Windows on history

Written by Mike Linderman, sectional archaeology manager at Angel Mounds State Historic Site

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Barracks at Camp Breckenridge, Kentucky

Angel Mounds staff is heading to Old Camp Breckenridge in Kentucky to retrieve windows from three army barracks that date back to World War I. The buildings are scheduled for demolition and our goal is to salvage these pieces to one day use in potential reconstructions of the laboratory and barracks that stood at Angel Mounds from 1939 until the early 1970s. The original buildings at Angel Mounds were former CCC barracks that Dr. Glenn A. Black scrounged around and found at Vallonia State Nursery; and prior to that they were WWI barracks from an undetermined army base. Since Angel Mounds is a co-op of sorts with The Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (GBL) at IU, both of our agencies have a desire to reconstruct these buildings, not to be museum pieces, but usable facilities for archaeology in the southwestern part of Indiana. Only the exteriors of the buildings will look like the original structures.  The interiors would be modern to accommodate lodging for students and guests, and lab space for archaeological field work at Angel Mounds and other locations in the area.

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Barracks III, the original WPA lab building, getting scraped before painting.

Camp Breckenridge is now the Earl C. Clements U.S. Dept. of Labor facility. When the army was there, the camp was primarily training African American troops during WWII. Such famous names as Joe Lewis and Jackie Robinson did basic training there. The barracks that we are taking apart are the last three from the old base, which once had over 300 of these type of buildings. The camp also served as a German POW camp. So, in salvaging these items to potentially recreate history at Angel Mounds, we are preserving some broader history in the process.

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