Park To Remove Intrusions
Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation will be working together this spring to remove modern intrusions from Devil’s Den on the Gettysburg battlefield.
The Gettysburg Foundation has raised funds to remove the restroom as well as the intrusive utility lines that provide power to it. The Foundation will also bury intrusive overhead utility lines in several areas in the southern part of the battlefield near the historic Althoff, Slyder, and Trostle farms.
Initially, the Park had asked the Foundation to raise funds to bury the intrusive power lines to the Devil’s Den restroom but concerns about potential environmental impacts to the floodplain and the geology, as well as the expense of burying the lines in a boulder field, led to the decision to remove the restroom altogether, in favor of returning more of the area to its battle era appearance.
"The building is in a sensitive location for the environment and for the historic scene," said J. Mel Poole, interim superintendent for Gettysburg NMP. "We think we can offer comfort facilities for the visitors elsewhere and do a better job with preserving the historic battlefield here."
The boulders of Devil’s Den and the nearby stream known as Plum Run are significant "major battle action areas" of the Gettysburg battlefield. Benning’s and Law’s Confederate brigades advanced across the area while attacking the lines of the Union army on July 2, 1863. The restroom building dates to 1935 and does not contribute to the national significance of the park, as documented on the National Register of Historic Places.
The current roadways, visitor parking, and paths at Devil’s Den, as well as the pedestrian bridge over Plum Run, will stay. Visitors will be directed to use other park restrooms nearby, such as at the South End Guide Station on Emmitsburg Road and next to the Pennsylvania Memorial.
The project is part of a long term plan to return the major battle action areas of the park to their appearance at the time of the fighting in July 1863. The Gettysburg Foundation is funding and managing the project on behalf of the National Park Service.
Prior to making the decision to remove the restroom building, the National Park Service consulted with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
The Gettysburg Foundation, www.gettysburgfoundation.org, is a private, nonprofit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg.
Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American History. Information is available at http://www.nps.gov/gett.
Did You Know?
Major General George Gordon Meade was appointed to command the Union "Army of the Potomac" just three days before the battle of Gettysburg. He was honored in 1896 with an equestrian statue at Gettysburg National Military Park.