May 29, 1918 – Baldwin’s Restaurant

In Jay’s most recent letter, he mentioned Baldwin’s Restaurant.  Following is a photo with the restaurant ‘pointed out’ as well as a description of the place.  Sorry the photo is out of focus, the Baldwin sign really can’t be seen here.  But one gets an idea of what busy Camp Devens looked like.  And that restaurant is there someplace behind the trees.

1918.05.27 View of Baldwins

In the foreground, on the further side of the road, is the commercial center of the camp. The large sign of Baldwin’s Restaurant is visible through the trees. Formerly this cafeteria was controlled by the Baldwin Company, a private concern, under the supervision of the military authorities and contractors.

Recently, however, it was taken over by the government; it is now under the dominion of the Quartermaster’s Corps and the ticket sellers, cooks, and waiters are all enlisted men in the department.

The interior of the building is most interesting at meal-time. It is filled with soldiers who prefer the food here to that of their own mess-halls, and those who have been assigned to this place by the authorities. The men pass through a gate at the left and receive the food from a counter in the rear.

There is no choice of dishes; certain menus are prescribed for each meal. As the diner enters the main hall by another gate, he receives a check on which the amount due is punched. He then eats at one of the long wooden benches, and pays his check as he leaves the hall by a third gate.

In the rear of Baldwin’s can be seen the barracks of the 301st Light Field Artillery, and in the distance, the top of the Hostess House and the administrative building of the Y. M. C. A. The two chimneys are those of the plants which heat the buildings in the vicinity.

The road in front runs by the quarters of the 3303d Heavy Field Artillery, to the Quartermasters’ Corps and the railroad. The road at the extreme left, running perpendicular to it, is the main highway of the camp and runs from the Depot Brigade, in the rear, to the main gate, which lies in the direction of the center of the panorama.

In the foreground, on the further side of the road, is the commercial center of the camp. The large sign of Baldwin’s Restaurant is visible through the trees. Formerly this cafeteria was controlled by the Baldwin Company, a private concern, under the supervision of the military authorities and contractors.

Recently, however, it was taken over by the government; it is now under the dominion of the Quartermaster’s Corps and the ticket sellers, cooks, and waiters are all enlisted men in the department.

The interior of the building is most interesting at meal-time. It is filled with soldiers who prefer the food here to that of their own mess-halls, and those who have been assigned to this place by the authorities. The men pass through a gate at the left and receive the food from a counter in the rear.

There is no choice of dishes; certain menus are prescribed for each meal. As the diner enters the main hall by another gate, he receives a check on which the amount due is punched. He then eats at one of the long wooden benches, and pays his check as he leaves the hall by a third gate.

In the rear of Baldwin’s can be seen the barracks of the 301st Light Field Artillery, and in the distance, the top of the Hostess House and the administrative building of the Y. M. C. A. The two chimneys are those of the plants which heat the buildings in the vicinity.

The road in front runs by the quarters of the 3303d Heavy Field Artillery, to the Quartermasters’ Corps and the railroad. The road at the extreme left, running perpendicular to it, is the main highway of the camp and runs from the Depot Brigade, in the rear, to the main gate, which lies in the direction of the center of the panorama.

  – Camp Devens, by Roger Batchelder, 1918

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s