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Unassuming WWII Sweetheart Pillow Case with Interesting History

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The below Sweetheart Pillow Case is rather boring as it does not feature planes, guns, soldiers, etc.  Even the place it is featuring is blandly stamped onto it with an ink blotter.  It is from Harmon General Hospital located in Longview, Texas.


Construction for the hospital began in May 1942 and opened in November 1942 with 1525 beds in 119 buildings on 156 acres.  By the War's end it consisted of 2939 beds located in 157 buildings with a total of 232 barrack-type buildings on site.


At the end of the War the complex was no longer needed.  This is when Heavy Equipment Manufacturer, Inventor, and Evangelist R.G. LeTourneau enters the picture.  During WWII LeTourneau supplied up to 70% of the heavy equipment that the Allies used to help win the War.  LeTourneau had a number of facilities during the War producing equipment in Peoria, IL, Taccoa, GA, Vicksburg, MS, and in Australia.  Upon the ending of the War he was keen on another facility and the opportunity to start a school for returning servicemen.  He made a bid of $870,000 (roughly $123M in today's money) for the complete hospital.  Hearing that the complex would be used for a training school the government gave LeTourneau a 100% discount on the property.  He ended up buying it for $1.00 ($14.00 today).


Over time Harmon General Hospital has now become LeTourneau University.


In addition to LeTourneau starting the college he also located a new manufacturing facility (LeTourneau, Inc.) down the road from the school where it continues to produce world-class electric-drive mining equipment.  Unfortunately the facility no longer carries the LeTourneau name as it was sold to P&H Mining (Joyglobal) in 2011 and subsequently Joyglobal was in turn purchased by Komatsu in 2017.  However, there are still a few "Tournahands" still roaming the halls of the manufacturing facility.


Only one or two original buildings still exist on the school's campus.  The manufacturing plant has an old barracks building that was moved to the site a number of years ago and is still in use as office space.


LeTourneau continued its relationship with the US military well into the 1970's as it made a variety of products from bomb casings (more than 3,000,000), mobile missile launchers, jungle crushers, dozers, all-terrain road trains, etc.


For an interesting read of the man himself I recommend "Movers of Men and Mountains" to learn more about this fascinating gentleman.  Or, just Google RG LeTourneau and you will learn a lot about his influence on heavy equipment and off-shore drilling rigs.




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Old Crow 1986

Interesting story.  Amazing that one small, nondescript item to could lead to so many stories and history.  Thanks for sharing.  

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