Thursday, December 20, 2018

Gettysburg monuments: Nonprofit partners supporting preservation of 350 memorials

Park staff waxing the Vermont monument (NPS photo)

Two nonprofit groups have matched federal funding so that Gettysburg National Military Park can perform preservation work and repairs on about one-fourth of the battlefield’s 1,300 monuments.

Park officials on Wednesday said that the Gettysburg Foundation provided $50,765 and the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA) gave $43,300 in a dollar-for-dollar match, for a total of $188,129 toward the work.

Preservation specialists on staff will continue work on 350 monuments by “steam cleaning stone features and pedestals, repointing and preserving masonry, power-washing and waxing all bronze elements, and repairing and replacing missing or broken bronze features, as necessary.”

The federal funding comes from the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, which provides $20 million in fiscal 2018 from proceeds from the sale of federal helium, to be used for deferred maintenance projects requiring a minimum 50% match from a non-federal source. 

“Public-private partnerships help stretch federal dollars to take care of national parks,” said Ed Wenschhof Jr., acting superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park, in a statement.

Park staff reset the 3rd Massachusetts Battery monument (NPS)

A February 2013 Picket article gave an overview of the work done by monument specialists at Gettysburg.

Among the park’s most popular monuments are the colossal Pennsylvania State Memorial on Hancock Avenue and the Virginia Monument, topped by a statue of a mounted Robert E. Lee looking on at the futile Pickett’s Charge.

“The interesting thing I find about this battlefield is the monuments were erected by the veterans. It’s not that you and I put it up to our great-grandfather,” Lucas Flickinger, head of the monument preservation team, told the Picket at the time. “They fought the battle and put in their time and effort to putting up this monument … It is a testament to that generation they came back and had strong feelings about what they did.”

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