Goroskop Maia 2012
Buildings Functional Areas Drill Field & Recreation Area
Drill Field and Recreation Area

Fort Slocum’s Drill Field and Recreation Area was centered on the post’s Drill and Athletic Field on the eastern side of Davids Island. Its primary role was to provide Fort Slocum’s personnel and dependents with facilities for physical conditioning and leisure-time activities.

The Army situated such facilities in the area beginning around 1909. In that year, the YMCA (Building 71) at the northwestern corner of the area was finished and a small freshwater pond in the north-central section was filled in.


Drill Field Area

01-DFRA functional hilite

Location of the Drill Field and Recreation Area at Fort Slocum.

02-DA c1917 pm1922 TtPC_cb

Fort Slocum's Drill and Athletic Field, shown here in a postcard probably published ca. 1917, was built in about 1914 to provide a place for drill training and athletic contests. View to south.

03-DA GGBain LC WWI temp barracks c1918

Temporary barracks and an outdoor movie screen were built on the drill field during the First World War to accommodate the crush of recruits passing through Fort Slocum. View to northeast, ca. 1918 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photos Div, GG Bain digital collection).

04-EM Tennis courts fm1940 NA-RG77

Enlisted Men's Tennis Courts on the western edge of the Drill and Athletic Field, looking north-northeast, 1940. Behind, left to right, are the YMCA (Building 71) and two barracks, Buildings 61 and 60.


The abandoned Drill and Athletic Field overgrown with shrubs, vines and trees, view west-southwest, April 2006.

The area continued to evolve through the addition and removal of buildings, structures and landscaping features nearly until the post closed in 1965. The Drill and Athletic Field itself was built around 1914. Throughout its history it had at least one baseball diamond, and until the 1940s there was also a running track and a football gridiron. In the 1940s and 1950s, there were separate swimming piers for enlisted men and non-commissioned officers, and there was also a skeet-shooting range. Enlisted men's tennis courts were built in the area in 1940.

By the time architectural historians began documenting Fort Slocum in the 1980s, the area contained traces of just four buildings, of which only two, the YMCA (Building 71) and the Armory and Gymnasium (Building 78), were directly related to the area’s main function. The other two buildings, the Firehouse (Building 79) and a pumping station for the post’s sewage system (Building 74) were situated in the area only for convenience. In addition to these buildings, architectural historians recorded the outdoor Handball Courts (Building 75) and the Non-Commissioned Officers’ Children’s Swimming Pool (Building 80). No traces of the swimming piers or skeet range could be found, and the baseball diamonds were completely lost in a tangle of weeds and vines.