We stayed on the University of Utah campus last week which at it fringes what was originally Fort Douglas. A quite elegant military compound, it has a fascinating history. First an outpost to monitor Confederate sympathies in the western territories, in WWI it served as a German prisoner of war camp to its final end as a Olympic village site and student housing. The architecture itself was lovely, sandstone meets Victoriana is a fine combination. Along side this visit I was reading Megan Kate Nelson’s Ruin Nation;Destruction and the American Civil War. Her best chapter, although all are good, is material on military camp architecture during the Civil War. Using the skills of many American woodsman, the average camp had varied and exuberant structures, all temporary of course, but never the less impressive. In a book about the destruction of cities, homes and bodies these insights talk about the unyielding optimism of the American spirit.