Our Proud History
The History of Camp Keyes
Aerial View of Camp Keyes circa 1930's
Aerial View of Camp Keyes and the Augusta Airport
Tent Housing at Camp Keyes
Another view of buildings at Camp Keyes
Troops marching up Winthrop Hill (Mount Hope Cemetery in background)
Governor's Day Activities 1934 (Pictured second from left is Governor Louis J. Brann)
Bugler performing "Taps" at the end of the day
Camp Keyes soldiers pose for a picture
Camp Keyes mess hall
Camp Keyes soldiers peeling potatoes
Camp Keyes, Augusta, Maine, the headquarters for the Maine Army National Guard, is so named in honor of General Erasmus Darwin Keyes. Born on May 29, 1810 in Brimfield, Massachusetts, Keyes graduated from West Point in 1832. He later became General Winfield Scott's aide and military secretary and taught artillery and cavalry skills at West Point. During the Civil War Keyes commanded a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run. On May 17, 1861 he was promoted to Brigadier General and took command of a division. In March of 1862 President Lincoln made him the commander of the new IV Corps earning Keyes the promotion to Major General on May 5, 1862. He resigned from military service on May 6, 1864. He died in Nice, France on October 14, 1895.
General Orders Number 32 in 1862 designated three rendezvous areas "for drafted militia of the state and volunteers in lieu of the draft" appointing "George W. Ricker for the Rendezvous at Augusta, which will be known as Camp E.D. Keyes. Camp Keyes was officially designated as such by General Orders Number 34, dated 20 August 1882, signed into action by Adjutant General John L. Hodsdon.
Camp Keyes contained approximately 70 acres overlooking the City of Augusta and the strategic Kennebec area which Benedict Arnold made famous in colonial days with his march to Quebec. It was first used as an encampment for the entire state militia in 1888, and in 1889 was purchased by the State for a permanent camp ground.
Camp Keyes was the focal point of military activities in the State during World War I when it was used as both a training and a mobilization site. It continued its role as the training area for Maine National Guard units and in 1938 the Adjutant General's Department was transferred from the State House to the building it now occupies at Camp Keyes.
During World War II Camp Keyes was used extensively as a confinement area for prisoners of war and also as a training site for military police units. After World War II the development of a large part of the installation as a municipal airport doomed the area as a training site for National Guard units. It remains, however, as the command, administrative and logistical support nerve center of both the Maine Army and the Maine Air National Guard.