I first visited Gettysburg in 1967. Among the things I recall distinctly were the wax museum (I gather it’s aged, but not changed); the diorama at the Dobbin House (it’s a shame that’s gone); a meal at the Eternal Light Inn (that’s gone, and just as well); and a few toy/souvenir stores (long gone). Among the highlights of my visit were the Electric Map (then in private hands) and the relatively new Cyclorama Center, which had opened just five years before my arrival.
This weekend brought news that reminded me that things had changed over the past forty-five years. First, you can now bid to buy the Electric Map, which is dismantled, its old home having been taken down (I possess a brick from the old place, which saw service for decades as the park’s visitor center). So far no one has put down a bid (the bidding starts at five dollars), although it pays to read the fine print before you do so. If I were the NPS, I’d consider selling the lights from the map before doing away with it, as well as offering a few select pieces of the terrain (although I can see where the latter might cause problems).
And, at long last, it’s time to do something about the Cyclorama Building. Efforts by the NPS to dismantle or demolish it have encountered some snags, but at last there’s a process in place that should lead to the end of this saga. The NPS is soliciting your input on this document, which outlines three plans of action … keeping the building intact, destroying it, or selling it to a buyer who would have to remove it. Each choice has interesting consequences for the area under discussion, so it is well worth your time to read the document.
Of course, the truly entrepreneurial among you might consider buying the building to use as a place to view the Electric Map … because that’s a steal at $5. Maybe you can put a casino in it as well.