“Remove the old Cyclorama Center and rehabilitate its site to reflect the historic setting of the battlefield.” page 13 of a Gettysburg National Military Park draft development concept plan, April 1996.
WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS AN UNFORGETTABLE VIDEO.
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Whew, it’s been a long time coming!
In the past week the demolition crew working on Gettysburg’s cold and windy North Cemetery Ridge made significant progress. Dozens of people watched on Saturday, March 9, as the first section of the “drum” was taken down. On March 11, the final portion fell.
The area will be returned as much as possible to its appearance at the time of the fighting in 1863, and the commemorative period, 1864-1938. For more information about battle action on the site, see our earlier blog, Gettysburg Battle Summary.
On the building footprint itself we will have grasses, some fencing, and the eventual return of the 5th U.S. Artillery battery B tablet and cannons. Rebuilding fencing and returning the monument to their original positions will be done in a later phase in 2014.
The timeline for the remaining demolition work: According to the Gettysburg Foundation, which has provided the funding and hired the contractors to do the project, building demolition will be complete by approximately April 19. The contractors will then do grading and seeding for about 10 days, finishing by April 30. For most of the month of May we will fence the area off so that grass can become established. We hope to open the area for foot traffic by Memorial Day (weather permitting).
What’s involved in future phases?
- Reconfigure and reduce the size of the existing Cyclorama building parking lot in order to rehabilitate Ziegler’s Ravine.
- Partially rehabilitate historic grades of Ziegler’s Ravine by regrading a 350 feet section of roadway to follow the Battle Era topography of Ziegler’s Ravine.
- Rebuild the 1863 historic fencing within the study area.
- Rehabilitate the historic grades of Cemetery Ridge in the footprint and immediate vicinity of the Cyclorama building.
- Rebuild the commemorative era sidewalk that was displaced by the Cyclorama building.
- Monuments displaced by the Cyclorama building would be replaced in their historic footprint. These are the 5th US Artillery Battery F tablet, the 90th Pa. Infantry monument, the 88th Pa. Infantry monument, 1st Mass. Sharpshooters position marker, and the 12th Mass. Infantry monument.
Additional changes in the future also include removing the old Visitor Center parking lot. Because we anticipate needing all this parking during the 150th anniversary year at Gettysburg, we are postponing the landscape work until 2014 at the earliest. Whether the work takes place in 2014 or afterward is also dependent on additional fundraising by the Gettysburg Foundation. The partnership between Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation supports the National Park Service’s Call to Action initiative “Posterity Partners,” C2A 29.
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, March 14, 2013