Named after Meriwether Lewis from the Lewis and Clark Expedition and formed during World War I, the joint army and air force base Fort Lewis still stands active today. The 70,000 acres was originally bought for 2 million dollars and was called Camp Lewis. Because the fort was built during the war over 10,000 men had to come together for a quick formation. In 90 days the men had built 1,757 buildings as well as 422 other structures. Citizens not only constructed these building but each had been serviced with light, plumbing and heat. After the buildings were constructed the men worked on the roads and finished with the main gate with is still standing today. With the ending of WWI a time of peace came and the Camp fell to the hands of neglect. The citizens of Tacoma petitioned to get the land back from the U.S. military and in lieu of the neglect congress passed a 10 year plan to bring new life to the old post. With the onset of WWII Fort Lewis was bustling with activity again and the number of troops raised from 5,000 to 37,000 and new additions were added to the fort to house the soldiers. Growth only continued as the Cold War came and passed and Fort Lewis became more valuable. Although the fort has gone through many changes as the hard times of war and time have worn on it, the fort today joined forces with the air force in 2010 and became what is now one of only 12 joint bases in the world and houses the U.S. Army Fort Lewis and the McChord Air Force Base.
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While visiting the post whether it is just to see the area or to visit the solider in your life there are two different places to stay on post. The Rainer and Evergreen Inn both provide lodging for visitors with on base. If you are looking for something interesting to fill your time on base there are two museums worth a stop in to look around. The first of the two museums is the historic Fort Lewis museum where you can walk through and see exhibits that help show the vast history of Fort Lewis that was only mentioned briefly above. The newer McCord Ari Force Museum, offers collections that have been gathered over time to look through in the self guided museum. Also at this facility is the free standing control tower. Lowered to the ground in 1997 the tower is now part of the museum where you are walk about and admire a control tower hands on. One of the more stimulating pieces of the museum is the Delta Dart simulator. Back in the 1980s this Aircrew Training Device (ATD) was considered a surplus a donated to the museum where today you can hop in the cockpit and feel what is like to sit the world’s fastest single engine fighter. The museum also has a C-141 simulator on site.