The Vagabond – Gadsden and surplus WW II properties

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By Danny Crownover

Acquired by the U.S. Army in July of 1942, Camp Sibert consisted of 37,035 acres in Etowah and St. Clair counties. Historical records show that the property was used extensively as the main training camp for chemical warfare troops during World War II.

The federal government took over land south of Alabama State Highway 77, East of U.S. Hwy. 11, West of U.S Hwy. 411 and north of Canoe Creek. One of the first step in building a chemical warfare center was to build a new airport, which had to be located nearby since supplies would have to be flown in.

Once World War II was over and the country returned to a peacetime status, as well as the close proximity of Fort McClellan, the majority of the property was transferred to private ownership and is now either farmed, reverted to woodlands or used as residential.

The City of Gadsden received several acres of land and immediately started making repairs and adding to the airport. Prior to this, the old Gadsden airport was located on property owned by Republic Steel. Gadsden and its municipal government were successful in the method of handling surplus World War II war properties given to the city by the United States.

The Northeast Regional Airport today covers 1,480 acres with two asphalt runways.

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