|View single post by PvtClewell|
|Posted: Thu Feb 14th, 2008 02:29 pm||
|The thing to keep in mind about Gettysburg is that the battle was fought in and around an already existing town. Commercialism began almost the moment the firing stopped as battlefield visitors began to arrive to tour the scene. It was an opportunity for residents to make a buck, and it hasn't stopped since.
Today, G-burg is probably the most visited of the nation's Civil War battlefields, requiring the accompanying development like hotels, restaurants and gift shops. The field is also very accessible by interstate for day-trippers.
Because the town is nearly surrounded by NPS property, the city limits can never really expand, thus limiting its tax base. The only true corridor for growth is eastward on Rt. 30 toward York, which by necessity has become extremely commercial.
If you're going to a battlefield for solace and introspection, G-burg may not be the place to go. Antietam can still offer that, but the G-burg experience offers its own special qualities nevertheless.
The NPS can infuriate me at times, but one of the good things it's been doing lately is trying to get the field to look as it did in 1863 by placing powerlines underground, clear cutting non-historic woodlands and rebuilding historic fence lines. I applaud that effort.
If you go to G-burg, just keep in mind that the commercialism of the town is actually part of its history and lore. Books have been written about the commercialism. It is what it is.
Fredericksburg, I think, is basically the same way. Both these fields have no choice to be other than what they are.
(This message approved by the Gettysburg Chamber of Commerce)