Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Facility to Show City's War Effort ; Old Hangar Would House Museum

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Facility to Show City's War Effort ; Old Hangar Would House Museum

Article excerpt

An ambitious private-sector project is underway to recognize Evansville's contribution to the U.S. military effort during World War II. Organizers of the Freedom Heritage Museum, a nonprofit corporation, want to locate the facility in Evansville Regional Airport's old hangar near the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office command post. Richard Litov, who, along with John Dunn is credited with spearheading the project, said the museum is estimated to cost $7 million to $9 million.

The facility will collect local photographs and artifacts from the World War II era, along with interviews that have been taped by students and others over the years.

"There's always been an interest in what Evansville's impact on national and world events was during that time," Litov said.

"I've always had an interest in more of that being recognized.. We're just at the beginning, but we have some interesting artifacts and want to continue to add to that collection."

The museum's board has secured, among other things, an AT-6 training aircraft, a 1945 Jeep, the engine of a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt that's 6 feet in diameter and about 2,500 pounds, and other Thunderbolt parts. Republic Aviation, operating at the U.S. 41 location that later became Whirlpool Corp., built more than 6,000 P-47s during World War II.

Board members said they eventually want to bring a P-47 to Evansville permanently, and they noted there have been attempts over the years to do that. But they said the Freedom Heritage Museum is moving forward regardless, and its top goal will be to bring the importance of World War II home for current and future generations.

They said the museum will teach that Evansville, per capita, made more World War II supplies and ammunition than any other city in the country because of Republic Aviation, the Evansville Shipyard which produced LSTs, and other companies. …

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