Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marfa in World War II

View of the Chinati Foundation, formerly Fort D.A. Russell, Marfa
Marfa's new Tourism and Visitors Center is in their 1940 U.S.O. Hall just south of the intersection of Hwys 90 and 67.
Interior of Marfa's U.S.O. Hall with the original dance floor!

The Texas Historical Commission has a great brochure on Texas in World War's the text on Marfa:

"Visitors searching for the mysterious Marfa Lights are actually gazing across the site of one of World War II’s top flight training installations, Marfa Army Air Field. Part of the base’s front gate remains near the Marfa Lights viewing station. Nearly 8,000 pilots once trained here in AT-17s, B-25s and P-38s on five wide runways up to 7,500 feet long. Marfa Army Air Field had a sister installation nearby, a World War I-era horse cavalry outpost called Fort D.A. Russell. The base trained U.S. soldiers and held nearly 200 German prisoners of war. Two POWs were artists who painted elaborate murals inside Building 98, where top U.S. generals socialized in the officers club. The paintings depict U.S. Western scenes as seen through the eyes of Germans who learned about cowboys from watching movies. The rare murals garnered Building 98 a spot in the National Register of Historic Places; the structure is also a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.

Fort D.A. Russell closed in 1946 and various individuals bought the property. Three decades later, New York minimalist sculptor Donald Judd turned many of the structures into a contemporary art museum, the Chinati Foundation. A one-time warehouse, six former barracks and two artillery sheds now contain works by various artists."

Pillars, a remnant of Fort D.A. Russell, Marfa

You can download the entire brochure from this page.

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