Early in 1942, during World War II, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers acquired 640 acres along two miles of U. S. Route 30 South (now State Route 309) from ten landowners. By June 11 of that year, the farm families were removed and construction of The Marion Engineer Depot (MED) began, costing $4 million. The first military encampment in Marion County, the 333rd Engineering Regiment, arrived in May and established its camp in a wheat field. They lived in tents while constructing streets and railroad tracks around the Depot. MED was dedicated on December 7, 1942. During the war, food, munitions, equipment, and other military supplies flowed in and out of MED and heavy machinery was renovated. Peak employment came in July 1944 with 1,487 civilian and 47 military personnel on site.
(Continued on other side)
Side B :
(Continued from other side)
The Marion Engineer Depot served the armed forces for 16 more years following World War II. Under protest from state and community leaders, government operations were phased out by June 30, 1961. Through the years, the complex of cement block buildings and open storage sheds was adapted for use by various civilian industries and organizations. Additional users of the area have been River Valley Junior and Senior High Schools, MARCA School and Industries, Marion Senior Center, and Kennedy Park athletic fields. Much of the area was unused for over 20 years, and deteriorated. In 1989 the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers sold the MED site at auction to Ted Graham for $1.1 million. By 2003, renovations and improvements costing over $26 million turned the property into a distribution, storage, and manufacturing complex employing approximately 1,000 people.