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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

George S. Patton, Jr.

In recent months, the museum has received several requests by the public for photographs of George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945). This decorated war hero was stationed at the U.S. Army post at Fort Sheridan (near Highwood, Illinois) from 1909-1911.

George S. Patton Jr. at Fort Sheridan, circa 1911. Fort Sheridan Collection, Dunn Museum 92.24.1966.

After graduating from West Point, Patton took a commission as a 2nd lieutenant with the 15th Cavalry and was stationed at Fort Sheridan. A year later, in 1910, he married Beatrice Banning Ayer (1886-1953), and moved into Building 92—a two-family (duplex) lieutenants quarters built in 1905. The attached photo shows Patton on horseback on Leonard Wood Avenue, possibly in front of Building 92 where he lived, circa 1910.

In World War I, Patton made the transition from cavalry to tanks, serving with the U.S. Tank Corps. He was an outspoken advocate of the tank as a modern combat weapon, and during World War II became the U.S. Army’s leading strategist in tank warfare.

Checking the museum’s database for all related Patton photographs, I noticed there were photos for a “Patton Road” at Fort Sheridan. This was incorrect—either a typo or the cataloguer was not aware of the error—as there is no Patton Road with an “o” at the Fort, but rather a Patten Road with an “e.”

The confusion over the name has come up when I’ve given tours of the Fort. Visitors notice that the road just south of Patton’s former residence (Building 92) is Patten Road, but don’t recognize the slight spelling difference and believe it’s named for the famous cavalry officer. However, Patten Road is named for Amanda Buchanan Patten (Mrs. James A. Patten), a resident of Evanston, Illinois. In 1929, Mrs. Patten donated the funds to build the south gate of the post as well as an athletic field. The South Gate at Fort Sheridan is known as “Patten Gate” for this reason, and not for George S. Patton, Jr.

You may also enjoy my post From Cavalry to Tanks.

For more on the history of Fort Sheridan and the Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve: Fort Sheridan military lesson plans and photo cards. 


Barry Bradford said...

Thank you for posting the picture as well as the interesting commentary!

Unknown said...

My great grandfather and family (of seven) was stationed at Fort Sheridan in 1900, and my great grandmother was laid to rest at the Fort Sheridan cemetery in 1901. Are you able to point me in the direction of any public records indicating what residence where they were located? Thank you in advance. BL

Diana Dretske said...

Hello Bill,
Your great grandfather and his family were housed according to his rank and marital status. Do you know his rank while stationed at the Fort?
Thanks for reading and commenting!