Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gettysburg park adding old train station, land at base of Big Round Top

Progression of station repainting to white (Gettysburg Foundation)

The 1858 train station that served as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg and welcomed President Abraham Lincoln for his famous address months later will soon be part of the national military park.

The Gettysburg Foundation can move forward with its plans to donate the Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad station and an undeveloped 45-acre parcel of battlefield land, the National Park Service said in a press release Monday.

The move is possible because of federal legislation that added the acquisitions to Gettysburg National Military Park’s boundaries.

The foundation and the park will work together to create a plan and a timeline for transfer of the properties, and an operating plan for the train station. The NPS will use the station as an information center.

“The train station will serve as a critical component in commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s visit in November of 1863 to give the Gettysburg Address,” the Park Service said. “Upon arrival at the station on November 18, Lincoln walked one block to the David Wills House, where he spent the night before riding to the newly established Soldiers’ National Cemetery to give his now famous 272 word speech, the Gettysburg Address.”

President Lincoln at Gettysburg (Library of Congress)

The borough of Gettysburg completed a rehabilitation of the station, located on Carlisle Street, in 2006 but was unable to operate it because of a lack of funds. The foundation bought the site this year for $500,000, according to the York Dispatch.

The 45-acre parcel at the base of Big Round Top is vacant land that abuts the southeastern boundary of the park. Cavalry skirmishes occurred near this site and it has critical wetlands and wildlife habitat related to Plum Run, officials said.

The train station was an emotional center in the borough in the battle’s aftermath, with the wounded and dead shipped off, as well as the arrival of family members desperate to learn the fate of soldiers.

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