Tour Historic Carlisle Barracks

Carlisle Barracks offers a self-guided walking tour. To get started, click the link below.

Walking Tour Guide of the Historic Parade Grounds

  Carlisle Barracks Cemetery

 

The Carlisle Barracks Cemetery includes 228 graves: 186 graves of Native Americans who attended the Indian Industrial School, and 42 graves of veterans and/or their eligible dependents. When the Army assumed control of the post in 1918, the cemetery became a military cemetery. The first burial occurred in February 1882; the cemetery was closed to further interments in 2005. The cemetery is located on the grounds of the 259-year-old military base, near its main entrance on Claremont Road.

 

Highlights:
  • Cemetery is located on the perimeter of the Carlisle Barracks
  • First child died within a few months of the School’s opening in 1879
 
 

  Collins Hall

 

Built in July of 1994 and named for General J. Lawton (“Lightning Joe”) Collins, Collins Hall houses the Center for Strategic Leadership. A graduate of West Point, General Collins had a long and productive career in the Army. He graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1938 and stayed on as a faculty member from 1938-1940. He commanded the 25th Infantry Division on Guadalcanal and the VII Corps from the Invasion of Normandy to the surrender of Germany. He then served as Army Chief of Staff from 1949 to 1953. General Collins reopened the Army War College in 1950 and “positioned it at the apex of the Army educational system, with a curriculum based on a deeper understanding of foreign affairs and national security policy, the study of the nature of future war, and the use of war gaming and simulation.” Today, the Center for Strategic Leadership teaches war gaming strategies to senior Army officers.

Highlights:
  • Built in 1994
  • Named for General J. Lawton (“Lightning Joe”) Collins
  • Houses the Center for Strategic Leadership which teaches war gaming strategies to senior Army officers
 
 

  Coren Apartments

 

Named after Captain Isaac Coren, who headed the First Artillery School at Carlisle Barracks, the Coren Apartments were originally constructed as officer quarters. After burning down due to accidental causes in 1857, the Confederates burned the Coren Apartments in 1863. After the building was rebuilt, it served as teachers’ quarters and General Pratt’s office when the U.S. Army transferred Carlisle Barracks to the Department of the Interior for use as the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1879. After World War I, when Carlisle Barracks housed General Hospital No. 31 and the Medical Field Service School, nurses’ headquarters stood in the Coren Apartments. Today, the Army War College uses the building for family housing.

Highlights:
  • Named after Captain Isaac Coren- headed first Artillery School
  • Burned down twice, once on accident, once by the Confederates
  • Teachers quarters during Indian School, nurses headquarters during General Hospital No. 31 and the Medical Field Service School eras
  • Currently used as family housing for the Army War College
 
 

  Frederick the Great Statue

 

The statue of Frederick the Great currently stands watch over the Old Parade Ground. When the Army War College came to Carlisle in 1951, so did the bronze statue of Frederick the Great. Kaiser Wilhelm II presented the replica of a marble figure in Berlin as a gift to President Theodore Roosevelt as a goodwill gesture. It was unveiled in November 1904 at Washington Barracks (currently Fort McNair) in D.C. During WWI, both Congress and the public pressed for the removal and/or destruction of the statue. After a failed attempt to blow up the statue in 1918, the Army placed it in storage. It returned to its pedestal in November 1927, but was removed yet again during WWII. Never restored to its former home on Washington Barracks, it finally moved with the Army War College to Carlisle Barracks, where it still stands today.

Highlights:
  • Presented by Kaiser Wilhelm II to President Theodore Roosevelt
  • Unveiled in 1904 at Ft. McNair in D.C.
  • Put in storage after attempted destruction in 1918
  • Brought back out in 1927 and removed during WWII
  • Moved to Carlisle in 1951 with the Army War College
 
 

  Hessian Powder Magazine

 

During the Revolutionary War, the British government hired Hessian soldiers from German speaking states in Europe to fight in America. Following the American victory at the Battle of Trenton, which took place in December 1776, General Washington and his men took several Hessian soldiers prisoner. Some of these Hessian prisoners were sent to Carlisle to provide labor. It is thought that about 40 of them built the Hessian Powder Magazine in 1777. The structure is 70 ft x 22 ft and is made of limestone with brick-lined interior walls which are four ft. thick. It has a vaulted stone roof covered by timbers and tin. Within the building are three main rooms and four cells on the west end of the building. The doors to the cells are thought to be from around the late 1700s.

Though this building was constructed for the purpose of storing sulfur, brimstone, and other explosive materials, the building has served many purposes throughout its history. After the War of 1812, this original usage continued, but the building was refitted with vaulted brick ceilings, traversed entrances, ventilation shafts, and lightning rods, to make it safer to store highly flammable supplies. By the 1830s, the Hessian Powder Magazine took on its new name of “Hessian Guardhouse,” along with its new function as a guardhouse for the Cavalry School, which operated on Carlisle Barracks from 1838-1871. During the Carlisle Indian Industrial School days selected students received law enforcement training at the guard house and eventually used those skills at the new entrance to post, located along the LeTort Spring Run. In 1948, the Hessian Powder Magazine became the Hessian Powder Museum and was opened to the public, a function it still holds today.

Highlights:
  • Built by Hessian prisoners in 1777 to house sulfur, brimstone, and other explosives
  • Refitted after the War of 1812 to improve safety
  • Served as a guardhouse for the Cavalry School
  • It is now a museum
 
 

  Indian Field and the Grandstand

 

The students of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School graded and removed rock from this area to create a practice field for athletes in 1901. Their athletics program attracted national attention, and by 1890 the school fielded teams in all major sports. Famed football coach “Pop” Warner coached student athletes at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, such as football and Olympic legend Jim Thorpe, Hall of Fame pitcher Charles Bender, and Olympic distance runner Louis Tewanima on this field. Students were so interested in sports that they took up a collection to buy the school’s very first football. In addition to the field, students constructed a grandstand in 1902.

Highlights:
  • Carlisle Indian Industrial School students graded and removed rock in 1901
  • Played football on this field
  • "Pop" Warner coached Jim Thorpe, Charles Bender, and Louis Tewanima on the field
  • Carlisle Indian Industrial School students graded and removed rock in 1901
  • Charles Bender: went on to play in major league baseball, part of the Ojibwa tribe, given the nickname "Chief" like many other baseball players of Native American heritage
  • Louis Tewanima: two time Olympic distance runner, part of the Hopi Tribe
 
Grandstand:

In 1940, the original grandstand constructed by the students of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1902, was replaced with a new grandstand on the same site. It overlooked Indian Field, the site of many student sporting events. Sports are still played on the field today and is the hub for activities during Jim Thorpe Sports Days, an annual competition between students of all of the armed forces Senior Service Colleges. The grandstand was also a point of assembly for students when the football team had away games. Students would gather in the grandstand to wait and hear the scores as they were reported. It is currently home to the Indian Field Fitness Center which features cardio equipment, free weights and more.

Highlights:
  • Originally constructed in 1902 by the students at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
  • Current grandstand constructed in 1940
 
 

  "Pop" Warner's House

 

Glenn Scobey Warner, born on April 5, 1871 in Springville, New York, would become an important figure in Carlisle Indian Industrial School history, as the football coach who worked with famous footballer and Olympian Jim Thorpe and who went on to coach the team to a win against the Army football team in 1912. "Pop" Warner, as he was affectionately nicknamed by his players, grew up in New York and after a few years spent with his family in Texas, he attended Law School at Cornell University. It was here Warner learned to play football. After finding that he had a talent for the game, Warner coached at the University of Georgia and then returned to coach at his Alma Mater. In 1898, a dispute over who would be the head coach the following season led to Warner's departure and his coaching job at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Hired by Brigadier General Richard H. Pratt, founder and first superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Warner was offered an incredible salary of $1,200 for the year. Warner worked with the young Indian men to make them into a team that could compete with the other major Universities around the country. He found that the Indian boys had a different skill set than the young men he coached previously. The Indian men were typically smaller than other college players, but they were fast and agile. The footballers at the Indian School also gave Warner more flexibility with his plays. Warner developed several new types of plays throughout his tenure at Carlisle, which his players quickly learned. Warner was important to the Carlisle football team in many ways, but he is probably best known for his work with Jim Thorpe, Carlisle’s defeat of the Army team in 1912, and his contributions to the modern game of football. Thorpe showed his talent throughout the game and led the team to a 27-6 victory over the favored Army team. Additionally, Warner made another contribution to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School when he wrote the school song “Old Carlisle, Dear Carlisle,” that was sung to the tune of “Oh, Tannenbaum.”

During his coaching career at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Pop Warner lived in an unassuming house on Pratt Avenue. Built in 1905, the house “adopts a traditional American foursquare domestic design.” Today, the building is used as family quarters.

 
 

  Pratt Hall

 

The one-story structure was built in 1908, for use as doctors’ quarters for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, and is named after Brig. Gen. Richard Pratt, its founder. The dwelling, which has been repurposed as an Army lodging unit, has since been transformed in the two-story building that it is today.

Highlights:
  • Constructed in 1908
  • Named after Brigadier General Richard Henry Pratt, founder and first superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School
  • The building is now used as Army lodging.
 
 

  Quarters 2

 

Quarters 2 was originally constructed in 1821 on the site where the head¬quarters of Col. John Stanwix, who established the original post during the French and Indian War, once stood. It was used as military officers quarters until Confederates burned it to the ground in 1863. However, by 1864 it had been rebuilt on a grander scale, with 10 rooms, two wings, and a large porch. From 1879-1904 it was the home of Brig. Gen. Richard H. Pratt, founder and superintendent of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Quarters 2 was renovated in 1913 with the addition of a colonial revival style portico. It has since been renovated and converted into family housing.

Highlights:
  • Built in 1821
  • Initially used as officers quarters, then personal quarters for Pratt
  • Rebuilt in 1864, after Confederates burned it down
 
 

  Quarters 3

 

Quarters Three was built in 1891 by Carlisle Indian Industrial School students, with the help of local contractor Andrew Wetzel, as a vocational training project. During that period it served as the Carlisle Indian Industrial School administration building. When Carlisle Barracks later housed General Hospital No. 31 and eventually the Medical Field Service School, Quarters 3 served as post headquarters. It was later remodeled and has been converted into family housing.

Highlights:
  • Built in 1891 by Carlisle Indian Industrial School students
  • Initially served as the administration building
  • Served as post headquarters during the General Hospital No. 31 era
 
 

  Root Hall

 

In November 1901, Secretary of War Elihu Root established the Army General Staff and the U.S. Army War College. The college was established at what is now Ft. McNair, formerly the Washington Barracks, in Washington D.C. Created not only to serve as the Army’s first professional education beyond West Point, the college also helped advise the President, devise plans, acquire information, and direct the intellectual exercise of the Army. The first class of the College was made up of six Captains and three Majors of the Army and the Marine Corps in November 1904. In 1916, the relationship between the Army General Staff and the War College came to an end with the passing of the National Defense Act. Also in that year, the U.S. engagement in WWI led to the closing of the college due to a need for the officers in combat. After two years, the College reopened in the fall of 1919. After the reopening, some of WWII’s top officers attended the War College, such as: Generals Dwight Eisenhower, George Patton, Omar Bradley, and Admiral Halsey. During the 1940’s, the College closed again due to a requirement for experienced officers in WWII. It reopened in the 1950’s to address the need for more officers with advanced education. Army Chief of Staff, General J. Lawton Collins, re-established the college in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in 1950 for a single class year. The Army War College finally moved to its current location the Carlisle Barracks in 1951. Today, the College, which is located in Root Hall, stands as the pinnacle of advanced education in the Army and the college has produced some of the most accomplished staff level officers in the U.S. military. Every year, the class also includes several International Fellows (IFs) from countries around the world including: Britain, Canada, Ukraine, Mali, and Afghanistan.

 
 

  Royal American Circle

 

The military history of Carlisle is a long and varied one. Royal American Circle on Carlisle Barracks pays tribute to that history with a plaque and its name. Carlisle was established in 1750 when the Pennsylvania colonial government decided to send a small group of Soldiers to defend a stockade built to protect the town of Carlisle; it also served as the departure point for Colonel John Armstrong’s raid on the Indian Village, Kittanning, in 1756. Finally, the arrival of British Colonel John Stanwix and the 60th Royal American Regiment in Carlisle on May 30, 1757, marked the establishment of the first real military camp at Carlisle. During the French and Indian War, Carlisle served as an important post for the British Army who defended Western Pennsylvanian settlements from French and Native American raids. Colonel Henry Bouquet, deputy commander to General John Forbes from 1758-1759, used Carlisle as his supply base and established it as the main post during the campaign to capture Fort Duquesne in 1758.

With the beginning of the American Revolution, the function of Carlisle Barracks changed. In 1776, General George Washington established the “Public Works of Carlisle,” which included a forge, after he appropriated the necessary funds from Congress. Renamed Washingtonburg for the famous General, the site served as the main supplier of goods, weapons, and ammunition to the Continental Army throughout the Revolutionary War.

Highlights:
  • Military history of Carlisle begins in 1750
  • British Colonel John Armstrong lead the raid on the Indian Village of Kittanning in 1756 from Carlisle
  • Arrival of British Colonel John Stanwix and the 60th Royal American Regiment in 1757 marks the establishment of the Carlisle Barracks
  • The Barracks served as an outpost for British troops who defended Western Pennsylvanian settlements from Indian attacks during the French and Indian War
  • 1776 marks the establishment of the “Public Works of Carlisle,” which was the main supplier of the Continental Army throughout the Revolutionary War
 
 

  Thorpe Gym

 

Built sometime before 1887 by Carlisle Indian Industrial School students, Thorpe Gym is one of the two physical fitness facilities on Carlisle Barracks. The building has retained its original purpose as it was also a gym for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. The facility was enlarged in 1887, adding the three-story front, then renovated in 1976 and again in 2001. It was named after the famed athlete, Jim Thorpe (of Sac and Fox Indian heritage), in 1954 since he won both the Decathlon and Pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. He is the only athlete to ever win both of these events, though his medals were later taken away and his records stricken from the book because he had played two years of semi-professional baseball which disqualified him from the games as he was not an amateur athlete as the International Olympic Committee required at the time. Also in 1912, he was awarded the, “All Around Amateur Athletic Union Champion of the U.S.” His achievements and resulting fame brought recognition and funding to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Today, the gym continues to be used in its original function. The original gym remains and the building has been expanded to include other workout facilities.

Highlights:
  • Built in 1887 by Carlisle Indian Industrial School students
  • One of three physical fitness facilities on post
  • Altered three times: 1895, 1976, 2007
  • Thorpe is the only athlete ever to win both the Decathlon and Pentathlon in the Olympics
  • Continued usage as a gym
 
 

  Upton Hall

 

The site of Upton Hall has seen numerous changes throughout the history of Carlisle Barracks. Originally, this was the site of the “Public Works of Carlisle,” which was established in 1776 by George Washington with funds appropriated from Congress. The “Public Works of Carlisle” became the main supplier of goods, weapons, and ammunition to the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The forge of the “Public Works of Carlisle” manufactured many weapons and goods, including nails, swords, and muskets on site.

Before and during the Civil War, this site housed Barracks Two, which served many purposes. Prior to it’s burning in 1863, Barracks Two served as soldiers’ housing. Rebuilt in 1867 and utilized by garrison Soldiers and the band in 1870. During the era of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, it became a large boys’ dormitory until the school closed. The building then served as a hospital ward when General Hospital No. 31 operated on post. Finally, during the early years of the medical school's operation on post, it served as enlisted men’s quarters. It was then turned over for academic use and renamed Hoff Hall, in honor of Major John R. Hoff.

On April 29, 1939, Hoff Hall was determined unsafe and needed to be rebuilt. August 1, 1940 marked the start of this project and within three weeks, Hoff Hall was torn down. The new building became an academic facility and better served the Medical Field Service School, which later relocated to Fort Sam Houston in Texas in 1946. Between 1946 and 1951, six schools used Hoff Hall: Army Information, Military Police, Adjutant General, Chaplain Corps, Army Security Agency, and a school for the Government of Occupied Areas. These schools later moved to other Army posts.

Renamed Root Hall after Army War College founder Elihu Root in 1951, the Army War College used the building for classrooms until the College moved to the new Root Hall in 1967. After construction of Root Hall, the building was renamed Upton Hall, after General Emory Upton. The U.S. Army Military History Institute (USAMHI) was located in Upton Hall from 1967 to 2004 when, as part of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC), it moved to Ridgway Hall. Upton Hall now serves as the headquarters for the U.S. Army Garrison, Carlisle Barracks, and the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI).

Highlights:
  • Originally the site of the “Public Works of Carlisle,” founded in 1776
  • It was home to Barracks Two before and after the Civil War
  • Barracks Two burned in 1863 and was rebuilt I 1867
  • Barracks Two was demolished again in 1940 and the current structure was built
  • The building was home to six different Army schools between 1946 and 1951
  • Renamed Root Hall in 1951 and used as the home of the Army War College (AWC)
  • In 1967 the AWC moved to the current Root Hall and old Root Hall was renamed Upton Hall
  • The Military History Institute (MHI) was located there from 1967-2004
  • In 2004 Military History Institute (MHI), as part of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center (USAHEC), moved to Ridgeway Hall
  • Today, Upton Hall is the headquarters for the U.S. Army Garrison, the Carlisle Barracks, and the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI)
 
 

  Washington Hall

 

Built in 1884, Washington Hall represents the beginning of Carlisle’s importance in the 18th century. The building was named after President George Washington, whose presence was required in Carlisle during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Washington assembled militia troops from Pennsylvania and New Jersey in Carlisle Square to quell the uprising against a liquor tax in Western Pennsylvania. Washington Hall, though not in existence at the time of this, serves as a reminder of Washington’s importance in American history and his involvement in Carlisle.

Originally used as the hospital for the Carlisle Indian Industrial School (1879-1918), Washington Hall transitioned to a dormitory as the school continued to grow. During Washington Hall’s time as a dormitory, the building housed football coach “Pop” Warner’s athletes. In fact, Jim Thorpe lived in a corner room of the building with his roommate and fellow athlete Gus Welch. Today Washington Hall is one of three lodging facilities on post.

Highlights:
  • Built in 1884
  • Named after George Washington's involvement in the Whiskey Rebellion
  • Originally used as a hospital, then a dormitory, then housed "Pop" Warner's athletes, including Jim Thorpe and his roommate and fellow athlete Gus Welch
  • Now serves as lodging for visitors to Carlisle Barracks
 
 

  Wheelock Bandstand

 

Built in 1980, the Wheelock Bandstand sits near the site of the previous bandstand, which was built in 1867. It was named after a former student of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Dennis Wheelock. Wheelock, a celebrated composer and compiler of Indian music, was also the school’s first Indian bandmaster. When the barracks became a military base again, the band would perform on nights and weekends as well as for ceremonial purposes. The bandstand now functions as the center of the U.S. Army War College graduation ceremonies and concerts.

Highlights:
  • Built in 1980
  • Named after Dennis Wheelock, a former student of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and the first bandmaster
  • Now functions as the center of the U.S. Army War College graduation ceremonies and concerts