Demolition unit will soon overrun old Gettysburg visitors center position
The information booth at the former visitor center for Gettysburg National Military Park was at time a place of bustle. Now it awaits demolition with the rest of the old building, expected in the next three or four weeks. Background posts: Two developers have plans for a relocated Gettysburg Cyclorama building and Half dozen groups probe acquisition of Gettysburg’s retired Electric Map and Gettysburg Cyclorama critics: Reviews ranged from ‘huge dinosaur’ to ‘I was captivated’.
A commenter on a York Daily Record story on the upcoming demolition of the old visitors center at Gettysburg National Military Park raised a good point.
Hold an auction to offset part of the $800,000 in projected demolition costs. A photo of the information desk (above), for example, shows framed pictures that people might want for a souvenir.
But perhaps the park service should go one step further… .
Fencing sets off the old visitors center at Gettysburg National Military Park.
Hold an open house – or is it a closing house? – for people to wander through the old center for the last time. Charge $10 a piece and offset that a bit by providing a reduced price ticket for the new visitor center. That way, visitors can see the old and the new in the same day. Their appreciation of the new center will grow even more.
The point is that the old center can still draw people, so why not use it to raise revenue?
An excerpt from the Hanover Evening Sun story (3/4/09), also appearing in the York Daily Record/Sunday News and on the Web, follows:
In hallways where thousands of schoolchildren and tourists once crowded together, the exhaled breath of a lone visitor now hangs visible in the cold, empty air.
The heat was long ago turned off at Gettysburg National Military Park’s former museum and visitor center, which, with a pending fate of demolition, is merely a shell of its former self.
Today, the place is an eerie mess, full of empty shelves, scattered papers and outdated brochures.
Forgotten coffee mugs and an empty vending machine linger in the break room. Old lockers and mailboxes left behind still bear the names of park employees. A poster left hanging on an upstairs wall advertises the 2008 opening of the new museum and visitor center on Baltimore Pike.
The new center opened last April, but there is unfinished business at the former museum on Taneytown Road. Recently, crews began the process of inspecting, and ultimately, demolishing the 88-year-old building.
Within a month, workers will begin to demolish the center piece by piece, said Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman Dru Neil.
The Gettysburg Foundation, the park’s private partner that operates the new museum, is paying a Maryland-based company, Interior Specialists, $800,000 to demolish both the former visitor center and, eventually, the Cyclorama building.
But the fate of the Cyclorama building, which once housed the 360-degree Cyclorama painting of Pickett’s Charge, depends on the outcome of a federal lawsuit that pits the park against a preservation group that hopes to save the structure. Neil said that demolition project will wait until the lawsuit is settled.
In the meantime, though, demolition is a certain fate for the former museum.
As for how long it will take, Neil said that has yet to be determined. But the contractor expects to begin dismantling the building in the next three to four weeks, she said.
The demolition project is one part of a plan that dates back nearly a decade to restore the 6,000 acres of Gettysburg battlefield within the park’s boundary to its appearance in 1863.