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Steven Spielberg scouts Gettysburg for Abe Lincoln film: ‘Thank you for keeping our history’

Steven Spielberg’s signature appears in the guest book at the David Wills House in Gettysburg, where President Abraham Lincoln stayed the night before delivering the Gettysburg Address. The noted director was in the Adams County town to reportedly research his upcoming film about President Abraham Lincoln. (See photograph of Spielberg at Will House below.) Also of interest: Gettysburg Battlefield Culp’s Hill discovery: ‘Not only is the bullet an artifact but the tree is too’
and Public gets Buford’s-eye view of Gettysburg Battlefield and George Armstrong Custer – and his horse – left legacy in York County and All Abe Lincoln was here posts..

Director Steven Spielberg was in Gettysburg this week, reportedly accompanied by Actor Daniel Day-Lewis and historian James McPherson.

The best thinking was that they were there to scope out a sites there – the Wills House and the train station – for a movie based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals.”

Here are excerpts from a Hanover Evening Sun/Associated Press report on the visit, ‘Steven Spielberg visits Gettysburg’:

Cheri Gainor had an exciting first day of work at the David Wills House in Gettysburg.
Film director Steven Spielberg visited the Civil War house Wednesday afternoon and was believed to be conducting research for his upcoming film about President Abraham Lincoln.
Spielberg toured the Wills House, where Lincoln slept before delivering the “Gettysburg Address,” around 1 p.m. and then wrote in the guest book: “Thank you for keeping our history.”
Gainor said it was a memorable first day.
“My excitement was beyond words,” she said. “I’m a huge fan of his movies.”
She said three other people accompanied Spielberg on the tour, one of whom she recognized to be Daniel Day-Lewis, the award-winning actor slated to play Lincoln in the film.
Filming is expected to begin this fall in Virginia and Sally Field has been cast as Mary Todd Lincoln.
A more appropriate place couldn’t have been chosen to research Abraham Lincoln.
In the Wills House, one bedroom has been arranged to appear as it would have during Lincoln’s stay in 1863. In fact, the very bed and bedspread used that night by Lincoln are among the artifacts in the house. Also, there is a 20-word telegram sent to the president from his wife the night before he delivered his famous speech.
On Wednesday, Spielberg also visited the 151-year-old train station on Carlisle Street, where Lincoln arrived to dedicate the national cemetery.
Station Manager Tracy Chromeas said Spielberg and company visited prior to touring the Wills House.
Chromeas did say one of the members in the party was Civil War historian James McPherson, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning “Battle Cry of Freedom.”
Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is based on the Doris Kearns Goodwin book “Team of Rivals.”

Also of interest
Yorkblogger Scott Mingus writes about the newly found rifle slugs in a downed oak tree in Gettysburg.
See coverage of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War at Civil War Echoes.
Big local event next week: Civil War Road Show.
Years after Civil War, (a) Longstreet steps onto York County soil.
Unsung farmhouse loud symbol of a shaping moment for York.
All Civil War posts from the start.

Steven Spielberg on the other side of a camera at the Wills House.

*Photos courtesy of the Hanover Evening Sun.