ALLOUEZ - The most recent plan has been three years in the making. The history behind it, much longer.
"We're going to be restoring the guard house as accurate as we possibly can to the 1833 period, which was the year it was constructed," said Nick Backhaus, Heritage Hill restoration manager.
Crews at Heritage Hill State Historical Park began work Monday to restore the Fort Howard guard house, and build a matching commanding officer's office and stockade. The original fort built along the Fox River served Green Bay from 1816-1852.
The guard house was moved to Heritage Hill three years ago. Work on the 180-year-old building has been steady since.
"Some of the architectural details have been erased through the years. In trying to replicate and determine what the original architectural details are, that's been a bit of a challenge," said Backhaus.
Officials hope the new Fort Howard gate will enhance the historical experience for the 55,000 people who visit here each year.
"They can go to the schoolhouse, they can talk to some of the soldiers, and to have this guard house, it just adds a whole other dimension to what that culture, what that life was like here in Green Bay at that point in time," said Tim Brumm, Heritage Hill project researcher.
Workers removed boards from the hospital. Drainage around the entire courtyard is going to be upgraded.
"Water is a huge issue for us in maintaining these buildings. We plan to raise the fort hospital and the schoolhouse two feet to improve drainage," said John Flatley, vice president of Heritage Hill Corporation Board.
Crews plan to move the guard house into place later this month. Construction on the new commander's building should begin in early July.
"It's kind of a nice claim to fame that Green Bay can say hey, there's a military presence here. We're part of the bigger picture of U.S. history and development," said Brumm.
The park is scheduled to stay open during construction.
Heritage Hill still needs to raise about $650,000 for the project.
The work is scheduled to be completed by June of 2015.
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