On November 8, 1942, construction began on the Hoffman Airborne Camp on 56,002.91 acres obtained from the Department of Interior and purchased from local landowners. There were over 1,750 buildings erected mostly of the Theater of Operations (T/O) type. The one-story T/O buildings were the most temporary construction with rough plank siding covered with tarpaper. A heavier grade tarpaper served as roofing material.
Opened six weeks prior to the 511th PIR’s arrival, the 56,000-acre post (a sub-installation of Fort Bragg) was originally named Camp Hoffman after the nearby rail station. On February 8, the War Department issued General Order Number 6 renaming the post after Private John T. Mackall, a paratrooper from the 503rd PIR killed by strafing Vichy French fighters during Operation Torch (Mackall was wounded on November 8, the same day construction began at Hoffman, then died three days later).
Unknown to most, during the 1920s, the Baltimore Barber Steamship Company established a hunting preserve in this area then in 1922 they created Mossgeil Lake and constructed a log cabin on the east shore (this cabin became the commander's house during World War II and can be seen in photos).
In 1930, the DuPont Corporation purchased the Baltimore Barber property and added a lodge, which became the Officers Club that the 11th Airborne would have been familiar with. That building burned in 1968, but the chimney remains.
Camp Mackall included seven service clubs, two guesthouses, three libraries, 16 post exchanges, 12 chapels, a hospital, 65 miles of roads and three 5,000 foot runways in a triangle. Those buildings included headquarters for the U.S. Army Airborne Command, the garrison command and the division headquarters. There were also numerous service buildings. The camp's cantonment area was constructed with a north and south area separated by about a mile with the Station Hospital in between closer to the north area. The south barracks area was for troops in training and contained all the services necessary to sustain them.