I am a 76-year-old BOI (Born on the Island). My peers and I were the young school children of World War II. Fort Crockett, simply put, remains sentimental to me.

My childhood home was in the 4600 block of the Denver Drive area, only two blocks from Fort Crockett. It provided comfort to us that the Island was protected from German U-2 boats and submarines. The fort was not merely bricks and mortar, but a full, bustling military complex with an officer’s club, a post exchange, and prisoners of war.

Because the windows were open, the bugle was our alarm. We could literally hear the flag being raised and lowered each day. My dad spent four years overseas on a destroyer in the Pacific theater. For a small girl and her siblings and all residents, Fort Crockett was a bulwark against the Nazi regime that was oil poor with a bull’s eye on Texas City for its refineries — not to mention, our port.

We saw German prisoners of war doing yard work at the fort. They looked just like us, except for their haircuts. Occasionally, a prisoner would escape, and we’d have sirens blaring and lights out, as when a suspicious aircraft was overhead.

Imagine our sleepy village with the melodies of the Big Band era like Frank Sinatra melting your heart with “I’ll be seeing you” and other love songs of the era, especially nostalgic because of the war and separation. The young G.I.’s were the best-looking guys I have ever seen, and the women wore flowers in their hair and bright red nails and lips. Women were told to look pretty, so our men would remember what they were fighting for, to come home to.

Why not put one heck of a fabulous World War II monument at 45th and Crockett where the old guard house stood? Then, if we must, sell off the rest of the old fort that is so special to a few of us who may be as dilapidated as the old buildings. The last clear cut war that we won should have a monument.

Ann McLeod Moody

Galveston

(3) comments

Jan Johnson

Growing up in the east end, I had no idea that Ft. Crockett existed because it was closed while I was a very young little girl. I remember listening to Doug McLeod descibing the German Concentration Camp and determined to learn more about it someday. That someday happened circa 2006 while writing my first book, Walking Historic Galveston as one of the routes drove by it. When I wrote the driving guide, Beyond the Beaten Paths, I went to NOAA for further information. Jo Ann generously shared the resources which the organization had collected over the years. Pages 146-149 tells a more complete story of the fort and features an historic postcard of the Officer's Quarters and Barracks as well as one of the two images of the German Prisoner of War camp from 1943-45.
I totally agree something permanent should record the legends of Galveston's Ft. Crockett at 45th Street to honor all those soldiers stationed there over the years. One of those was my grandfather, J. W. Stechmann, who did boot camp there during WWI. Fortunately, he only got as far and New York City when the Armistice was signed.

Steve Fouga

What a nicely written and heartfelt article! Beautiful job, Ms Moody.

I live in the same neighborhood, and either walk or drive by the old buildings daily. I wish something productive could be done with the buildings or the land, as I agree with our mayor that they're "an eyesore" in their current condition.

A monument is an excellent idea in my opinion, no matter what happens to the property. Ms Moody, Ms Johnson, what sort of monument do you envision? The 45th-Crockett location is not very visible, even from the seawall a short distance away.

By the way, with your comment you've reminded me I need to buy your books, Ms Johnson!

Lars Faltskog

I can't see why it can't become a historical museum-type of complex, a la what The Alamo is to San Antonio, or what San Jacinto Monument is to the east part of Houston.

They could do re-enactments on special occasions, have glass cases of some memorabilia, charge admission and so on.

Maybe the Diocese can purchase one of the barricks and convert it into a chapel, or repurpose the building into a nave, and make it an additional worshipping place.

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