Construction is beginning in mid-July 2016 on $1.5 million dollar project to rehabilitate Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg National Military Park. The nonprofit Gettysburg Foundation will provide a grant of $900,000 to match National Park Service funding of $600,000 for this stewardship project. Click here for the latest news release.
This blog post will provide details for the historic features that will be returned to Cemetery Ridge, including moving some monuments to their original location. They were moved during the construction of the Cyclorama building, which has now been demolished.
The Hancock Avenue Entrance Gate – We will be rebuilding the Hancock Avenue entrance gates that were built in 1923. There were earlier gates of different designs. In 1882, the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association created an opening in the stone wall on the west side of Taneytown Road for access to Hancock Avenue. The first version, in 1889, was a wood and wire gate. A later version, in 1896, included iron fencing (see photo) from the original fence that had
surrounded Lafayette Square Park in Washington, D.C. – the same iron fencing that now forms the boundary between Evergreen Cemetery and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. The park’s monument specialists have the majority of the historic stones need to rebuild the 1923 gateway.
Ziegler’s Grove – During Pickett’s Charge, the left flank of General Pettigrew’s division engaged Union forces in Ziegler’s Grove. Because Battery I, 1st U.S. Artillery was located in Ziegler’s Grove it was heavily shelled during the pre-assault bombardment, inflicting numerous casualties on the battery’s infantry support, the 108th New York, and other nearby infantry units. This project will allow us to replant the
missing portion of Ziegler’s Grove. We plan to plant approximately 125 trees including Black Cherry, Shagbark Hickory, Black Gum, White Oak, Red Oak, Tulip Poplar and Honey Locust.
Ziegler’s Ravine – Documentation for reestablishing this ravine comes from a number of sources, including a grading plan in the National Park Service files showing the area before the Cyclorama building parking lot was developed. In addition, archaeology helped establish the exact location of a portion of the original Hancock Avenue during testing completed by the park when we replaced a water line extension in 2006.
The profile of Ziegler’s Ravine will be especially noticeable to those driving on Hancock Avenue as the road will proceed down a dramatic dip and then come back up for an approximately six foot change in elevation. We will also rebuild some stone walls near Hancock Avenue and a long commemorative walkway that was surfaced with crushed stone.
The Monuments – In 1960 when the park started construction for the Cyclorama building, a number of monuments in this area were
moved, some only a few feet. In September 2014, park staff returned the granite Battery F, 5th US Artillery monument to its original location. The original spot had been completely covered over by the Cyclorama building.
12th Massachusetts Infantry Position Marker (Webster Regiment) – This granite marker was erected in September 1885 to indicate the line occupied by the regiment in Ziegler’s Grove while protecting the ravine and the Union center on the night of July 1 and during July 3. The marker was removed in 1961-1962 during grading and development of the Cyclorama building, and relocated to a slightly different location within the parking area by NPS.
88th Pennsylvania Infantry Position Marker – This is one of three monuments erected by the survivors’ association of the regiment and designates the position held by the 88th Pennsylvania on July 1 – 2 and at the close of the fighting on July 4. The granite marker, about two feet in height, was mounted on a large boulder within the northwest corner of Ziegler’s Grove. Erected in the summer of 1883, this is one of the oldest regimental markers in the park. The monument and the boulder on which it is affixed were both relocated by NPS during the development of the Cyclorama building. The face of the boulder was broken off causing the granite marker to be reset.
1st Massachusetts Sharpshooters Position Marker – This position marker is located at the northwest corner of Ziegler’s Grove and consists of a granite marker about two feet in height onto which is affixed an aluminum narrative tablet. The marker, erected in 1913 at the request of company veterans, indicates the position occupied by these marksmen while defending Union batteries in Ziegler’s Grove. The marker was relocated during development and regrading of the Cyclorama
NPS Centennial – To prepare for its Centennial in 2016, the National Park Service is funding legacy projects that will preserve resources for the future. In March, the National Park Service launched “Find Your Park,” a national public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for its second century of service.
Previous Rehab work on Cemetery Ridge –
For six years, the Gettysburg Foundation has funded and implemented important earlier phases of the rehabilitation of Cemetery Ridge including demolition of the Visitor Center in 2009; demolition of the Cyclorama building in 2013; and removal and rehabilitation of the former Visitor Center parking lot site in 2014.
Timing – The project will be underway in July 2016 and will last about six months.
Thanks to Chris Gwinn and Jason Martz for the photos.
Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, updated 7/7/16