American Battlefield Trust and Seminary Ridge Museum Announce Lee's Headquarters Open House Dates
Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231
Melissa Winn, (202) 367-1861 x7252
(Gettysburg, Pa.) — History enthusiasts with an affinity for exploration and thirst for knowledge can help satisfy their cravings this summer by adding an inside look at General Lee’s Gettysburg Headquarters to their itinerary. The American Battlefield Trust and Seminary Ridge Museum will once again be opening the building to visitors every Friday from June 2 to August 25, between 10:00 a.m. – 3 p.m EST. Standing on Seminary Ridge, this simple stone house was transformed into an icon of the Gettysburg Battlefield over the course of the first day’s battle and beyond. To expand upon the many faces and actions that the house witnessed throughout its history, on-site interpreters will be present during open house hours.
“As the nation commemorates the 160th anniversary of this decisive battle, the opportunity to step inside this important piece of its history offers a deeper understanding of what happened within its walls and on this battlefield,” said Trust President David Duncan. “The Trust is proud to make this valuable resource available for the public to visit and explore.”
During the Battle of Gettysburg, fought July 1-3, 1863, the small stone home of 69-year-old widow Mary Thompson served as the headquarters of Gen. Robert E. Lee. The property surrounding the house served as the scene of severe fighting on July 1, and was a key position in the Confederate line for the remainder of the engagement, which remains the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil.
In the decades following the battle, the Thompson house and adjacent property became a popular attraction amidst Gettysburg’s tourism boom, eventually morphing into a museum and motel complex. In 2014, the Trust announced plans to buy and restore the property nearly to its 1863 appearance — one of the Trust’s most ambitious restoration projects to date. After closing the deal in January 2015, the organization worked diligently to rehabilitate the home, return the landscape to its wartime appearance, and install an interpretive walking trail on the property, which opened on October 28, 2016. To learn more about the preservation story and see the full open house schedule, www.battlefields.org/LeesHQ.
The Trust and Seminary Ridge Museum have enjoyed a long partnership, offering an array of educational opportunities to Gettysburg visitors, including battlefield tours, exhibits, historian talks, and more. The Seminary Ridge Museum, in the Lutheran Seminary’s 1832 Schmucker Hall, became a Union observation post on the battle’s first day and then a field hospital that tended to the battle’s wounded soldiers. For details, see SeminaryRidgeMuseum.org.
The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected more than 56,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War across 155 sites in 25 states. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.