The stars have aligned at Gettysburg allowing the park to move forward this month with the demolition of ten nonhistoric structures at various sites within Gettysburg National Military Park (NMP).
The economic slowdown of the last three years has resulted in more willing-sellers of land within the park boundary coming forward and talking with the National Park Service about selling their property. Once we acquire a parcel of land, as often as not there is at least one modern house or other structure on it. We then go through the process required to tear down the post-battle era buildings and return the land more to its 1863 look.
Just last week a demolition crew pulled up at 1155 Baltimore Pike where a one-story modern residence has now been demolished. More work is needed at this site to deal with a pond that was created long after the battle and some modern fencing around the pond.
A dumpster is in place and demolition crews will soon arrive at 1339 Baltimore Pike on the edge of Powers Hill. A house and barn and a few smaller outbuildings at this site all post-date the battle and will come down soon.
In the next month or so, demolition contractors will also remove two nonhistoric buildings at the Wills-Winebrenner farm out on the first day’s battlefield; a modern house at 980 Mummasburg Road; and the golf cart storage barn and three other buildings at the former Country Club.
We use a low-bid contracting process to hire the demolition companies and the salvage value of the buildings and their components is incorporated into the bid.
The National Park Service continues to press forward with preservation and protection of more than 900 privately owned acres inside the boundary of Gettysburg NMP. Total acreage inside the congressional authorized boundary of the park is 5989 acres.
Parcels inside the boundary, called “inholdings,” range in size from a few large Civil War era farms that are about 75 – 80 acres each, to numerous parcels under one acre, occupied by modern homes.
Land protection is a long process that requires federal funding. The Gettysburg Foundation, Civil War Trust, and the Conservation Fund have been very important partners in many critically important land protection projects at Gettysburg over the past 15 years. Because they can act more quickly, non-profit partners often work in close coordination with the National Park Service to successfully acquire lands for the benefit of Gettysburg National Military Park and the American public.
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant