Changes and New Views at Gettysburg

Yesterday on our trip up for Easter, we stopped for a few hours at Gettysburg.  I tend to get up that way at least once every few months, but in the time since my last visit there were a few changes to the park.

First off, Powers Hill is open so visitors can take in the “empowering” view.

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The park has placed a couple of authentic 3-inch rifles along with four replica guns to represent the Federal artillery that massed on this hill during the battle.

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The value gained by tromping this corner of the battlefield grew immensely after the park and its partners gained the ground directly in front of those guns.  The open field in the middle of the view above was once a private residence.  Visitors had to do their homework to understand why those monuments were placed on what seemed to be just a hill in the woods.  Once old sheds and buildings were removed, visitors can see why those batteries were placed there… more importantly, they can see exactly how those guns influenced the battle.

The other change is up on Cemetery Hill:

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After years of studies, debates, and legalities, the old cyclorama building is gone.  Others have detailed its demise, in video and photo.  So I won’t repeat that here.  As I have some personal links to that War Department monument in the background (Battery F, 5th US Artillery), I look forward to how the park restores and re-utilizes this portion of the park.

I know some have voiced displeasure of the changes to the park in recent decades.  They make some valid points.  But none that, in my opinion, would out weigh this outcome from the project:

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That’s the view from Devil’s Den overlooking the Confederate line of approach.  Priceless.  Yet, free for anyone who visits the park.   I call that tax dollars well spent.

The last change I noticed was the presence of several signs (and I should have stopped for a photo – Where’s Gettysburg Daily when we need them?).  These now delineate overflow parking.   Yes, we are just a few months away from THAT sesquicentennial.