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Farragut Naval Training Station

Coordinates: 47°57′54″N 116°34′55″W / 47.965°N 116.582°W / 47.965; -116.582
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Farragut Naval Training Station
Bayview, Idaho, U.S.
Near Sandpoint, Coeur d'Alene, Spokane, WA
  Farragut is located in USA West
  Farragut is located in Idaho
Coordinates47°57′54″N 116°34′55″W / 47.965°N 116.582°W / 47.965; -116.582
Site information
Owner United States of America
Controlled by United States Navy
Site history
In use1942–1946
Battles/warsWorld War II
Garrison information
Captain Frank H. Kelley (1943–46)
Captain Ingram C. Sowell (1942–43)
GarrisonRecruit Training

Farragut Naval Training Station was a U.S. Navy training center during World War II in the Western United States. It was located in Northern Idaho at the south end of Lake Pend Oreille at Bayview, between Coeur d'Alene and Sandpoint.[1][2] The base was named after David Farragut (1801–1870), the first admiral in the U.S. Navy and the leading naval officer during the Civil War. The site became Farragut State Park 58 years ago in 1966.

World War II[edit]

Farragut NTS, Idaho
Class 218, ca. 1943

Ground was broken on the 4,160-acre (1,700 ha) naval reservation in March 1942,[3] and its first phase opened in early August;[4] by September the base had a population of 55,000, making it the largest "city" in the state.[5] At the time, Farragut was the second-largest training center in the world (behind Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago),[2] and liberty trains ran three times daily to Spokane, Washington,[6] about an hour away.

Rail service aboard the station was provided by the Northern Pacific Railway over a 5½-mile (9 km) line that connected to the NP main line at Athol. The first freight train reached the facility on 5 June 1942.[7]

A shipment of 75 lifeboats, removed from passenger liners held in port by war restrictions, was received in June 1942,[3] and Wallace-born movie star Lana Turner, who was promoting War Bonds to base contract employees, made an appearance.[8][9][10][11][12] The installation was formally activated in mid-September;[13][14] a few days later, it was visited by President Roosevelt, part of a nationwide tour which was kept secret until he returned to the White House.[15][16][17]

In 1942, Lt. Commander Henry T. McMaster, supervisor of support services at the station, contracted photographer Ross Hall to produce group and portrait photos of all recruits and companies. Operator of a studio in nearby Sandpoint, Hall employed up to fifteen workers in creating a photographic archive of more than 300,000 images.[18]

The base was used as a prisoner of war camp in 1945, run by the U.S. Army; nearly 900 Germans, most captured shortly after D-Day, worked as gardeners and maintenance personnel.[19] [20][21][22][23][24] The POW's removed eight inches (20 cm) of snow from the football field just prior to the game against the visiting University of Idaho Vandals on 10 November, 1945.[25] Migrating deer were a traffic hazard and hunting was prohibited on federal property.[26]

Over 293,000 sailors received basic training at Farragut during its 30 months of existence. The last recruit graduated in March 1945 and the facility was decommissioned in June 1946.[27][28]


From 1946–49, it was the site of the Farragut College and Technical Institute,[5][29][30][31][32] which had copious athletic facilities.[33] It ceased operations prior to the fall term in 1949, due to decreased enrollment and financial difficulties.[34][35]

In 1950, 3,854 acres (1,600 ha) were transferred to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and became Farragut Wildlife Management Area. In 1964, 2,566 acres (1,000 ha) were transferred back to the federal government. This land was then deeded back to the state of Idaho and became Farragut State Park in 1966.[36]

A remaining military feature of the state park is the Museum at the Brig, located in the confinement facility of the naval training station. Its displays include boot camp, naval, and war memorabilia as well as historic prison cells.[37]

Don Samuelson, a future governor, was stationed at Farragut as a weapons instructor. Originally from Illinois in the Midwest, he stayed in Sandpoint after the war and was elected governor in 1966.[19]

The Drill Hall at the base was shipped to Colorado after the war and became the University of Denver Arena,[38] which served for nearly a half century as the home of DU Pioneers ice hockey. It was razed in 1997 to make way for the current Magness Arena.[citation needed]

The Navy has maintained a presence on Lake Pend Oreille at Bayview with its Acoustic Research Detachment, part of the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. In the deep (1,150 feet (350 m)) and isolated waters of Lake Pend Oreille, scaled-down prototypes of submarines are tested; a free-field ocean-like environment is available without the problems and costs.[39][40][41][42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Giant naval center at Farragut, Idaho, is revealed from air". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. (photo). 21 October 1945. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b Gidlund, Carl (17 December 2005). "Historical Farragut". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. (Handle Extra). p. 15.
  3. ^ a b "Boats are sent to navy plant". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 12 June 1942. p. 12.
  4. ^ "Thousands witnessed the ceremonies at Farragut naval station, Sunday". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 3 August 1942. p. 5.
  5. ^ a b "Time changes face of former Farragut Naval Training Center". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 2 August 1957. p. 30.
  6. ^ "Third train added on Farragut line". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 8 March 1944. p. 8.
  7. ^ "Athol-Bayview 1st train today". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 5 June 1942. p. 6.
  8. ^ Jensen, Janet (25 August 1984). "Farragut memories will be shared Sunday". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. p. 1.
  9. ^ "Lana is handed huge pledge by Farragut crew". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 19 June 1942. p. 5.
  10. ^ "Lana smiles at Bayview crew". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. (photo). 20 June 1942. p. 3.
  11. ^ "Lana is thrilled in "home town"". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 20 June 1942. p. 3.
  12. ^ Roesler, Rich (2 July 1995). "Lana Turner still star in Wallace". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. p. A1.
  13. ^ "Farragut station goes into service". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 15 September 1942. p. 1.
  14. ^ "Farragut is formally opened, welcomed by cities and state". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 16 September 1942. p. 10.
  15. ^ "President Roosevelt pays secret visit to Farragut on nation-wide tour". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 1 October 1942. p. 1.
  16. ^ "F.D.R. on tour finds production speeding toward goal". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 2 October 1942. p. 1.
  17. ^ Cornell, Douglas B. (2 October 1942). "Nation's war production and training progress is commended by F.D.R. after secret inspection tour". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Lewiston, Id. Associated Press. p. 1.
  18. ^ Love, Marianne (Summer 1996). "Farragut Caught in Time". Sandpoint Magazine. Lewiston, Id.: Keokee Co. Publishing, Inc.
  19. ^ a b Love, Marianne (Summer 1996). "Sailors Ahoy!". Sandpoint Magazine. Sandpoint, Id.: Keokee Co. Publishing, Inc.
  20. ^ "Farragut to get German prisoners". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 7 February 1945. p. 5.
  21. ^ Halladay, Don C. (19 March 1945). "German war prisoners at Farragut well fed". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. p. 1.
  22. ^ Halladay, Don C. (20 March 1945). "War prisoners work under code of honor". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. p. 1.
  23. ^ Halladay, Don C. (21 March 1945). "Farragut feeds prisoners well". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. p. 1.
  24. ^ Halladay, Don C. (22 March 1945). "German salute greets visitors". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. p. 1.
  25. ^ "Farragut Sailors defeat Idaho Vandals 14-6". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Lewiston, Id. Associated Press. 11 November 1945. p. 9.
  26. ^ "Migrating deer crowd Navy training camp". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 4 December 1944. p. 7.
  27. ^ "Farragut center decommissioned". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. 15 June 1946. p. 1.
  28. ^ "Farragut closed in formal Navy flag ceremony". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Lewiston, Id. Associated Press. 16 June 1946. p. 2.
  29. ^ "Farragut U. opening is set". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 29 September 1946. p. 17.
  30. ^ "185 register as Farragut opens". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. 15 October 1946. p. 6.
  31. ^ "Ex-GIs start own college". Milwaukee Journal. North American Newspaper Alliance. 26 September 1946. p. 7, part 3.
  32. ^ French, Ellsworth C. (16 November 1948). "Farragut education leaders study the college outlook". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. p. a3.
  33. ^ Roskelley, Fenton A. (1 November 1946). "Sports facilities fabulous at Farragut--but no teams". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. p. 15.
  34. ^ French, Ellsworth C. (1 November 1949). "Giant Farragut installation rapidly being whittled away". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Spokane, Wash. p. 5.
  35. ^ "Farragut College and Technical Institute records, 1946-1950". Archives West. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  36. ^ Staff (July 1999). "Farragut Wildlife Management Area: Management Plan" (PDF). Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  37. ^ "Museum at the Brig" (PDF). Idaho Parks and Recreation. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
  38. ^ Missildine, Harry (27 May 1963). "Farragut furnished DU rink". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Wash. p. 10.
  39. ^ "Acoustic Research Detachment". Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2008.
  40. ^ "Acoustic Research Detachment". Bayview, Idaho: United States Navy. NSWC Carderock Division. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  41. ^ Geranios, Nicholas K. (23 August 1998). "Small submarines test silent, test deep in mysterious Idaho lake". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  42. ^ "Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division Bayview Acoustic Research Detachment". YouTube. 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2018.

External links[edit]