Camp Ellis is a true story that traces the adventures of two young brothers as their father closes down a deserted Army base in Illinois from the Second World War. The book also chronicles the success of the two boys on the junior high basketball team of the small town of Ipava, Illinois. More
This book is based on a true story that happened to me and my family. The names of some of the people have been changed due to the fact you can't remember their names after so many years. Camp Ellis, Illinois was started in September of 1942 and completed within six months. The camp was 18,000 acres and had 2200 buildings with the largest hospital at any camp in the United States at that time. There were several gyms, bakery, and a butcher shop with a complete town of its own with a railroad spur running directly into the camp. The Spoon River was used by the Army engineers to practice crossing rivers before they went into combat in Europe. They also had an airport and the most modern sewage plant available at that time. Over 130,000 troops came through the camp over the next couple of years and 5000 German prisoners were there during the war. The Army closed the base just as fast as they opened it in 1945. We lived there from May of 1948 until May of 1950 while my father worked on closing down the camp. It is all farmland now but several of the roads that were built through the camp still exist as do a couple of the barracks where they housed the German prisoners and two water towers. Table Grove and Ipava are still small farming towns with only a few hundred people in each town. The town of Bernadette has been reestablished around the Spoon River like it was before.