Our answer for Saturday's "Did You Know" question is provided by Steve Rinck, former president of the Dade Battlefield Society, current president of the Seminole Wars Foundation, and an avid researcher into the park’s history:
“As it was known then, Dade Memorial Park, along with some private property beyond its borders, had begun its transformation into an Army camp as early as 1942. About fifteen hundred thirty acres to the northeast of town were leased for construction of two airfields by the 841st Aviation Engineers Battalion, and beginning in 1943 pilots and air crews were being trained there. Park property was transformed into a military base housing many of the personnel already in the area. The 622nd Signal Aircraft Warning Company provided training on aircraft warning equipment, including the new radar early warning systems.
The original buildings and statuary mixed in with a hastily constructed headquarters, mess hall, supply building, shower room, radio shack, motor pool, and multiple residence tents. Furniture was donated for recreational use and weekly USO dances were organized in town. Junior Woman’s Club members encouraged all women to show their patriotism by doing “everything possible for the welfare and entertainment of our boys.” All servicemen from the 622nd, as well as a significant number of personnel from the other units, were housed at Dade Memorial Park from January to June of 1944. By that time, the 622nd was reconfigured as part of Warning Squadron D and was ultimately ordered to relocate to Orange County, a more centralized location for supply and communications. By mid-August, all the temporary buildings were removed from Dade Park to be repositioned at Ocoee, and the grounds were once again open for the use of the very patient and loyal citizens of the Bushnell area."