World War I military balloon camp once sat in modern day Olmos Park

Soldiers were trained at Camp John Wise to spot air artillery

By Justin Horne - Weather Authority Meteorologist/Reporter

OLMOS PARK, Texas - Olmos Park, known for its stately and quiet environment, got its name from Olmos Creek. 

Olmos translates to "elm tree" in English.  

While the history behind the name is a simple find, the city's connection with World War I is often forgotten.   

"It's something that's gone down the byways of history," said Jacqueline Davis, director of the Fort Sam Houston Museum.  "It's just something that's gotten lost."

In 1917, Camp John Wise, a well-known military balloon school, sat where Olmos Park does today. The training installation used hot air balloons to train soldiers for the world war.

"It gave them eyes in the sky," Davis said. 

Thousands of men were trained at the camp to spot artillery from high in the sky.  

"It made them big targets for the other guy's artillery and the other guy's airplane, as it turns out, and so it was a pretty dangerous job," Davis said.

Camp John Wise closed after the war ended, but you can still find evidence of its existence around Olmos Park and a commemorating marker on McCullough Avenue. 

Olmos Park would form years later, and is now home to some of San Antonio's most well-known homes, many boasting unique architecture. 

The town also has one other claim to fame: 

"We built the first roundabout in San Antonio," Olmos Park resident Gerald Dubinski said.

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