While working at Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park this summer, Nancy, Chuck and Melissa Meitle of Corvallis, Ore., carved a three-dimensional model of Miller Point as it stood in 1943.
At that time, the state park site housed members of the 250th Coast Artillery Regiment of the California National Guard. Parts of the regiment came to Kodiak in 1941, where they protected Kodiak harbor after the United States entered World War II.
Cannon at Miller Point were joined by others at Spruce Cape, Long Island, and elsewhere.
In the 70 years since the war, however, Miller Point has been changed by erosion and climate shifts, said Dave Ostlund, director of the history museum. The new model gives visitors the best idea yet about what the area was like when hundreds of soldiers lived in a place now dominated by moss-draped spruce trees and legions of squirrels.
Cut from a solid block of foam, the model represents hundreds of hours of work, Ostlund said.
“This adds exponentially to the interpretive quality,” he said.
On Sunday morning, Ostlund held a small ceremony recognizing the family’s hard work.
“They were indispensable,” he said.
The model measures about 5 feet long, 3 feet wide and 1 foot thick at its biggest dimensions. It was built on HO scale, a measurement common to model train enthusiasts. Each structure and bunker was made from scratch using balsa wood, Ostlund said.
Before the model was created, he said, “We were just using the two-D maps.”
The model shows not just where the soldiers worked, but also how the terrain has changed in the intervening decades. One notable difference is the model’s lack of trees.
Ostlund said there weren’t any large trees at Miller Point during World War II. Many were cleared by wartime construction, but the lack can also be attributed to a shift in climate.
“There’s been a climate change since World War II,” he said. “There wasn’t as many trees then as there are now.”
The museum is scheduled to close for the season at the end of September, but Ostlund said the model will be around next year to keep informing visitors and longtime residents alike.
“I’ve spend years walking the hills, but it’s neat to see it all in one place and in three dimensions,” he said.
Contact Mirror editor James Brooks at email@example.com.