Local News

Some Old Fort Bragg Homes Get a Face-lift After 60 Years

Posted January 19, 1999

— Imagine living in a neighborhood with wooden water mains, and living in a house that was built with copper nails and authentic red stucco tiles.

Soldiers and their families at Fort Bragg have been living in historic homes for 60 years. Now those homes are being restored.

Some homes in Bastogne Gables were built between 1928 and 1938. At one point, the military was thinking about knocking them down and building more houses to handle the shortage of housing on post. But history prevailed.

The 96 homes were built during the depression at a price tag of about $6,000 each.

They were built with no air conditioning, sleeping porches and built-in kitchen tables. Non-commissioned officers and their families have been living in them since the late 1920s.

They need work and are getting face-lifts with $7 million from the army.

"What we wanted to do is make safe housing for our families. So environmental hazards that might exist such as lead paint and asbestos, we want to make sure we got that out of the homes, as well as update them to have some modern conveniences," said housing engineer Kim Van Borkulo.

"It's just great material and will probably last another 50 years or more," said quality control manager Derrick Wynne.

Wynne says they are trying to update the homes and, at the same time, maintain the original buildings' characters and features.

"We are using the original doors, trying to save the hardware," said Wynne.

Military spouse Tonya Guthrie and her family lived in one of the old homes with a leaky roof and other problems.

She is now living in a newly-renovated home and is thankful the neighborhood's heritage was saved.

Construction workers say they are really having a fun time with this project.

They found a newspaper from the 1930s in a wall. They have come across coins dating back to the 1940s, and even old toys.

Officials expect the entire renovation effort to be finished by summer.

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