A piece of history has been tucked away out of sight for nearly 14 years right here in Evansville. But after a lot of work, the USS LST 325 will be moving downriver, and into the spotlight. The work to build the ship’s new home has been underway for months.
“The only operational LST in the world, ” Chris Donahue says.
Has called its port on the Ohio River home for almost 14 years. But soon she’ll find a new place to settle into. Downriver, taking the place of the old riverboat casino.
“And when they did that I think a natural fit would be to relocate the LST to that area. That’s always been the desire of both the city and the LST board,” Brian Holtz says.
Earlier this year, work began to build not only a new port for the ship but a new visitors center also. That space will hold more history than it has in the past.
“Plus we have a museum to put together. Now that we have room to do it right. Which, we did not have room for that here,” Donahue explains.
Right now it’s all packed away on the ship.
“Port side of the ship. The left side of the ship has got artifacts in it. People have donated, we’ve accumulated over the years we just don’t have room to show it so it’s stored down in the ship,” Donahue says.
They hope more eyes will see it when they move it to dry land.
“So our goal is to make things change, every 6 months or so. To give people a reason to come back again and again,” Donahue explains.
The Evansville Parks and Recreation Department say they hoped it would be done by November. But mother nature had other ideas.
“Weather permitting. We hope to be done with the visitor center sometime in December,” Holtz explains
The good news is the important part is done.
“We’re lucky that the visitor’s centerpiece is already enclosed,” Holtz says.
Interior construction like drywall is what crews are working on now.
Holtz says he’s confident it will be done soon.
“So I feel very comfortable with where we are on the project given the timeline. And anticipate it being completed by before the end of this year.”
The people who have worked to make this happen couldn’t be more proud.
“We’ve gone from out in the cornfield here to world-class is the way I’d put it,” Donahue says.
(This story was originally published on November 11, 2019)