Fort Ethan Allen (1)
Fort Ethan Allen (1) (1892-1944, 1950-1951, 1952-1960) - A U.S. Army cavalry and field artillery training post, first established in 1892 on land once owned by the man it is named for. Located in Chittenden County, Vermont. Named in G.O. 21, 1893, after Colonel Ethan Allen, Revolutionary War patriot, hero, and politician. Deactivated by the Army in 1944 and reactivated by the U.S. Air Force as Ethan Allen Air Force Base in 1952. Finally closed in 1960.
First established on 5 Aug 1892 and first occupied on 28 Sep 1894 by the 3rd U.S. Cavalry. It was one of the largest cavalry and field artillery training posts in the United States with a population of up to 8,000 people and 1,800 horses. Quarters for the cavalry included two 240 man cavalry barracks and an officers row with brick quarters that included a commander's quarters, bachelor officer quarters, and duplex quarters for the company grade married officers. Officer's row curved around a large central parade. The post was electrified in 1905 and an electric trolly was extended to the post that same year. A great stone water tower provided sufficient water for the post.
During the World War I the post was one of 15 designated officer training camps in the country and the post had as many as 8,000 troops on the post. During World War II Fort Ethan Allen was again used as a training post. Fort Ethan Allen was deactivated by the U.S. Army in 1944 and used for military storage.
A portion of the old fort was used by the United States Air Force from February 1950 to September 1951 as one of 44 temporary radar sites in the Lashup System. This system was established at the beginning of the Cold War to counter a growing threat from the Soviet Union. The Lashup system was replaced by 1952 with Permanent System Radar Sites and the coverage provided by the Fort Ethan Allen site (L-3) was assumed by the new Saint Albans Air Force Station (P-14).
The old fort was acquired by the United States Air Force in 1952 and renamed Ethan Allen Air Force Base. The Base closed down in 1960 and was declared surplus in 1962.
The University of Vermont owned quite a bit of property in the fort after it closed and St. Michael’s college now owns a portion of the site. Officers row quarters were sold off to developers in the late 1980s and converted into private condominiums. Some of the barracks have been converted to classrooms for St Michaels and several are now apartment buildings. The riding hall was refurbished and now houses the Vermont Youth Orchestra. The infirmary is now a nursing home. The Veterinary Hospital now houses Vermont Public Radio and all of the stables and garages at the back of the fort are privately owned businesses and run the gamut of a small engine repair shop to an artist studio.
There is a small marker attached to a boulder at the entrance to officers row and many of the historic buildings are marked.