The Roundhouse, which served as a popular meeting place for Gens. George S. Patton, Omar Bradley and Courtney Hodges, was reactivated during a ceremony this morning at Hook Range, Fort Benning.
Built in 1938, the 1,650 square-foot home was saved from demolition by a generous donation from Prosser Mellon, the son of Richard King Mellon who served in World War II and started a foundation devoted to the protection, preservation and restoration of America’s environmental heritage.
Army Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Accessions Command at Fort Knox, Ky., and former commander at Fort Benning, realized the building was crumbling when he was assigned to the post in 2003.
“It is just wonderful,” Freakley said after the ceremony. “When I took command down here in 2003 and was getting around as commanding general, I noticed several historic buildings like the Roundhouse that were not in good repair and it just bothered me greatly. I think it’s so imperative to preserve our history.”
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When it was built 72 years ago, the building was wood frame and used a fireplace as it only source of heat. The ceiling was open to wood trusses and decking with a roof covered by tar paper. Construction of the house was part of designating Hook Range as the Fort Benning Skeet Range.
Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, said restoring the building means a sense of pride for the soldiers who train at the range.