Ft. Knox restores World War II era barracks, opens building for - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ft. Knox restores World War II era barracks, opens building for tours

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FT. KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- Ft. Knox has preserved an important part of its history and put it on display for the world to see. WDRB went inside the new exhibit that comes complete with its own ghost story.

The Patton Museum here at Ft. Knox contains hundreds of military artifacts. But the latest, the biggest, and potentially, the most popular, is actually a building.

"Oh, this is much more than a building. It's not just a building," said retired U.S. Army Col. Mike Weaver.

This is a legacy from the greatest generation. A restoration of a World War II era barracks.

Everything is authentic, from the bunks and blankets, to the footlockers, the walls, even the plumbing -- all recovered from barracks at Ft. Knox and elsewhere.

Retired Army Col. Mike Weaver is behind the restoration project.  "It needed to be original, and this is about as original you can get. And it tells a tremendous story," said Weaver.

Originally built during World War II , barracks like this one were home to millions of draftees.

This building was saved from demolition and moved to the Patton Museum.  "There were over 30,000 temporary structures like this built across the United States from 1940 to 1945, and over a thousand of these here at Ft. Knox. Now, there's one. And here it is," said Weaver.

Weaver spent two and a half years using volunteer labor to restore the building.

The prize feature -- old oaks steps that still bear the boot marks of history.  "Soldiers in combat boots walked up and down these steps and rubbed that off. And you see that concave. That's from their footprints, too," said Weaver.

But there is one area that is not yet finished -- the second floor, where late one night, Weaver says he saw shadows.

"And a low of voice from the depths of somewhere said to me, 'You're not welcome on the second floor.' And I think we need to think where does that voice come from? Is it from a soldier, a sailor, an airman?"

If nothing else, the story adds to the mystique of the piece of history.

"Not many artifacts we have in the collection will I allow people to touch. But this is one where people can actually come in an experience it, and really feel what it was like then," said Nathan Jones, curator of the Patton Museum.

"It's not just a building," said Weaver. "It's a piece of history. It tells a story of sacrifice, patriotism, and leadership."

The barracks is now open to the public. You may click here for information on how you can see it.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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