Gettysburg’s Day One Battlefield Threatened
Use your voice to tell officials that Gettysburg’s battlefield must be protected
On Tuesday, September 28, 2022, by a vote of 3-2, the Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors followed the recommendation of the Planning Board and denied a proposed development plan for an apartment complex on historic land directly abutting a portion of Gettysburg National Military Park along Willoughby Run. While this iteration of development proposal will not proceed, the Trust will closely monitor the situation as it may evolve.
On September 27, the Cumberland Township Board of Supervisors is expected to consider a proposed development plan for an apartment complex on historic land directly abutting a portion of Gettysburg National Military Park along Willoughby Run. The Township Planning Board recently denied a motion for a waiver, indicating the project “doesn’t meet the spirit of the comprehensive plan.” However, it is the township’s Board of Supervisors who will make the final determination on the project.
Known historically as the Emmanuel Harmon Farm, the American Battlefield Trust played a role in the 2011 preservation of this critical July 1 site that witnessed severe fighting between soldiers of the Union First Corps and the Confederate Third Corps.
A local developer has submitted a proposal to build a 112-unit, multi-building, multi-story apartment rental complex on 14.5 acres – land once part of the former Gettysburg Country Club, although the golf course portion has been part of the national park for a decade. If built, these buildings would rest on the very ground where Confederate troops rushed toward the fighting and battled to push toward the town.
In the past 20 years, Gettysburg National Military Park has undergone an amazing transformation: a new visitor center, viewshed rehabilitation, newly preserved and restored landscapes – including many American Battlefield Trust-supported projects. Even now, Little Round Top is undergoing a major rehabilitation project. These expensive and critical efforts are meant to ensure that Gettysburg remains a place that stirs the “better angels of our nature.” Imagine if – the next time you visit the solemn ground where the famed Iron Brigade and Pettigrew’s North Carolinians clashed along Willoughby Run – you were greeted by large-scale and incongruous development.
While we recognize the importance of balancing preservation with development to meet the demands of a thriving modern community, this proposal undermines the work done by preservationists to maintain Gettysburg as the special place it is for so many. Our hallowed battlefields not only point to who we are as Americans, but they also enable current and future generations to appreciate the immense sacrifice that others paid to preserve our nation.
Whether you are a local resident, frequent visitor to Gettysburg, or someone passionate about preserving our nation’s Battlefields, it’s essential that we make our voices heard and share our concerns with Cumberland Township Officials. Please consider attending the expected Board of Supervisors hearing on September 27, or sign a letter urging the Supervisors to reject this proposal.
Sign a Letter Voicing Your Continued Opposition
While this proposal will not proceed, the Trust will be monitoring the situation closely as it may continue to evolve. If you live near Adams County, Pa., or have a passion for preserving the Gettysburg Battlefield, consider signing one of our letters opposing the proposed land development plan that would allow for a multi-building apartment complex adjacent to national park property on the first day battlefield at Gettysburg.