Gettysburg Behind the Scenes: Buildings and Utilities

At Gettysburg National Military Park, we take care of 135 historic buildings and 1,205 other structures.  In today’s blog we’ll look at some of the outstanding work performed this summer by Dan Mazzotti and the park’s structures preservation branch.

It isn’t an easy task to ensure that these special places are preserved for future generations. Behind the scenes here at Gettysburg these unsung heroes in our maintenance division get the job done.  Here is a look at recent projects:

National Cemetery Benches – These benches consist primarily of a metal (steel) frame and wooden backs and seats. They were in a deteriorated condition and the decision was made to send these out for sand blasting and powder coating with an exterior enamel finish matching the original color. The wood was replaced and then treated with an exterior oil finish.  These 26 benches now proudly sit in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

Refurbished benches in the Soldiers' National Cemetery

Refurbished benches in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery

Sherfy Barn – Work included scraping and sanding the entire barn, making major repairs to siding and decorative wooden battens, and building and restoring all wooden louvered window vents, changing the original fabric on these vents from soft pine to a more durable exterior mahogany. We restored old barn doors and built new doors when deterioration was beyond repair. We also replaced all rotted components (siding, fascia, rake boards, etc.) and installed new gutters.

Sherfy Barn

Sherfy Barn

Snyder Farmhouse – Work included scraping and sanding the entire farmhouse. We also repaired/rebuilt window frames and sash, built and installed new exterior doors, frames and thresholds, replaced rotted elements of the board and batten siding and installed a new cedar shingle roof.

A new cedar roof for the Snyder farmhouse

A new cedar roof for the Snyder farmhouse

Hummelbaugh House – We are continuing the process of the interior and exterior work at this historic farmhouse. Interior work has included stabilizing the structural integrity of the building which included replacing cracked and deteriorated floor and ceiling joist, and the repair of deteriorated foundation sills. We then installed a new plaster ceiling which had failed in the main living room, updated all electrical and plumbing components, sanded and refinished all wood floors, and installed a new kitchen floor. Exterior work will consist of installing a new concrete walkway around a portion of the house, removal and replacement of deteriorated siding and window casings, extensive rehab of window sash and a complete exterior painting. We also removed hazardous trees around the farmhouse.

The Hummelbaugh house ceiling before repair. General Barksdale died in this house located along Pleasonton Avenue near Taneytown Road.

The Hummelbaugh house ceiling before repair. General Barksdale died in this house located along Pleasonton Avenue near Taneytown Road.

Reever Farmhouse – We continue the process of completing the interior and exterior work needed on this 1870’s farmhouse. Work on the interior will include a complete painting, the refinishing of the hardwood floors, the installation of new electric heating elements, and a remodeling of the kitchen including cabinets, floor and pantry. Exterior work will include the installation of a new cedar shingle roof, extensive work on window sash, sills and casing, replacement of severely deteriorated siding, rebuilding deteriorated exterior doors, installation of new gutters and downspouts and an exterior painting.

The Reever House along Wets Confederate Avenue, near Millerstown Road.

The Reever House along West Confederate Avenue, near Millerstown Road.

Weikert Farmhouse Roof – We have completed the work of installing a new cedar shingle roof on the farmhouse and summer kitchen, as well as re-attaching the front porch to this stone structure, which had pulled away considerably over the years. We have also repaired deteriorated elements of window sash, window sills and gable end siding on this historic stone structure.

The George Weikert house at United States Avenue and Hancock Avenue.

The George Weikert house at United States Avenue and Hancock Avenue.

Park wide Culverts – The process of repairing/rebuilding these stone and concrete culverts throughout the park has begun. These culverts have been damaged by buses, tractors and automobiles over the decades. There are over 200 in need of repair in the park. Some are in need of minor repairs, but most need complete rebuilding.

Damaged Culvert

Damaged Culvert

Trostle Barn – Work on the interior of this barn included the installation of a new white oak floor. The dimensions of the oak boards were approximately 1” thick with random widths and lengths. We also replaced a rotted sill log along the bank side of this barn and repaired the top portion of the stone foundation wall that carried this sill log.

Replacement flooring for the Trostle barn

White oak boards, one inch thick, make up the new flooring in the Trostle barn

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at some of the work that goes on, day in and day out,”behind the scenes” at Gettysburg National Military Park.  We are fortunate to have some of the best preservation experts in the National Park Service on our park staff, from woodcrafters and carpenters, to masons, plasterers, electricians, plumbers and more!

Thanks to Dan Mazzotti for providing the photos and the information in this blog.

Katie Lawhon, Management Assistant, 9/15/15


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8 Responses to Gettysburg Behind the Scenes: Buildings and Utilities

  1. Dennis Prehn says:

    Great Job keeping up the park. I always come there when visiting my brother in the Gettysburg area. My brother Ferdinand Prehn volunteers for the park watch and I join him on his tour of the park when I am there. The staff is always nice to me. Love your park.

  2. Thomas R. Flynn says:

    Thanks so much for the update on the varied rehab work that is ongoing within the various structures. I’m so pleased that your budget is allowing this important preservation work to continue.

    My last visit to GNMP was on the occasion of the 125th anniversary, July 1 ,2& 3, 1988. I can vividly recall each day of my extended visit. Unfortunately, I can no longer make such a long trip, but appreciate the dedicated efforts of the entire staff of GNMP.

  3. William Fean says:

    Great work to all those who keep and maintain one of the best National Parks in the nation. its always great to see this kind of work get acknowledged. Makes those of us that visit on a regular basis truly appreciate the work that goes into making our trips memorable and its great to see people keeping history “alive”.

  4. Fantastic work! I love how well-kept the Gettysburg battlefield is, and historic structures are especially precious. As a side note: Is there any way an “average joe” could visit the Rose Farm? i.e. I don’t want to trespass, but it’s always been my favorite farm and I would *love love love* to get some close-up photos!

  5. Ralph Siegel says:

    I applaud the building restorations and always point them out to visitors, but the refurbished benches in the cemetery (I thought they were new) have had the most beneficial impact on my quality of life. I spend a lot of time in the cemetery, on tours and on Park Watch, and it is crucial to be able to sit and take a load off. The benches are also welcome because at my age it is not safe to lie down and take a rest in the cemetery — they might start throwing dirt on you.

  6. Fred Knauf says:

    Great work and I commend the effort to complete so much during good and bad weather. The skill set of the crew and contractors amazes me.

    On a separate note, I’ve never understood why the Reever House continues to remain on the battlefield when it was not erected until after the battle. Sure it is beautiful and old, but it has no value in the battle interpretation, while several important houses &buildings which were on the field that day remain missing that, if rebuilt, would make interpretation of movements and leadership decisions a little more understandable (Bliss, Timbers, Rose Barn, etc.). Wouldn’t accuracy on this battlefield trump a 140 year old house right in the path of Confed. artillery?

  7. Phil Hood says:

    Question, how could I obtain simple blueprints or dimensions of the Trostle house and barn? I’m building a diorama and want to be accurate.

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