Look for the statue of Abraham Lincoln in downtown Gettysburg and you'll know you are in the right place!
This is the Lincoln Room Museum where the President actually lodged before delivering the Gettysburg Address. Inside, Abraham Lincoln is depicted at his desk composing the words to the address which he prepared in this very room. An audio tour sets the scene for this historic moment in history. A gift shop is on the premises.
Hours are 9 am-8 pm, but will vary with the season.
UPDATE: This building (The Wills House) has been purchased by the National Park Service. It will be restored and reopened at some later date. If you're in the area, don't forget to visit this historic place!
The countryside surrounding Gettysburg was once filled with farms. It's slowly being 'suburbanized', but the farm where the Eisenhowers once lived is an isolated pocket of rural beauty!
This is the only home of General and Mrs. Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was used as a retreat when he was President and he retired here when his term ended. A guided house tour takes you through Eisenhower's home where you'll see the actual furnishings on display. While you are here, take a self-guided tour of the farm and gardens. See where he took visiting dignitaries skeet shooting or lectured them on the basics of raising cattle.
If your child is under 12 years of age, he or she can become a Jr. member of the Secret Service, receiving a badge and book of clues to follow.
Many famous people visited the Eisenhowers, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, President Charles De Gaulle, Governor Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill to name a few.
The tour departs from the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor's Center. Times vary with the season. The only way to gain entrance to the farm is by purchasing a tour ticket. Prices are $5.50 for adults; $4 for children 13-16 and $3 for children 6-12. A shuttle bus provides transportation to the farm because parking is limited. (Our last visit was in January, 2006 and the charge for two adults and one child was only $11.00--apparently the prices vary according to the season)
This is the Virginia Memorial to General Robert E. Lee who is sitting upon his horse, Traveler. Until the battle of Gettysburg, Lee had been reaping one victory after another. The tide turned after these three tumultuous days.
Robert E. Lee was the son of Revolutionary War hero, Harry "Lighthorse Harry" Lee. Robert E. distinquished himself in the Mexican War and the Civil War, eventually being appointed commander of all the Confederate Armies in 1865.
This is a very regal rendering of the South's best hope. When one examines this monument, a deep sense of this General's importance and the respect he held in the hearts of those he led is immediately realized.
Park hours are Nov.1-Mar.31, 6 am-7 pm; Apr.1-Oct.31, 6 am-10 pm.
This is where I must begin my tips because I had this on the top of my list when we visited Gettysburg this time around. The American Civil War Museum used to be called the Civil War Wax Museum and though the name has changed, the exhibits sure haven't! I was a little worried they would have updated it since I was here last--like 15 years ago but it turns out is hasn't been updated since my Aunt visited it 25 years ago!
There are exhibits highlighting key events that took place during the time of the Civil War--such The Underground Railroad, The Caning of Sumner who opposed slavery, Lincoln's election and of course, the war itself. While some of the exhibits seem a bit silly and most of the wax figures don't appear at all lifelike, there is some animation and narration. And there are about 2 or 3 figures that you swear are staring right at you.
Some of the costumes were sewn and put together by my grandmother...so if you visit, keep that in mind:)
The BEST part of the Wax Museum is the finale...a presentation where, at the very end, Lincoln rises from the ground and gives his famous Gettysburg Address. He is very animated, however, I don't believe while saying "Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth to this continent a new nation...etc, etc", he was truly flailing about as much as they have Wax Lincoln doing.
Even though there are a few things that definitely need maintenance (there's a little too much creaking there at the end), I recommend this place highly.
Wax figures sure know how to tell a story!
Another nice one, right down the road from the Louisiana Monument.
I have a special place in my heart for the people of Alabama, so I have an equal fondness for this monument. Ironic, I should have this attachment to this particular monument since during my 3 years I lived in Alabama, NO one let me forget I was a "Yankee"
This is an interactive monument! Well, not really, but you do get to climb up into the tower and get a very nice view at Little Round Top. There are SO many NY monuments and memorials, but this is my favorite. There are lots of people in this area, though. Little Round Top is definitely one of the more popular areas
This beautiful "mural" is in danger and needs to be saved, from what I understand. Cycloramas are 360 degree paintings that tell stories--they were very popular in the late 1800's and early 1900s but there are very very few left. This one is an exception, but now there is an ongoing effort to either restore it or the building between 2003-2007, I'm not quite clear on the details.
Regardless of anything else, it's a piece of history in and of itself. Completed in 1884 by French artist Paul Philippoteaux, it's a massive oil painting he completed in 2 years...first shown in Chicago, moved to Gettysburg where it was shut down and eventually moved. Today, it is accompanied by a 20 minute "sound and light display" to take you through the story of the battle of Gettysburg.
What's most impressive about this is that it's a painting that weighs 3 tons!
My grandmother worked in this museum until she was 80 years old! Funny for me to picture her working in a position that requires you to tone down the smart comments...she could be brutal at times. Anyway...the Battle Theatre is exactly what is says it is: it's a museum of a miniature battlefield with 25,000 figures that show you the strategy and timeline of the battle. I like this place more for the show--it's not someone standing there telling you by moving these little figures by hand--the little battlefield is accompanied by a multimedia presentation that runs about 30 minutes.
The gift shop is pretty nice, too. I remember coming in here and getting little erasers in the shapes of fruits and animals. They smelled good. I went looking for them this time around, but there is no evidence of these erasers. Strange-- the things I miss:-)
Thinking about it now, I'm sure the woman who works in the gift shop presently must think I'm crazy coming in and asking for something like erasers.
It recommends you see this and then take the bus tour. They are both owned by the same company
Located on the battlefield, down a small trail from the Confederate state monuments, the ampitheatre was one of my favorite places as a kid. This is where some of the programs are given, but best of all, in the summer, it's where you'll find the campfires. One of the things I appreciate the most about the National Park Service is that it doesn't matter what kind of park is it--a battlefield, a national historical park, a national recreation area, national monument...they tend to keep up the tradition of giving campfires. It's great--story telling, activities, maybe some songs. If you have children, touring all day on the battlefield may not keep their interest all that long. The campfire is the perfect solution! It's great for me too--I'll never get sick of them:)
Check out the program guides to see when they are given.
Also, there are other special events held here--I THINK I can remember a little concert, definitely church services and some other things.
This tour is interesting because it takes you into the daily life of not soldiers, but of a regular family living in Gettysburg and how Confederates took over their house. The father was away fighting and the mother was at home, in this house, taking care of her children when the southern troops occupied it. They came in and knocked little holes in the walls so they were able to aim their guns out to the street. I also like this place because it's not just a guided tour, but it's told in first person. The guides wear period costumes and put on the tour as if it really is 1863 and they are dealing with their town being taken over by Civil War Troops. It's decorated and presented very accurately--a family who lived in this house decided to take on the task of converting and restoring it back themselves.
Gettysburg is teeming with history--step up to meet some of the people who made a difference! These soldiers were outside the Dobbinhouse Tavern (Steinwehr Street) portraying Union soldiers.
Here's a thimble full of history: The area where Gettysburg lies once belonged to the Iroquois Indians. The family of William Penn purchased the land from them in 1736. A tavern was established here by Samuel Gettys in 1761. Gettys son, James, plotted out a town of 210 lots surrounding a central square which became Gettysburg by 1786.
One of our trips to Gettysburg coincided with a reenactment. What a fascinating experience it was! Fine ladies in their lovely gowns; gentlemen smartly dressed and the infantry in authentic garb. Not only were they in the town, but also in the battlefield demonstrating military precedure.
Plan to visit Gettysburg when a reenactment is scheduled. You won't be disappointed! The next one is scheduled for July 2,3 & 4, 2010. For more information on the reenactments, see www.gettysburgreenactment.com. Visit with General Longstreet and General A.P.Hill--be a guest at a Civil War era wedding!
If you enjoy history like we do, observing a reenactment is one of the ways to learn more about these turbulent times.
This memorial honors those who died fighting hand to hand combat at the Angle. It occured on the third and last day of battle--Picketts famous charge ended here. At the conclusion of the charge, which lasted 50 minutes, there were 10,000 casualties.
There is such a solemn feel throughout the entire Gettysburg Battlefield area. The sacrifices made here call for a respectful accounting. The monuments scattered over many acres give visitors an understanding of the magnitude of the battle.
Park hours are 6 am-10 pm., Apr 1-Oct.31; 6 am-7 pm, Nov. 1-Mar.31.
Here you can really step back in time, and see it all as it was back then.
Uniforms, battered drums, and rusty canteens. A great historical portrayal, with sight and sound, featuring all the major battles of the Civil War.
There's not much to say about these monuments--there are visible from the auto tour and I'm going to put a few of my favorites as must see activities and others in a travelogue. The Confederate states have their monuments together, the Louisiana is one of my favorites..if you look at it, you'll see that it's beautiful, thoughtful and symbolic:)
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