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The Mississippi River Basin Model and Camp Clinton Exhibits and Presentations

March 27, 2024

Discover something new at the Clinton Visitor Center two upcoming events. The Mississippi River Basin Model Is a large-scale hydraulic representation of the entire Mississippi River Basin, covering an area of 200 acres.   The site was originally built with the help of German prisoners of war who were housed at Camp Clinton.  Camp Clinton became home to 3,000 captured German soldiers.  These landmarks are examples of local history and groundbreaking advancements.

Mississippi River Basin Model, on Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 6:30 PM
Presentation by Aaron J. Morris, President, Friends of the Mississippi River Basin Model; and Vice President/National Geospatial Executive for Michael Baker International, Inc.

In response to the Great Floods of 1927 and 1938, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers embarked on a mission to understand flooding on a national scale.  Over the next 23-years they constructed the world’s largest engineering model adjacent to the City of Clinton.  The presentation will guide your journey through the 80-year history of the Mississippi River Basin Model, examine the current state of the facility, and showcase the efforts of local volunteers to restore this engineering marvel to provide opportunities in the sciences for the youth of Mississippi.

Camp Clinton, Saturday, April 6, 2024 from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Exhibit by Mike Allard, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, research historian for 27 years, retired; and by Tommy Leggett, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Director of Logistics, and Aircraft Manager serving 33 years, retired.

Few people today are aware that from 1942 to 1946 more than 440,000 German, Italian, and Japanese prisoners of war were interned in the United States.  Of that number, approximately 20,000 were held in camps in Mississippi.  Located just south of the City of Clinton, Camp Clinton, as it was designated, became “home” for 3,000 captured German soldiers.

Camp Clinton is particularly significant for two key reasons.  First, the prisoners provided the labor during the initial, and most tedious, phase of construction of the Mississippi River Basin Model.  Their work, valued at several million dollars, allowed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with the massive project during wartime.  In the decades after completion, data collected from the model during tests helped to save billions of dollars in property damage and loss due to flooding.  Second, a special compound constructed at Camp Clinton was where all but a few of the German generals held in the United States were confined.  Out of nearly forty generals in American captivity, thirty-five were at one time or another at Camp Clinton.  There was no other such facility for German generals.

The Clinton Visitor Center, located at 1300 Pinehaven Road, at Milepost 89 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. For more details call 601-924-2221.