Rehabilitation of the northern section of Cemetery Ridge to its historic condition continued this month with the demolition of the old Cyclorama building. On March 11th, dozens of people came to the park to watch the final remaining portion of the building come down.
Since then, contractors are sorting recyclable metals and concrete is being crushed on site for clean fill to be used in the area, which will be returned as much as possible to its appearance at the time of the fighting in 1863 and the commemorative period from 1864 to 1938. On the building footprint itself, the park will replant grass, add some fencing, and return the 5th U.S. Artillery battery B tablet and cannons. Rebuilding fencing and returning the monument to its original position will be done in a later phase in 2014.
The park’s nonprofit partner, the Gettysburg Foundation, funded the demolition and is managing the contract. Grading and seeding will be completed by April 30th. During the month of May, the area will be fenced off so that the grass can become established. Weather permitting, the area will be opened up to foot traffic by Memorial Day.
What’s involved in future phases?
Reconfigure and reduce the size of the existing Cyclorama building parking lot in order to rehabilitate Ziegler's Ravine.
Partially rehabilitate historic grades of Ziegler's Ravine by regrading a 350-foot section of roadway to follow the battle era topography of Ziegler's Ravine.
Rebuild the 1863 historic fencing within the study area.
Rehabilitate the historic grades of Cemetery Ridge in the footprint and immediate vicinity of the Cyclorama building.
Rebuild the commemorative era sidewalk that was displaced by the Cyclorama building.
Monuments displaced by the Cyclorama building will be replaced in their historic footprint. These are the 5th US Artillery Battery F tablet, the 90th Pennsylvania Infantry monument, the 88th Pennsylvania Infantry monument, the 1st Massachusetts Sharpshooters position marker, and the 12th Massachusetts Infantry monument.
Additional changes in the area in the future include removing the old visitor center parking lot and reconfiguring and reducing the Cyclorama parking lot. Because the park anticipates needing all this parking during the 150th anniversary year at Gettysburg, landscape work is being postponed until 2014 at the earliest. The timing is also dependent on additional fundraising by the Gettysburg Foundation.