Rockford in Winnebago County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Former Camp Grant Rifle Range
In the 1950s, the camp was declared surplus and the Rockford Park District acquired 312 acres of the property. The property is currently known as Atwood Park and Education Center. The park includes a lodge, campground and outdoor education center, picnic areas, shelters and a boat ramp.
As with any military training facility, the servicemen used various types of ordnance to practice firing weapons that they may use in combat. At Camp Grant Rifle Range, practice artillery rounds included 37mm projectiles and 3-inch Stokes mortar shells. During World War II, the rifle range was used by the National Guard for target practice, which included firing .30 and .45 caliber firearms munitions. Stokes trench mortar 37 mm and 3-inch anti-aircraft artillery and hand grenades.
Formerly Used Defense Sites are located throughout the United States. These locations played a vital role in training troop during the wars. However, many sites have remnants of previous military use, such as munitions or ordnance that remain on the property.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been investigating and cleaning up these sites, since the 1980s. In 1995, the Corps of Engineers scoured the former Camp Grant Rifle Range and found 1,200 pieces of ordnance none of which contained high explosives.
From April through June 2004, the north end of the former firing range and Blackhawk Valley Campground was swept and any ordnance found was detonated in place.
Be Smart, Be Safe
Occasionally, a park visitor may spot something that was used on the former firing range. This may include 37mm projectiles which resemble oversized bullets or Stokes mortars which measure about a foot long and 3 inches in diameter.
Collecting munitions as a souvenir an prove deadly. They cn still be considered "live" and have a fuse that could explode. Touching, kicking or moving a live ordnance can cause an explosion. Munitions can be found at the surface, a few feet below ground or in the water. The soldiers training at Camp Grant Rifle Range fired practice rounds into the Kishwaukee River. Although the area has been swept several times and ordnance and pieces have been remove, there is still a small chance that the public may find a military munition.
The public is reminded not to pick up, touch, move or kick any shells found on the former firing range. It's always a good idea to play it safe. Even though the munition or ordnance is old, being a relic does not mean that it cannot explode and seriously injure or kill someone. Knowing what to do when encountering ordnance can keep you and your family safe.
Remember the three "R"s
Recognize that any type of ordnance is dangerous.
Retreat and move away from the object. Do not touch, move or kick it. Mark the area.
Report the discovery of the ordnance to the authorities immediately by calling 911.
The key to being safe is to understand that any type of ordnance can be dangerous. Never touch or handle military munitions.
Protect yourself and your family and friends by having them follow the three "R"s.
Erected by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Forts and Castles • Parks & Recreational Areas • War, World I • War, World II. A significant historical year for this entry is 1917.
Location. 42° 10.995′ N, 89° 3.099′ W. Marker is in Rockford, Illinois, in Winnebago County. Marker is on New Milford School Road. Located at the Atwood Outdoor Education Center at the far end of the park road on the north side of the park. Or, park at the foot bridge and walkover to the bunker. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2685 New Milford School Road, Rockford IL 61109, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Field Bunkers (a few steps from this marker); Stephen Mack (approx. ¼ mile away); Theodore Roosevelt (approx. ¼ mile away); Black Hawk (approx. ¼ mile away); Memorial Hall (approx. 6½ miles away); Stillman's Run Battle Site Memorial (approx. 8.3 miles away); Stillmans Defeat (approx. 8.3 miles away); The Stinson House (approx. 14 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rockford.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 7, 2019. It was originally submitted on May 5, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 209 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 5, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.