If you’re in the midst of household clean-up projects this fall, take a moment to imagine the magnitude of taking care of 1320 monuments, 410 cannon, 148 historic structures, 33 miles of paved historic avenues and roadways, 8 miles of historic dirt and gravel lanes,
and much more. Today’s blog is a look at Gettysburg National Military Park’s hardworking maintenance crew and some of (but not all of!!!) the projects they are working on or have just completed:
Rehabilitation of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery Comfort Station –These restrooms have closed for construction. McCoy Brothers, Inc. is doing the work which includes new interior sewer and water lines, new interior finishes, and repaired/repainted windows. The project will take four months.
Historic Structures Branch
The stabilization of the Blocher house will be completed next spring and summer. Roof and masonry repairs are still needed but wet weather has hampered our efforts this fall.
The rehabilitation of the Cobean barn is continuing. We found many interesting shadows of historic fabric on the barn which was concealed by a layer of asbestos siding. Door hardware, trim, ventilators, and other traces are on the building. We have restored the 36 ventilators as well as the board, door hardware, and batten siding.
The Josiah Benner springhouse emergency stabilization project is proceeding as planned. We have stabilized the
interior walls and portions of the exterior walls, and removed a major portion of the south gable end wall. We are now in the process of moving and reshaping interior and exterior walls to their original configuration. We hope to have most of the mortar work done and the building stabilized this fall.
Park roofing projects have been ongoing and we have replaced roofs at South End Guide Station, West End Guide Station, Spangler Spring Comfort Station, Althoff summer kitchen and the Wright house barn. We are currently in the process of finishing up the Josiah Benner barn shed roof.
Landscape Preservation Branch
Heavy rains in September have delayed field mowing but crews were able to do other projects including:
- Cleared trails at Culp’s Hill, Big Round Top, and McMillan woods.
- Cleared sections of fencing/walls including Powers Hill and Culp’s Hill.
- Replaced failing fence sections at Culp’s Hill, along Emmitsburg Road and on Pickett’s Charge.
- Replaced deteriorated road signs to improve safety.
- Removed cut brush at Devil’s Den.
- Striping and sign installation needed to reopen the old visitor center parking lot for overflow parking through 2013.
The crew at the cannon carriage restoration shop has moved more restored carriages to their memorial positions this summer and fall.
Seasonal cleaning and waxing— this two-person crew cleaned and waxed over one third of Gettysburg’s monument collection this year, including four massive equestrians and the Stannard Vermont monument.
The cannon shop crew continues to work on making the mold, and forging of the new bronze head for the artilleryman on the 4th New York Artillery monument (a.k.a. Smith’s Battery) which was vandalized in February 2006.
Staff in the monument shop is working with a nonprofit partner to cut and inscribe a new capstone for the Cooper’s Battery monument.
Staff is working with contractors on the fabrication of new bronze elements on the 149th, 90th, and 56th Pennsylvania monuments, and stone repairs to the damaged ear and bridle bit on the 18th Pa. Cavalry monument. The crew is also planning for restoration for the 11th Mass arm (also vandalized in February 2006).
In the past few months the park and National Park Service staff from the Historic Preservation Training Center has completed the New York Auxiliary monument, the Alabama memorial, and the Collis memorial.
Another big project was the New York State Memorial, look for more news about that soon.
Coming up in 2012: Restore the Soldiers’ National Cemetery Speaker’s Rostrum; and rehab of the West End and South End Comfort Stations –Restrooms will be reconfigured and brought up to ADA (Americans’ with Disabilities Act) standards.
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, October 20, 2011