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Historic Gettysburg Electric Map: Hanover’s newest Civil War attraction

Scott Mingus photo
Scott Mingus photo

Like many Civil War buffs, I have very fond memories of taking my kids to see the famous Gettysburg Electric Map, which once was the centerpiece of the Rosensteel Museum and then the successor Gettysburg National Military Park Museum. Constructed of painted plaster by George Rosensteel using nails as height/elevation guides, the electric map thrilled generations of Gettysburg visitors until it was removed by the National Park Service during the demolition of the old museum/book store. Cut up and placed in storage, the map languished until Hanover, Pa., businessman and entrepreneur Scott Roland acquired it and painstakingly restored it using modern wiring and LED lights.

Recently, I met with Marc Charisse, the former Hanover Evening Sun newspaperman, who is now heavily involved with the electric map project as its spokesperson, tour guide, and operator. He is planning a series of special events at the map, some of which will include book signings by me and illustrated lectures on the Civil War history of Hanover. I may also give my Underground Railroad in York County talk, with a focus on Hanover and southwestern York County routes and conductors. There will be special Christmas events as well.

Marc Charisse, tour guide and host for the famed Gettysburg Electric Map (Scott Mingus photo)
Marc Charisse, tour guide and host for the famed Gettysburg Electric Map (Scott Mingus photo)

The map room is open on a set schedule, with special showings available for groups if interested. Schedule: Thursdays 9 am to 5 pm; Fridays 10 am to 6 pm; and Saturdays 8 am to 4 pm. Admission to the one-hour presentation (which includes the original 22-minute Rosensteel narrative) is only $8 for adults and $4 for children/students (comparable to the price of a movie ticket!). Additional summer hours and Sunday showings are also available for groups or for special events.  There is plenty of free and public off-street parking available!

Marc Charisse also gives personalized guided tours of the Hanover battle, one of the Civil War’s rare cavalry street fights. Confederates under Major General J.E.B. Stuart battled Union troopers under General H. Judson Kilpatrick on June 30, 1863, the day before the battle of Gettysburg commenced.

Please contact Marc or the other Hanover Heritage Center staff members at 717-739-8364 for electric map tickets, tour reservations, or information, or visit the website at www.hanoverhcc.com. The email address is hanoverheritage@gmail.com

Exterior of the Hanover Heritage Center, which houses the Gettysburg Electric Map (Scott Mingus photo)
Exterior of the Hanover Heritage Center, which houses the Gettysburg Electric Map (Scott Mingus photo)

The Hanover Heritage Center is located at 22 Carlisle Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania, less than a block from the town square and just 15 miles from the Gettysburg National Military Park. There is ample space for special events, presentations, reenactor events, symposiums, and other public activities. At this time, there is no elevator to the second floor housing the electric map, so persons with difficulty climbing a typical flight of stairs may not at present be able to view the map.

Big Round Top and Little Round Top dominate the miniature landscape (Scott Mingus photo)
Big Round Top and Little Round Top dominate the miniature landscape (Scott Mingus photo)

If you are a member of a Civil War Round Table, history club, church group, Lions Club or similar civic or social organization, why not give Marc Charisse a call and book your next meeting at the Hanover Heritage Center, including a personalized presentation of the Gettysburg Electric Map? It makes for a unique meeting space!

The Gettysburg Electric Map is part of an effort to make Hanover a destination vacation day for Gettysburg buffs (Scott Mingus photo)
The Gettysburg Electric Map is part of an effort to make Hanover a destination vacation day for Gettysburg buffs (Scott Mingus photo)

I am looking forward to supporting the Electric Map project by book signings, PowerPoint presentations, and other special appearances in the future!