At Gettysburg, Farther From the Battle but Closer to History

Roundup: Pop Culture & the Arts ... Movies, Documentaries and Museum Exhibits

THE old visitor center and museum at the Gettysburg National Military Park was cramped, obsolete and a little too close to history. The brick building, built in the 1920s as a private home, was part of a complex that sat where Union lines had stood for the last two days of the most famous battle in the Civil War.

Nearly 1,000 Union soldiers were killed, wounded or captured on the hallowed ground beneath the complex. Wayne E. Motts, a local historian who has been a licensed battlefield guide for 21 years, was not the only person who was bothered by this fact.

“I’ve said if I could go down there and tear down that building with my bare hands, I would,” said Mr. Motts, the executive director of the Adams County Historical Society, which is in Gettysburg, Pa.

Luckily, he will be saved the trouble. The complex is being razed, and the land will be restored to how it looked in July 1863. Meanwhile, a $103 million visitor center and museum will open April 14 less than a mile away — on a plot of land, archaeologists have confirmed, where no fighting occurred.

comments powered by Disqus