WWII-era buildings in Bismarck to be reassembled
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Some buildings from a World War II internment camp in Bismarck have been saved from demolition and will be reassembled into a lasting piece of history.
Mike Beck, 78, for the past year has been reassembling a Fort Lincoln internment camp building at Buckstop Junction, a pioneer village east of Bismarck, The Bismarck Tribune reported .
The structure was set for demolition in 2011 after serving for more than 40 years as the maintenance building at Bismarck State College. Beck and others rescued the temporary barracks building and brought the pieces to Buckstop Junction.
“I think (the building) gives us a way to show part of the history that has not been shown and not known by a lot of people,” said Marlette Pittman, president of the Missouri Valley Historical Society. “It’s important because it happened here. Some of the people from that camp stayed here. It had a real impact on our area … because it brought people here who wouldn’t probably have come.”
The Fort Lincoln camp housed more than 4,000 German and Japanese prisoners of war from 1941-1946. The area is now United Tribes Technical College.
“(The camp) was a part of a history in the United States that no one wants to talk about,” Beck said.
Beck has been volunteering for about 22 years at Buckstop Junction, which is filled with other restored historical buildings, about half of which Beck rebuilt himself.
“I’ve always been interested in history, especially North Dakota history,” he said. “I think it’s unique.”
Beck said he hopes to finish reassembling the building before the fall.