Named for World War I army Colonel Elmer J. Wallace, Camp Wallace was established as a training facility for military personnel during World War II. The U. S. government acquired more than 3,300 acres of land between the towns of Hitchcock and Alta Loma on State Highway 6 for placement of the facility.
Construction began in November 1940. Before the erection of structures, 17 miles of access roads were built, 29 miles of electrical lines were installed, and a 3.9-mile spur rail track from the main rail line were laid. The site contained a total of 399 structures. Some buildings were constructed at Galveston's Fort Crockett and transported to the site, including a cold storage depot, bakery, laundry, and morgue. The camp contained a medical facility, 161 barracks, and a service club.
By May 1941 the camp accommodated 10,250 people, including officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian staff. Training continued through World War II. The site also housed German prisoners of war. In April 1945, Camp Wallace was transferred to naval supervision, and later served as a distribution center releasing veterans back into civilian life. The site was used by the Red Cross in 1947 following the explosions at Texas City. The camp was declared surplus by the U. S. government in 1947.