A permanent alien interment camp (prisoner of war camp) in the 8th Service Command was established here during World War II. Construction began in September 1942 and American military personnel and German prisoners began to arrive in July 1943. The site included 25-30 buildings to accommodate the military and civilian personnel required to operate the camp. Three large compounds housed the prisoners of war.
Other structures included warehouses, engineering and fire departments, carpenter shop, and water plants. Facilities for the military were comprised of barracks, nurses' and bachelor officers' quarters, officers' club, post exchange and commissary, theater, laundry, and barber shop. A small hospital was shared by the American military and the prisoners of war.
The first group of prisoners brought to McLean were members of the famed Afrika Korps commanded by General Erwin Rommel and were captured in North Africa. By October 1944 the camp exceeded its official capacity of 3,000 prisoners.
The community was closely involved with the camp, and many local citizens formed lasting friendships with some of the German prisoners. The camp closed in July 1945.