Stone Walls at Gettysburg get a Facelift

A large red barn sits along the edge of a road, a stone wall runs along the road and a row of trees is behind the barn.
This stone wall along Taneytown Road at the Frey Farm in Gettysburg National Military Park will be rebuilt this summer to improve safety.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: June 19, 2018

Contact: Katie Lawhon, 717-338-4402

This summer and fall, Gettysburg National Military Park will be rebuilding stone walls in three locations on the battlefield: along Emmitsburg Road south of the Peach orchard; along the Slyder Farm lane; and along Taneytown Road. The project is part of the park’s long-term battlefield rehabilitation program to bring back missing features on the battlefield landscape that played a role and shaped the outcome of the 1863 battle.
 
The project will rebuild 1,467 linear feet of missing stone walls including: Snyder farm fields along the Emmitsburg Road; and along the lane to the Slyder farm. The locations and alignments of the walls will be based on historic photographs, maps, including the G. K. Warren Map, the U.S. War Department survey maps of 1893-1895, and the 1863 period plans prepared as part of the Gettysburg Battlefield Landscape Treatment Plan. The height and appearance of thee rebuilt walls will be based on historic photographs and described in the Cultural Landscape Report Record of Treatment (2018).
 
The American Conservation Experience (ACE) is providing an 8-person work crew of young adults for the project. The program helps eliminate backlogs and engages young adults in conservation experiences with the National Park Service. ACE is modelled after the Youth Conservation Corps.
 
Safety hazard along Taneytown Road: The historic stone wall on the west side of Taneytown Road, immediately north of the Peter Frey (Biggs) barn is tumbling down the embankment and onto travel lanes of Taneytown Road (SR 134). Under the direction of the National Park Service, the work crew will dismantle the existing stone wall and move it approximately five feet west to allow space for the wall to be rebuilt using dry laid wall techniques and to avoid future safety concerns of rocks tumbling onto the roadway. This section of wall is 363 linear feet, beginning at the existing post and rail fence near the barn and ending at the first gate opening north of the barn. The rebuilt stone wall will use existing stone currently in place along this alignment.
 
Gettysburg National Military Park will have two ACE crews this summer. The first group arrived in early May and is already working with the park’s resource management division, rehabilitating historic woodlots at Culp’s Hill. Last summer at Gettysburg, an ACE crew treated non-native invasive vegetation and cut brush to help maintain historic Gettysburg landscapes.
 
“The work done by ACE helps improve the appearance of the Gettysburg battlefield and contributes to our preservation efforts,” said Chris Stein, acting superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park. “The project also provides an opportunity for youth to engage in shared environmental education and stewardship of our national parks.”
 
The newly rebuilt stone walls will be constructed using new material that meets the Secretary of the Interior Standards for Rehabilitation. Archeological testing will be completed prior to installation of missing walls. Existing walls will have metal detection survey work completed prior to the walls being rebuilt.



A black ink diagram of a Well Laid Wall from an 1887 manual.
An 1887 diagram of a Well Laid Wall.
An 1863 view of a stone wall along the east side of Brickyard Lane.
An 1863 view of a stone wall along the east side of Brickyard Lane. It's a detail view southeast from East Cemetery Hill.
This 1863 view of Gettysburg is looking northwest from Cemetery Hill. It shows a stone wall running along the left edge and another running from left to right. A few dozen homes are in the distance.
An 1863 detail of view northwest from Cemetery Hill that shows stone walls and a few dozen homes in the distance.
An 1863 picture of a low stone wall, running from the bottom right to the upper left, with two large buildings in the distance.
An 1863 picture of a low stone wall. Detail of view north from near McKnight's Hill.

Last updated: June 20, 2018

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