Camp Upton, World War II

Camp Upton, October 1943. Looking north between the barracks, 4th receiving center area. (Image from the Camp Upton / World War II Pictorial Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved.)

The site on which the present-day Brookhaven National Laboratory now stands was originally an Army camp – Camp Upton, which was named after Emory Upton, a Union general in the Civil War. Located near Yaphank, in the heart of the Pine Barrens, Camp Upton was built in 1917 as an induction and training facility for the 30,000 soldiers who went on to fight in World War I. Between the world wars, the camp was used by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, who planted many of the trees on the site. In 1940, on the eve of World War II, the camp was reopened, serving its original purpose as a military training ground. In 1944, Camp Upton was used as a hospital to treat wounded veterans of the war. It also served as a prisoner of war camp, when in 1945, five hundred German prisoners were sent to Camp Upton. In 1947, the camp was replaced by Brookhaven National Laboratory.