Charles Melvin Price Support Center
Granite City, IL
The Charles Melvin Price Support Center (CMPSC), better know as the "Depot", is a small installation located in Granite City, five miles east of St. Louis. The population includes 600 active duty; 1,800 family members; 2,000 Guard; 2,000 Reserve; and 250 civilians. The Charles Melvin Price Support Center's mission is to provide administrative, logistical and recreational support to all branches of the Armed Forces in the greater Metropolitan St. Louis area. The Price Center supports about 75 military and federal agencies and is made up of approximately 686 acres of land, maintains a total of 1.5 million square feet of enclosed warehouse space, and 685,000 square feet of open storage space for its customers.
The housing is divided into officer and enlisted. Buildings such as the Teen Center, Commissary, PX, Gym, Credit Union, Day Care Center, ATM, Swimming Pool, Movie Theater, Bowling Alley and Arts & Crafts Center are all in a central location.
Selected during World War I as the site of a major Army supply installation, the Center did not actually see use until the next world war. On 3 April 1942, construction began, and the Granite City Engineer Depot opened on 1 August 1942. During the war, the depot grew rapidly. In July 1943 over 4,500 railroad cars of material passed through its gates. In 1944 employment reached 5,200 people. Over 1,500 officers and 2,000 enlisted men received training in engineer supply and maintenance functions at the depot.
Except for the Korean War, the two postwar decades saw a sharp drop in depot activities. On 1 August 1962, the depot received a new name -- the Granite City Army Depot -- as it shifted from the control of the Corps of Engineers to that of the US Army Materiel Command. The depot's missions, however, remained much the same until December 1966, when it assumed support missions for the Greater St. Louis Area from the deactivated US Army Support Center.
The Center underwent two more major changes in the years ahead. On 25 June 1971, the depot proper closed, its functions and spaces merging with various US Army Aviation Systems Command support services to become the Headquarters and Installation Support Activity, with a strength of 461 military and civilians. On 7 October 1975, in recognition of its increased customer service responsibilities, the Granite City element changed again, becoming the St. Louis Area Support Center (SLASC).
On 1 July 1988, in formal recognition of Illinois Congressman Melvin Price's contributions to our nation and its uniformed services, this historic Granite City installation was dedicated and designated as the Charles Melvin Price Support Center.
In 1995, the Price Support Center was identified for closure by the U.S. Army. After getting Price off the Base Closure list, Congressman Jerry Costello went to work with local officials to determine a development plan to convert the Base for future development. Costello challenged area mayors and businesses to come up with a development plan which would create private sector jobs. Once a plan was developed, Costello introduced legislation to convey the Price Support Center to the Tri-City Regional Port District. The legislation was signed into law on 31 October 2000. The Port District expects that 1,000 new jobs will be created as a result of the conveyance and redevelopment. The US Army, which was in the process of declaring the Price Support Center "excess" property, supports conveyance of this 752-acre property to the Port District for business and industrial development.
The Tri-City Regional Port (TCRPD) lies between river mile 182.2L and river mile 195.0L on the Chain of Rocks Canal, the navigation channel of the Mississippi River. The south end of the Canal is adjacent to the U.S. Army Charles Melvin Price Support Center. The 800 acre, U.S. Army Charles Melvin Price Support Center is located south and adjacent to the Port's harbor complex.
St. Louis was founded in 1764 by Pierre Laclede as an Indian trading post. The location just below the confluence of the Illinois, Mississippi and Missouri Rivers gave access to New Orleans and the emerging river towns along the Mississippi. Named after Louis IX, St. Louis' French influences are still strong. When Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase for about 4 cents an acre in 1803, St. Louis was already a 40 year old river town of 3,000 with a flourishing river trade and the beginnings of commerce. When Lewis and Clark pushed off in 1804 to explore the West, St. Louis' position as the Gateway to the West was assured.
Rich in history, St. Louis played an important role in the abolition of slavery starting with the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and the Dred Scott case in 1856 and 1857. The Civil War almost split the state because Missouri was a slave state, but this position was not very popular state-wide; the western half of Missouri was strongly abolitionist. The sternwheelers that appeared after 1815 made St. Louis an important river port. As the boats stopped to load and unload goods, people came too. By 1860, St. Louis' population exceeded 160,000, the third largest city in the nation behind New York and Philadelphia.
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