By late spring, the west side of Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg will highlight
important historic features, reconfigured parking, and a completion of a one
mile multiple use historic pathway. The project is set to begin as soon as
The project, supported by the Journey Through Hallowed
Ground National Scenic Byway program, will redesign traffic flow and
redistribute automobile parking to lessen the effect of paved surfaces in
critical historic areas and begin to restore the Seminary grove of trees west of
the Seminary Ridge roadway. Gettysburg is the northernmost point in the 180
mile historic corridor that runs along Route 15 to Monticello in Virginia.
The project will also complete the one mile multiple use historic pathway that
currently loops only through the campus on the eastern slopes of Seminary Ridge.
The project removes two tennis courts close to the last line of defense of
Seminary Ridge on July 1, 1863, and limits the amount of paved surface to a
A careful redesign of campus parking relocates high density
parking to a place behind the Lutheran Theological Seminary’s A.R. Wentz
library. This move cuts in half (34 spaces) the parking spaces in the immediate
area of the grove where on July 1, 1863, Union forces made their heroic last
stand. Safer pedestrian walkways, ADA parking spaces, and drop off and pick up
areas for bus and transit are included in the design will support the increased
visitation to the new Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum.
The plan, created by the Seminary and the Seminary Ridge Historic
Preservation Foundation (SRHPF), replants two trees for each one of the
remaining trees in the grove. Plans for replanting appropriate oak trees in the
Seminary grove were aided by the National Park Service’s Olmstead Center for
Landscape Preservation. They have recommended native oak species that will not
block the view of the historic seminary building cupola once they mature.
Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation leaders consulted with
Gettysburg National Military Park staff in the final planning for the project.
A team of historians collaborated on the texts and photos planned for the 18
waysides scattered along the one mile path.
SRHPF officials noted that the few remaining oak and ash trees near the top
of the Ridge obscure the building and the cupola which was much more prominent
on the horizon in 1863. Photos from the 1860’s and 1880′s document the tree
height and position and density. During the construction of the first part of
the pathway on the Eastern half of the campus, Seminary officials heard from
concerned citizens when the earth was carved up to install depressed areas to
collect storm water runoff and recharge the ground water. They also noted that
completion of the pathway elicited many more comments of gratitude and
“We are losing the grove of trees to age and ash boring insects and the
current view is interrupted by concentrated parking of 68 vehicles,” said John
Spangler, president of the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation.
“This project will preserve the view shed of Schmucker Hall from the west and
restore a grove- like appearance to the area that now has only about 20 trees
left, none of which are historic ‘witness trees’,” he added. Spangler also
indicated that an information session for neighbors and interested members of
the public will be scheduled for early March.
See this link for more information
about the project, including illustrations and maps.
The new Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum will open to the public July 1,
2013, and will feature 20,000 square feet of interactive exhibit galleries and
educational programming to interpret three major areas of emphasis—none of which
are the focus of any other museum in Gettysburg: the pivotal first day of the
Battle of Gettysburg on Seminary Ridge; the care of the wounded and human
suffering within the museum building during its use as a Civil War field
hospital; and the moral, civic, and spiritual debates of the Civil War era. A
one-mile outdoor trail will complement a museum visit with wayside markers.
Special exhibits, programs and events will be offered throughout the year.
The museum project is a joint venture of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at
Gettysburg, the Adams County Historical Society and the SRHPF. Design
consultants include MM Architects of Lancaster, and ELA Group of Lititz, PA.,
with Delta Development, Harrisburg, PA assisting with public funding.