McLEAN TEXAS WW2 AFRIKA KORPS POW CAMP
Today riveted special will feature a rare find 3 rare WW2 POW winter shirts.
McLEAN a Texas panhandle town,started as nothing more than a cattle loading site along the Rock Island Railroad when in 1901 a water well was dug and a switch and section house was built. But among the railroaders, a large rancher had a vision. Alfred Row, an Englishman.He saw greater opportunity for the area and donated land near the switching station to lay out a town site.
He name the town for W.P. McLean of the Texas Legislature and Railroad Commission, the town quickly grew, gaining a post office by 1902. Just one year later the town was incorporated and boasted two banks, two livery stables, two wagon yards, two cafes, a post office, a lumber yard, newspaper called the McLean News, and a furniture store.
In 1912, Alfred Rowe, the town’s founder, left McLean to visit his native England. Tragically, he would never see McLean again as, upon his return to the United States, he met his death on the Titanic when the grand ship sank in the Atlantic in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912. Legend has it that rescuers found him hugging his briefcase, frozen to death atop an ice floe, with his gold watch still ticking.
In 1927 the town profited from the oil boom, becoming a major shipping point for area livestock, gas, and oil. And, in the very same year, the Mother Road arrived in McLean, further insuring the town’s growth for the next several decades. During the Golden Age of Route 66, McLean boasted 16 service stations, six motels and numerous cafes. Oklahoma based Phillips Petroleum Company built its first Texas service station in McLean in 1927. By 1940 McLean had six churches, a newspaper, fifty-nine businesses, and a population of more than 1,500.
In September of 1942, an area northeast of McLean was chosen to serve as the McLean Permanent Alien Internment Camp during WWII. During its operation, the camp boasted twenty to thirty buildings and housed 3,000 prisoners-of-war. The first prisoners were German troops captured in North Africa from the famous Rommel's AFRIKA KORPS, who arrived in early 1943. A second group of Germans captured in their Homeland were also retained at the camp. During its time, there were several escape attempts from the camp, but on the bare plains of the Texas panhandle there was nowhere to go. All were recaptured and seemed glad to return to the prison. The camp continued to operate until July 1, 1945.
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