Camp Matthews

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Camp Matthews (1942-1964) - A Marine Corps Camp first established during World War I near La Jolla, San Diego County, California. Known as Marine Rifle Range, La Jolla, under Marine Corps Base, San Diego. Expanded during World War II and officially named Camp Matthews on 23 Mar 1942 after then Lieutenant Colonel Calvin B. Matthews, USMC, who was a Marine Corps marksman. Abandoned in 1964.

Camp Matthews Rifle Range.
Camp Matthews Rifle Range.
Camp Matthews Memorial Marker on UCSD La Jolla Campus.

History of Camp Matthews

Camp Matthews Sentry Box.
Che Cafe former Camp Matthews Building.

Establishedin 1918 during World War I as a Marine Corps rifle range to train recruits. The first headquarters buildings were built in 1927 and the first detachment barracks were built in 1928. During the 1930s and 1940s, more buildings and barracks were constructed as well more firing ranges. During these years, the base had no official name but was called Marine Rifle Range, La Jolla.

Expanded after the start of World War II to a permanent garrison of some 700 and fixed facilities including an administrative building, mess hall, postoffice and theater. During World War II, the camp processed as many as 9,000 marines every three weeks. Training continued through the Korean War.

By 1956 there were six rifle ranges, one pistol range, one mortor/flame thrower/hand grenade/bazooka range, three small bore ranges, one skeet range and three school ranges. Camp buildings consisted of seven barracks, approximately 270 tents, administrative buildings, quartermaster storerooms, magazines, armory, maintenance shops, service station, and main post exchange.


In the 1960s civilian development forced the Marine Corps to close the camp. The Marine Corps then shifted recruit and other weapons training to Camp Pendleton (2) at Seaside California where it continues to this day. Camp Matthews officially closed on 21 August 1964.

Current Status

Camp Matthews Marker Text.

Much of the former camp is now part of the campus of the University of California at La Jolla and the La Jolla VA Hospital. A memorial plaque is located on the campus. The actual remaining structures are few in number and most heve been extensivel modified and repurposed. One of the Camp's concrete sentry boxes has been preserved on the east side of the campus. Plexiglass has been used to protect and display the G.I. graffiti inside the sentry box. The most colorful remaining building is probably the Che Cafe on the south side of the campus

Former Camp Matthews Buildings
Current Building Original Use GPS Notes
Sentry Booth Sentry Booth 32.88085,
Che Cafe Building Unknown 32.87256,
Stuart Collection Storage Unknown 32.88442,
Seaweed Canyon Quonset Storage Unknown 32.86457,
Cross Cultural Center Unknown 32.87978,
517 University Center Unknown 32.87968,
409 University Center Unknown 32.87907,
401 University Center Unknown 32.87816,
302 University Center Unknown 32.878,
301 University Center Unknown 32.87772,
202 University Center 4 Relocated Buldings 32.87755,
201 University Center Mess Hall 32.87763,

Location: La Jolla, San Diego County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 32.87764 Long: -117.23704

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'

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Visited: 5 Nov 2015

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