Et Tu, GBPA?

Civil War preservationists have had a rough couple of decades. New development is constantly popping up to threaten hallowed ground, forcing preservation organizations to raise yet more money, testify at yet another county supervisors’ meeting or file yet another lawsuit.

Throughout their struggles, such groups have often drawn strength from a sense of solidarity, knowing similar organizations supported them. Now, because of the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association’s decision to support building a casino, the Mason-Dixon Resort, close to the battlefield, that solidarity has been fractured.

I’m not going to debate the GBPA’s controversial decision here point by point (you can read its press release at, except to point out that its claim “the resort would not go beyond its already existing boundaries” is misleading. While the proposed resort might not extend beyond the bounds of the existing Eisenhower Conference Center, a casino could well serve as a magnet for development along the battlefield’s southern boundary.

More than anything, however, I wish the GBPA’s leaders had kept their mouths shut. If they wanted to support the casino, they could have done so quietly instead of broadcasting their decision and generating so much ill will.

I know, I know—I’m preaching to the choir. I just thought the GBPA was singing the same tune as the rest of us.


Originally published in the December 2010 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here