New barracks to be added at Fort Southwest Point

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Fundraising begins, help sought for construction

By Dwane Wilder

Plans are under way for reconstruction of an additional barracks at historic Fort Southwest Point.

The new building will be even larger than the first structure, which is 43-by-17 feet with a 5-foot-deep porch that was built in the early 1990s. The second barracks will measure 62-by-16.

“We’d like to get the foundation set and logs laid this winter,” said Rick Ross, director of parks and recreation for the City of Kingston.

In order to make that work, the staff at Fort Southwest Point needs a little help. 

Members of the community are encouraged to participate in a log sponsorship drive to help build the second barracks. 

A donation of $55 will cover the cost of a 16-foot-long log. 

The number of logs needed to complete the building is 258, which brings the estimated cost of the project to more than $14,000. All donations in excess of the purchase price of the logs will be applied toward the construction costs.

To help offset the cost of labor, anyone with prior construction experience is invited to help with the project. Call 376-3641 or 376-9476 for more information on donating labor, material or money. 

Sponsors will be recognized with a special plaque at the fort.

“We haven’t really had a full-blown fundraiser for the fort in 16 to 20 years,” said Ross.

Fort Southwest Point currently features four standing structures, including a blacksmith shop that was completed last winter. Each building is constructed to specifications based on archaeological and historical research of the original 18th-century fort.

An interpretive center and museum helps tell the story of Fort Southwest Point, which was built in 1797 — the year after Tennessee became a state — to keep the peace on the frontier.

Fort Southwest Point became the headquarters for federal troops stationed in Tennessee and, at one time, garrisoned 625 troops. Four soldiers from Fort Southwest Point accompanied Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their historic expedition to explore and map the American West in 1804.

“This is so much a part of not only Kingston history, but Roane County history, as well” said Ross. “It’s a story that doesn’t get told enough.”