BASE: Advancing a post-military landscape
 Project description

Quonset Point

 Admin. Triangle
 W'house Triangle
 Camp Endicott

 Camp Thomas

 Adv. Base Depot
 Adv. Base Proving
 West Davisville


Historic images

Quonset hut


Camp Thomas

View looking east down Battalion Boulevard.


Nearly all of Camp Thomas's buildings were classified as temporary, and the entire site was constructed in under six months. Most of the buildings were Quonset Huts and wooden barracks that could be erected very rapidly. Unlike most other parts of Davisville, Camp Thomas's layout had a thrown-together feel, with irregular roads and little more than walkways winding through the various barracks and recreation buildings located here. A month of demolition in 1946 — and subsequent years of natural growth — have reduced this once-bustling camp to half-hidden foundations and the vague evidence offered by storm drains and painted steel poles designating nothing. Two buried Quonsets served as ammunition magazines, creating artificial hills where earth was mounded against their sloping sides. The roads through this area — Battalion Drive, Seabee Drive, Parade and Perimeter Roads — are far on their way to disappearing as well.

Birds observed at NCTC Davisville

Brown-headed cowbird
American robin
Green heron
Mourning dove
European starling
Black-capped chickadee
Eastern kingbird
Common yellowthroat
Yellow warbler
Purple finch
Eastern Phoebe
Great blue heron
Rufous-sided towhee
Yellow-throated vireo
House wren
Chimney Swift

From the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Disposal and Reuse/Redevelopment of the Former Naval Construction Battalion Center, Davisville, Rhode Island, 1994

Early in 2000 we discovered one crumpled Quonset hut hidden among young pines along Battalion Blvd, its building number — AH-3B — still legible . Only one end of this Quonset still stands, the remainder of it peeled away and flattened down to the concrete foundation. Within a half-mile of this former latrine stands an 18th century farmhouse that somehow survived the vast changes Davisville experienced in the 1940s. The historic Allen-Madison House (D272) was used by the Navy for officer's housing during the base's active days, but like the other Davisville buildings, it too was secured and forgotten. Recently, efforts have begun to restore this farmhouse.

After a year and a half of photographing and exploring the newly forested camp and finding little more than the vacant lot that presents itself there, we heard that two underground missile silos in the vicinity had been abandoned only a few years earlier. Local rumors that an atomic bomb had been stored on the Quonset / Davisville site are, however, said to be unfounded.

The only large structure in Camp Thomas is Building 224, which remains with its cluster of ancillary buildings strung out around it. Bldg. 224 provided recreation, dining, and health services to the Seabees stationed here. Later as needs changed, the building provided facilities for the supply, maintenance and overhaul of construction equipment. An indoor pool was filled with concrete, and its edges and gutters remain as an outline on the vast warehouse floor. Today this bowstring truss warehouse is the off-season home for equipment relating to the Gravity Games. Upstairs in a room of the abandoned administrative offices there is a sign warning against the photocopying of classified documents. The hall outside this office is strewn with records of inventory, shipping, and receiving, apparently flung from the file cabinet drawers.

© Copyright 2000 Erik Carlson and Erica Carpenter     Top