World War I in the 1910s spurred new growth and a desire to maintain an artillery training ground at Fort Bragg. Throughout the 1920s, the installation succeeded in becoming such a place.
However, with a mixture of temporary and permanent structures, Fort Bragg had yet to become the place Brig. Gen. Albert J. Bowley, Fort Bragg garrison commander, had envisioned.
By 1928, more and more permanent structures were built and a plan was put in place that would take the next 13 years to be fully realized. It was with this plan that the historic sector of Fort Bragg began to take shape.
What is now considered the Old Post Historic District of Fort Bragg comprises of 556 acres. The Historic District spreads from Ryder Golf Course to Letterman Street and from Reilly Road to Bragg Boulevard. This area was chosen because it was relatively flat compared to the rest of Fort Bragg.
The building plans for this area included the creation of a chevron type design around the Main Post Parade Field. Looking at a current aerial map of Fort Bragg, the chevron design really begins to pop for those who are looking for it. The current location of the Iron Mike statue at the end of Randolph Street is the focal point of the chevron.
From this roundabout, Armistead, Dyer, Randolph and Adams streets spread out in a chevron pattern towards present day Reilly Road, and it was around this design that the most important buildings of Fort Bragg were planned. The first phase of the permanent structure building took place between 1927 and 1931.
On the corner of Armistead and Macomb streets, the Post Hospital was built and completed in 1932. Today, that building houses the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters. By 1934, the Post Headquarters was built on Macomb Street, facing the Post Hospital.
The Post Chapel, now called the Main Post Chapel, was built facing towards the newly created Post Parade Field, and nearby a theater was also completed.
On the other side of Macomb, brick barracks were erected, buildings that are still in use today as offices. The Federal Artillery Board Building was completed on Scott Street, solidifying Fort Bragg as the artillery center of the U.S. Army.
All of the administrative buildings found in the Historic District were built in the Georgian Revival style except for the Telephone Exchange.
On the South side of Randolph Street, officers’ quarters were built in the newly designated Normandy Heights neighborhood. These buildings were completed in stucco, built in Spanish Eclectic style and are still used for officer housing.
Along Armistead Street, the Officers’ Club was also built using the Spanish Eclectic style and served as the gatehouse to the Ryder Golf Course. The polo field between Knox and Hamilton streets helped provide another recreational area for Soldiers who called Bragg “home.”
The historic district on the east end of Randolph was served by rail spurs and contained ordnance buildings, the Quartermaster Office Building, the Bakery and the Commissary. A steel Motor Repair Shop was also built along this street.
The chevron designed area of Fort Bragg wasn’t the only place on the installation getting a facelift. Pope Field also began to build permanent structures in the early 1930s. The airfield was seen as a location that would be greatly needed as warfare became more advanced.
With the combination of artillery and air power, Fort Bragg and Pope could train Soldiers in an area of warfare not previously explored. World War I had shown the U.S. that advancement in warfare tactics would be necessary.
In 1935, Pope hosted 535 aircraft in one day of training operations, and put itself on the map as an aerial training locale. However, the runways remained largely unpaved until after World War II. The Historic District at Pope Army Airfield includes 32 buildings such as Fleming Hall and the Old Firestation.
While the rest of the world felt the pangs of the Great Depression, the expansion of Fort Bragg flourished. Largely untouched by the economic crisis, the construction continued and Bragg began to take shape as a true military tour-de-force.
By the time President Franklin D. Roosevelt instated the draft in 1940, Fort Bragg was ready for its second World War.
(Editors Note: information for this article was provided by the Fort Bragg Old Post Historic District Landscape Report, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Megan Weaver Tooker, Ellen Hartman, and Adam Smith, January 2011; and Fort Bragg, Boiler House, Photographs and Written Historical and Discriptive Data, Historic American Buildings Survey, National Park Service, Southeast Region, Deparment of the Interior, Atlanta, Georgia, 2001.)