Photo courtesy of the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum
We are finally making
a bit of progress at
Camp Naco. The EPA grants to remove the asbestos are underway right
Also, in October
2012, Camp Naco was
officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Now the Buffalo
Soldier history of the Camp is formally documented.
I am working on
a press release and hope to
have it published in the Sierra Vista Herald within the next few days. If it is
published, I will send a copy.
Updates and photos
are being added to the
Friends of Camp Naco Facebook page, and we welcome everyone to look through
these and like us, is possible.
I am spreading the
word about the work in
progress because we are trying to raise funds to cover the adobe building
roofs. Since the asbestos tiles protected the adobe, now that these are being
removed there is a significant risk of erosion from the upcoming monsoon
There is a link
in the Facebook page to the
Archaeology Southwest fundraiser page for Camp Naco. Donations are tax
deductible. I also included the link below.
Any assistance you
can provide in spreading
the word about our progress and efforts at Camp Naco is greatly
Naco Heritage Alliance
Preserving Historic Camp Naco (Camp Newell)
Camp Naco, or Camp Newell, consists of 23 buildings on seventeen acres in the northwest section of the border town of Naco, Arizona. Of the many names used to identify the camp, Camp Naco seems to be the most likely name of the compound during the military’s use of the area. The name of Camp Newell was probably attached to the barracks after the Army transferred the buildings to John J. Newell
via the Naco Real Estate and Improvement Company. This military compound was
constructed between 1919 and 1923 as part of the War Department’s Mexican Border Defense construction project, a plan
to build a 1200- mile “fence” along the southern U.S. border.
American soldiers were the primary component of this “fence,” and the construction project was to establish
or to upgrade border military posts to protect the soldiers against the elements and to protect U.S. citizens and economic
interests. In 1919, the plan for the camp in Naco, part of the Tenth Cavalry
Patrol District, was to construct 35 adobe buildings, the only site of the nine western camps to be constructed of adobe and
the only site in Arizona largely intact today.
The beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910 raised concerns that rebel activity would spill over onto American
soil, and in response to this potential threat, the U.S. Government sent troops to protect the border. Naco had a military presence from 1911 until the end of 1923, with troop strength ranging from 50 to over
5000 through the years. While the War Department stationed elements of many units
in Naco, the primary presence was the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Regiments, and later the 25th Infantry Regiment, all Buffalo
Soldier units. The Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Regiments were commended for their
service during the Battle of Naco in 1914, receiving a special commendation from the President for their exceptional service
in preserving the Neutrality Laws despite being under almost constant threat of gunfire.
In 1922, the 25th Infantry Regiment took over for the Tenth as guardians of the border until closure of this station
in December 1923.
Camp Naco now stands empty, a rapidly fading chapter in this region’s history; preservation is the key to ensuring the
Camp is not lost forever. Based on an initial nomination for listing in the National
Register of Historic Places, the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office determined the Camp to be eligible as a military
district, with the provision that additional documentation was needed to verify the construction and use of the compound. Recent discoveries have narrowed the construction time line and the purpose of the
barracks and have verified the co-existence of Buffalo Soldiers and the barracks in Naco; however, additional time is needed
to continue the research on these abandoned barracks- time which is running out. A
recent fire destroyed four buildings, emphasizing the fragility of the compound and the urgency of preservation. While the Camp achieved recognition in the 1930s as a Civilian Conservation Corps site, its original purpose
as a military camp has particular historic significance as it serves as a reminder of all of the soldiers who stood watch
on the border protecting American interests. It is now our turn, every citizen of this country, to protect the memory of those
soldiers by protecting this monument of their service.