Gettysburg is an Endangered Battlefield

A proposed casino near the site of Pickett’s Charge has landed the Gettysburg National Military Park on the Civil War Preservation Trust’s list of the 10 most endangered battlefields in 2010.

In its annual report History Under Siege­, CWPT identified threats to the nation’s Civil War battlefields that range from wind turbines to a proposed Walmart. The most endangered battlefields, in alphabetical order are: Camp Allegheny, W.Va.; Cedar Creek, Va.; Fort Stevens, Washington, D.C.; Gettysburg, Pa.; Picacho Peak, Ariz.; Pickett’s Mill, Ga.; Richmond, Ky.; South Mountain, Md.; Thoroughfare Gap, Va.; and the Wilderness, Va.

Along with the typical encroachment of housing developments and cell phone towers, CWPT also identified budget cuts due to the poor economy as a significant source of concern.

Of Pickett’s Mill in Georgia—site of a somewhat rare Confederate win during General William Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign—CWPT says that “Following the most recent round of budget cuts last July, the park was forced to reduce its hours significantly, and is now only open three days a week. Of its original staff of five, only one full-time employee remains.”

In Arizona, lawmakers cut 61 percent of park funding last summer. In the past three years, half the park system employees have been laid off. That will affect Picacho Peak, which was scheduled to close June 3, barring a last-minute reprieve.

The economy is also partially responsible for the pitched battle in Gettysburg, where there’s a renewed effort to establish a resort casino a half-mile south of the battlefield.

A similar plan was defeated five years ago, but in today’s economic climate a job-creating $75 million complex is looking more tempting to local residents.

CWPT identified 15 more second-tier at-risk sites, including Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Colonial Williamsburg, which is taking note of its Civil War history in addition to its colonial past.

5 Responses

  1. Rob

    It is a sad comment that all significant Civil War sites are not fully protected 145 years after the war’s end. Increased population and development are inevitable and thousands of these battlefield acres are in private hands (not necessarily a bad thing!). When I visit any site the most important factor is that the core area,whether 5 acres or 500, are fully protected but also the vista and solemnity of the site is observed. Anything comercial within one-half a mile of the Gettysburg park boundary may or may not be significant. Wasn’t the park expanded by hundreds of acres a few years ago?

  2. Martin Bradley

    As an interested observer from England I can only state that the suggestion of a casino at Gettysburg fills me with horror. I have travelled from this country on many occasions to visit various battlefields of the Civil war and to Gettysburg twice. Though I am not an American I regard these places a sacred and should under no circumstances should they be violated by commercial enterprises. Such a proposition in my opinion violates and disrespects the all those who fought and died in this catastrophic war. Such an undertaking as building a Casino at Gettysburg would be similar as erecting a “Macdonalds” inside The Alamo. I sincerely hope that this misguided venture gets no further than a wish of the casino developers.

  3. Seth

    I disagree with the proposed casino to be built near the sight of Pickett’s Charge. This site has historical value and should be preserved. I can see how the budget cuts would almost be necessary in our current economy, but the old Civil War battlefields need to be protected for us and for future generations who want to learn about our past. It appears that local residents may not even see the significance of their own hometown. The Battle of Gettysburg had the largest number of casualties of any battle in the American Civil War, and yet they would rather build a casino or other business to make a profit. History is important and needs to be preserved. After all, it does have a tendency to repeat itself.

  4. William

    Nothing wrong with a casino but not right at Gettysburg. Put one five miles away from any part of the battlefield. If they like casinos they will drive that far to visit one.


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