Following Business Relocation, American Battlefield Trust to Acquire, Restore "General Pickett's Buffet" Site
Jim Campi, (202) 367-1861 x7205
Mary Koik, (202) 367- 1861 x7231
(Gettysburg, Pa.) — When he made the decision to relocate his popular business, the iconic General Pickett’s Buffet, to larger facilities south of the battlefield, Gettysburg restauranteur Gary Ozenbaugh knew exactly what he wanted to become of the original site: he approached the American Battlefield Trust about preservation options.
“As he contemplated the future of his business, Gary Ozenbaugh, made a proactive and profound choice,” said Trust president David Duncan. “By treating his enterprise as two distinct assets — a successful business and the real estate it occupied — he was able to pursue a personal preservation goal without diminishing his beloved community’s economic vitality or negatively impacting his employees and vendors. He is to be commended for demonstrating a deep understanding of the values that make Gettysburg unique, and the Trust is honored to help realize his vision.”
For decades, the restaurant has been part of the battlefield backdrop experienced by millions of visitors, standing at the edge of Gettysburg National Military Park and visible from much of the area where the climactic Pickett’s Charge occurred on July 3, 1863. Now, following a $1.5-million campaign to cover acquisition and subsequent restoration costs, the Trust will be able to more seamlessly integrate the site into the adjacent parkland.
“It has been a privilege to contribute to the Gettysburg community for so many years, welcoming classroom field trips and family road trips by the tens of thousands,” said Ozenbaugh. “I know that, through working with the Trust, I am able to help enrich the experience of visitors for generations to come.”
To secure the land, the Trust will apply for a 50 percent matching grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program. But Ozenbaugh, being preservation-minded, has agreed to allow the Trust to take ownership before year-end for half of the purchase price, while awaiting disbursal of the federal grant to cover the remainder.
This means that, thanks to funds already committed, including a contribution from the Gettysburg Foundation, the Trust must raise an additional $550,000 by December 15 to complete the transaction. An online donation mechanism allowing donors to take advantage of this matching opportunity is now available at www.battlefields.org/3to1match.
Although the beloved eatery is moving on from its Steinwehr Avenue roots, it is not disappearing from the Gettysburg landscape. A restaurant from the same proven team is set to open as an anchor of the reimagined Boyd’s Bear complex, which has sat vacant since 2011. The new vision for the property was first unveiled in September by new owner Brian Smith, who grew up less than a mile from the site. The scenario is a true win-win for everyone involved: more preserved battlefield and a new interpretive site to draw visitors, and a beloved institution thriving in a new location, retaining local jobs and accommodating even more customers.
“I’m thrilled that this outstanding and beloved local business will flourish with us at its new home in The Barn Resort (formerly Boyd’s Bear Country) located at 75 Cunningham Road in Gettysburg,” said Smith. “This is the heart around which we are growing a vision to create a family-focused destination that supports the many treasures of Gettysburg while allowing for the preservation of historically significant areas. We look forward to welcoming guests in late spring of 2023.”
In purchasing the Pickett’s Buffet site, the Trust is acquiring a half-acre that overlooks the field of Pickett’s Charge, across which, on July 3, 1863, some 12,000 Confederate soldiers advanced, without cover, toward Cemetery Ridge. In World War I, the area now used as restaurant parking was the headquarter of Camp Colt, where American troops trained in the emerging art of tank warfare before deploying to Europe; in 1918, the site was commanded by a young Dwight David Eisenhower who so loved the battlefield and town that he later made Gettysburg his home. The same site eventually became a prisoner of war camp for captured German soldiers during WWII.
Additional information on the parcel’s multilayered history and the developing plan to restore the area to its wartime appearance — as well as a donation mechanism for history lovers and national park aficionados to contribute towards its purchase before the December 15 deadline — are available at www.battlefields.org/3to1match.
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 55,000 acres associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. Learn more at www.battlefields.org.