Administrative Histories

Ralph Happel (seated) inteviews Phenie Tapp (seated with dog at feet) in front of farm house
Park historian Ralph Happel interviews Phenie Tapp in 1937

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The park's first administrative history was written by park employee Ralph Happel in 1955. It covers the history of the park until that point, including the land before the Civil War, early battlefield development, and changes made by the War Department and the National Park Service in the 1920s and 1930s.

 
Park Ranger standing on Sunken Road with modern houses in background
NPS Employee stands on the Sunken Road, where a rehabilitated landscape is threatened by modern encroachments, such as the houses in the background

NPS Photo


The most recent park administrative history, entitled At the Crossroads of Preservation and Development: A History of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park (2011), was written by contracted historian Joan M. Zenzen. This work builds on Happel's history as well as covering the pivotal eras of battlefield development after 1955. It offers an excellent analysis of the park on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Last updated: February 8, 2016

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