Timeline: 30 Years of Battlefield Preservation | American Battlefield Trust
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Timeline: 30 Years of Battlefield Preservation

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A brief timeline highlights of the American Battlefield Trust’s greatest efforts
APCWS Founders
APCWS founders Will Greene, Bob Krick, Gary Gallagher and Denis Frye on the Antietam Battlefield in June 1988.




July 1987: Initial membership meeting of APCWS.


June 1988: Volume 1, Issue 1 of Hallowed Ground newsletter.

October 1988: First victory! The Coaling at Port Republic donated to APCWS.

October 1988: Manassas Stuart’s Hill controversy resolved in Congress.


March 1989: APCWS gets its first employee, executive director A. Wilson Greene.


Manuel Lujan and Ed Bearss
As secretary of the interior from 1989 to 1993, Manuel Lujan (left) oversaw creation o f the American Battlefield Protection Program and issuance of the Report of the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission. In 2006, he received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award – named for the man who had served as his NPS chief historian, Edwin C. Bearss.




November 1990: Congress creates Civil War Sites Advisory Commission.


May 1991: American Battlefield Protection Foundation (later the Civil War Trust) formed.

July 1991: NPS’s American Battlefield Protection Program established.

October 1991: Dedication ceremony at Hatcher’s Run, first battlefield interpreted under APCWS ownership.

December 1991: Civil War Trust completes its first acquisition, 40 acres at Antietam.


July 1992: Congress approves Civil War commemorative coin sales to fund battlefield preservation.


July 1993: CWSAC releases landmark report on the state of the nation’s battlefields.


January 1995: Civil War commemorative coin designs unveiled.

February 1995: First informal trustee discussions of merger potential.

March 1995: Civil War Discovery Trail guidebook published.


March 1996: First major education program, Civil War Explorer, launched.

April 1996: Civil War Trust hosts first Park Day volunteer event.

April 1996: First membership conference held in Nashville, Tenn.


August 1997: Civilwar.org launch brings organization to the Internet.


March 1998: Representatives of APCWS and CWT formally meet to discuss merger.

November 1998: First Civil War Trust photo contest.


November 1999: Final board meetings of APCWS and CWT held to officially vote on merger.

December 1999: Jim Lighthizer begins tenure as president of the Civil War Preservation Trust.


Then & Now: Chancellorsville
In July 2002, CWPT “went to war” against a developer who sought to build 2,350 residences and 2.4 million square feet of commercial space on hallowed ground at Chancellorsville. The plan sparked massive community outcry, including hundreds of protestors at a candlelight vigil in the now outside a county board of supervisors meeting. The Coalition to Save the Chancellorsville Battlefield ultimately brokered a win-win-solution and, in 2006, the Trust’s 215-acre First Day at Chancellorsville battlefield park opened to the public.
Jamie Betts Photo




June 2000: CWPT buys Cross Keys Widow Pence Farm at auction.


July 2002: Lighthizer “declares war” on Chancellorsville development plans.

November 2002: Permanent federal matching grants program authorized.


September 2004: Win-win solution announced for First Day at Chancellorsville site.


March 2005: National Geographic features major article on plight of battlefields.

November 2005: Franklin, Tenn., symbolically demolishes downtown Pizza Hut.


August 2006: Developer illegally lays utility pipe through Harpers Ferry NHP.

October 2006: ABPP announces
$2 million grant for Slaughter Pen Farm.

December 2006: First Gettysburg casino proposal defeated.


Fort Steadman at Petersburg
Through the end of 2016, the Trust had protected more than 2,500 acres associated with the 10-month siege of Petersburg, Va., but nearly 80 percent of that land was outside the authorized boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield. However, after many years of advocacy by the Trust and other conservation groups, Congress voted to expand the park boundary, meaning this important land can become the property of the American people.
Buddy Secor




April 2010: Virginia creates first state-level battlefield matching grant program.

November 2010: Heritage tourism revolu- tionized with the first Battle App® guide.


January 2011: Organization simplifies its name to Civil War Trust.

January 2011: Facing opposition, Walmart relocates from Wilderness Battlefield.

April 2011: Sesquicentennial commemoration begins.

April2011: Second Gettysburg Casino proposal defeated.


November 2014:
 Campaign 1776 launches.

December 2014: Congress expands matching grant program to fund Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefield acquisition.


May 2015: Campaign 150 concludes,
 having raised $52.5 million for preservation.


Then & Now: Gettysburg
Removal of the commercial buildings surrounding Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Headquarters, the most ambitious landscape restoration project in Trust history, was completed in late 2016.
Lynn Light Heller