Got some spring cleaning to do around your home? Imagine the tasks involved in sprucing up 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.
The maintenance staff at Gettysburg National Military Park does so much more than “sprucing up” for springtime. Their mission is to provide preservation maintenance to ensure these Gettysburg resources are left unimpaired for this and all future generations. It’s an inspiring and awesome mission and Gettysburg’s maintenance team is always hard at work accomplishing projects – winter, spring, summer and fall.
This week on “From the Fields of Gettysburg,” we’ll take a peek at Gettysburg National Military Park’s hardworking maintenance crew’s chore list for 2014.
Replace water and electric lines National Cemetery: This project includes replacing the outdated and non-functioning water and electric lines in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. The installation will be done through directional boring to minimize ground disturbance.
Fence Repair/Replacement: This year the project area is the First Day battlefield landscape. Areas targeted for replacement are the post and rail fence around McPherson Barn and the Virginia Worm fence extending from Howard Avenue area west toward the Harman farm area. Included is the routine replacement and repair of fences using both park staff and volunteer labor.
New Fence Construction: Through our partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation and their June 7 Volunteer Workday, the park plans to build the significant missing fence lines at Harman Farm. This project will help give visitors a better understanding of the troop movements in that area.
Demolition Contracts: This year the park plans on following through with the demolition of the former Hull residence on Mummasburg Road west of the Eternal Light Peace Memorial and the Welcome Traveler house and barn located on Baltimore Pike southeast of the Museum and Visitor Center. The Welcome Traveler was a campground purchased by the National Park Service in 1994. The house and barn are not historic. Nearby the park has already cut nonhistoric trees to reestablish sightlines from Spangler’s
Spring to Power’s Hill and vice-versa. We plan to combine both of these properties into one demolition contract.
Roads and Lanes: This past winter was very rough on our paved and non-paved roadways. All of the non-paved roadways will be re-graded and have stone added as necessary to remove the potholes that developed with the freeze thaw this winter. This was last done two years ago. We only had one paved surface break down over the winter on Wheatfield Road and this has been repaired.
Mowing and Trimming: The “class A” mowing will be reduced from last year’s 150th efforts back to what it was in 2012. This is a reduction of about 20 acres. Due to the vacancy of a full time gardener position, the mowing crew will be short one tractor operator as he will be tending to the gardening duties at Eisenhower National Historic Site.
Signs: The park received funding last year to bring all of its signs into current reflectivity standards set by the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The entire sign inventory is currently on hand and installation will occur throughout the year.
Monument Preservation: We have received federal funding for preservation of the Lincoln Speech Monument, general monument care, and cannon carriage preservation. Planning for summer 2014 includes: sphere restoration to the 7th Indiana, 3rd Massachusetts Artillery, and Weidrich’s Battery. We are hopeful that we will tackle the 58th New York Infantry monument on Howard Avenue this year. We will have to disassemble the monument, create stone dutchmans (repairs), and rebuild it. A lightning strike in 1943 spalled out several areas in the middle of the monument. A car accident in 2004 shifted the monument. Through all of this the monument has remained very stable. Last year we were able to find a stone source for Quincy granite (no longer quarried) from a historic salvage company in Massachusetts. This allows us to complete
the repairs from the lightning strike and reset the monument back on its proper footing. General preservation will continue with monument cleaning, bronze waxing, and repointing work.
Cannon Carriages: Work for the Monument Preservation Branch for this period focused primarily on cannon carriage restoration and planning for the upcoming summer season. Carriages 312 through 316 (Out of a total of
400 carriages. We started with cannon #1 in 1999) are receiving preservation treatments
Two carriages removed from the Peace Light area to deal with paint failures and repairs were returned in early Feb. Twenty-two avenue signs have been restored and returned to the field with what we hope is a longer term coating. Cannon have been reset recently at Bachman’s battery on South Confederate Avenue and Gibb’s battery on the north slope of Little Round Top. We will soon reset Garden’s battery on South Confederate Avenue.
Benner Spring House: The stabilization of this historic stone spring house is nearly complete. The Benner farm is on old Harrisburg Road just north of
Rock Creek. When the park acquired the property in
2011 the spring house was in such poor condition that the park started an emergency project to stabilize it.
Slyder Summer Kitchen and Farmhouse: The exterior restoration of the summer kitchen is complete. We have replaced the roof on the main farmhouse, have reconditioned the windows and have completed the mill work necessary for the exterior rehab of this farmhouse.
Snow Gates: We have rebuilt and reinstalled these large oak timber snow gates associated with various entrances to the park.
Culp Farmhouse: Completed interior rehab work for tenant occupancy. Work included painting of ceilings, walls, trim, doors, etc., as well as plaster work in the basement, installation of a new 2nd floor bathroom, installation of a new hot water system and parging of interior basement walls.
Campgrounds: We built 14 new heavy-duty picnic tables for the campground sites. The existing tables had deteriorated to the point where they were a safety concern.
McClean Storm Doors: Completed repairs associated with the three storm doors on this structure.
Maintenance Roller Building: Removal and resetting of all masonry stone caps along the roof line of this structure and a complete exterior cleaning of this brick building.
Slyder Blacksmith Shop: Work will include replacing deteriorated square oak v-notch logs and removal and reinstallation of daubing associated with these logs after a complete mortar analysis is done to match this historic daubing.
Slyder Farmhouse: Installation of new porch windows that more appropriately match the style of window found on the Historic American Buildings Survey drawings.
Weikert Summer Kitchen: Work will include replacing deteriorated square, oak, v-notch logs and removal and reinstallation of daubing associated with these logs after a complete mortar analysis is done to match this historic daubing.
Bushman Smokehouse: Work will include replacing deteriorated square, oak, v-notch logs and removal and reinstallation of daubing associated with these logs after a complete mortar analysis is done to match this historic daubing.
Klingel Farmhouse: Finish reintroducing the new daubing mixture approved by the northeast region’s historic architect.
Specially Funded Projects:
GETT Door, Window and Shutter Project: The purpose of this project is to restore/rebuild window sash, interior/exterior doors and exterior shutters on historic farmhouses, barns and outbuildings throughout GETT.
Roof Replacement: The purpose of this project is to replace deteriorated cedar shingle roofs on barns, farmhouses and outbuildings throughout GETT and EISE. Also, any stabilization of structural elements will be performed as needed
once the roofs are opened. Some of the scheduled replacements include Trostle barn, Culp farmhouse and outbuildings, Brian barn and farmhouse and Weikert farmhouse.
Building Foundation Work: The purpose of this project is to repair/repoint historic stone foundations and to create a water infiltration system around these foundations to shed the underground water that continues to cause damage to these structures.
Thanks to Gettysburg NMP’s maintenance supervisors: Randall Hill, Lucas Flickinger and Dan Mazzotti for providing the information for this blog.
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, 4/16/14