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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Spring Valley in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Birthplace of the Army Chemical Corps

 
 
Birthplace of the Army Chemical Corps Marker image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 5, 2009
1. Birthplace of the Army Chemical Corps Marker
Inscription. Soon after the United States entered the First World War in 1917, the American University’s offer of its campus and buildings for war work was accepted.

The permanent buildings and part of campus were turned over to the Bureau of Mines on July 6, 1917, for use as chemical warfare laboratories and proving grounds. McKinley Hall served as one of the first of these laboratories.

On August 30, 1917, the Thirtieth Engineers, later known as the first gas regiment, was organized here. Companies A and B and First Battalion Headquarters marched out of the American University on Christmas Day, 1917 and sailed for France the next day. They were soon followed by Companies C and D, and later by Companies E and F which were organized at Fort Myer.

In June 1918, the chemical warfare organization of the Bureau of Mines was transferred to the War Department as a step toward the creation of the chemical warfare service, now the U.S. Army Chemical Corps.

Dedicated in 1960 by Veterans of the First Gas Regiment.
 
Erected 1960.
 
Location. 38° 56.159′ N, 77° 5.358′ W. Marker is in Spring Valley, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker can be reached from Nebraska Avenue NW 0.1 miles west of
The McKinley Building on the American University campus image. Click for more information.
By Harris and Ewing, 1914
2. The McKinley Building on the American University campus
This image, provided courtesy of the Library of Congress, shows the McKinley Building as it appeared in 1914, shortly before the establishment of the Army Chemical Corps.
Click for more information.
New Mexico Avenue NW. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20016, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. General Artemas Ward Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); American University (approx. ¼ mile away); John Wesley (approx. 0.3 miles away); Winning the War (approx. half a mile away); Live on Our Stage! (approx. half a mile away); Battery Kemble Park (approx. 0.6 miles away); For the Children (approx. 0.6 miles away); Friendship Estate (approx. 0.8 miles away).
 
More about this marker. The marker is located on the right side of the entrance to the McKinley Building, on the American University Campus.
 
Also see . . .  Hazardous Waste and History Mix On D.C. Tour. Yamiche Alcindor's Washington Post article (9/21/2009) article on hazardous waste spots in the District, with a highlight on birthplace of the Chemical Corps and the leftover chemicals and munitions problem: "...During World War I, 661 acres of forested land around the American University campus were used for Army tests. The range became known as the American University Experiment Station.... In 1993, a construction crew's discovery of an artillery round triggered an evacuation
Birthplace of the Army Chemical Corps Marker - Wide View image. Click for full size.
By Andrew Ruppenstein, September 5, 2009
3. Birthplace of the Army Chemical Corps Marker - Wide View
Here the marker is visible to the right of the entrance to the McKinley Building. The smaller plaque visble below it is in honor of President William McKinley. The cornerstone to the McKinley Building was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt on May 14, 1902, less than a year after McKinley had been assassinated.
and cleanup of the area. Experts have since been scouring the neighborhood for buried munitions and chemicals. Workers have found several toxins, such as arsine, a vomiting agent called DA or Clark 1 and liquid mustard, a type of blistering agent.
" (Submitted on August 4, 2010.) 
 
Categories. War, World I
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 1,144 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on March 4, 2017.
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