north "pseudo-guard tower"

The stone gateposts to the cemetery were added between 1994 and 1998.

Veterans Cemetery entrance

This type of wall runs along both sides of 115 east of the bridge, along the north side of 115 west of the bridge

These low walls parallel Mn Highway 115 from County 76 to the bridge over the Mississippi River where both sides abut against the bridge rails. West of the bridge the wall on the north side of Mn 115 continues up to and just past the main entrance to Camp Ripley.

Along the north side of Mn 115

Main camp gate

Camp Ripley Entrance Walls, Aug. 1997
Minnesota Dept. of Transportation Historic Roadside Development Structures Inventory

The walls were built primarily to function "as a visible symbol of military presence. . ."¹

In the northwest corner of Mn 115 and County 76 a tank stands on a earthen mound with "Camp Ripley" lettered below. A similar tank is along northbound Mn 371 just south of the exit to County 47/Mn 115.

The camp entrance walls have not been altered with the exception of the gateposts to the Veterans Cemetery.
Camp Ripley is one of the largest National Guard training camps in the country.

¹ Susan Granger, Scott Kelly, and Kay Grossman. (1998, December). Historic Roadside Development Structures on Minnesota Trunk Highways. Minnesota Department of Transportation.