Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Civil War Preservation Trust Accepting Nominations for Endangered Battlefields Report

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, is accepting nominations through its website for an annual report on endangered Civil War battlefields. The report, entitled History Under Siege®, identifies the most threatened Civil War sites in the United States and what can be done to rescue them.

“Too often the threats to our priceless historical treasures go unnoticed,” noted CWPT President James Lighthizer. “This report is a rallying cry to the nation, a powerful reminder that our hallowed battlefields are in imminent danger.”

History Under Siege® is part of CWPT’s ongoing effort to protect America’s remaining Civil War battlefields. Every day 30 acres of hallowed ground associated with Civil War battlefields fall victim to development, succumbing to the backhoe and the bulldozer. Once lost, these historic treasures can never be replaced.

The 2011 endangered battlefields report will be released next spring. Any Civil War battlefield is eligible to for nomination and consideration. The chosen sites will be selected based on geographic location, military significance and the immediacy of current threats.

“From Pennsylvania to Arizona, the battlefields where the Civil War was fought are under siege,” Lighthizer remarked. “Nominations from concerned citizens, history buffs and preservation activists help us stay aware of the most current threats to a wide variety of battlefields.”

Among the ten sites identified in the 2010 report were Gettysburg, PA; Picacho Peak, AZ; Pickett’s Mill, GA; and the Wilderness, VA. The report also included 15 “at risk” battlefields that, although seriously threatened, did not make the final ten. Each year, the report raises public awareness of the threats to historic sites, leading to victories for preservationists. “Thanks in part to the publicity generated by the report, we expect continued successes in the remainder of the year and in the future,” Lighthizer predicted.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to fill out the nomination form available online at http://www.civilwar.org/endangerednomination. Applications must include a detailed description of specific threats facing the site. Submission of relevant recent photographs is also encouraged. Nominations must be received no later than November 1, 2010.

With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. CWPT’s website is http://www.civilwar.org/.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Preserve Cemetery Ridge or the Gettysburg Cyclorama Building? Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Currently, the National Park Service at Gettysburg is seeking public input on the future of the ill-placed late 1950s-era Cyclorama building. The famous cyclorama painting itself now safely hangs in the new visitor’s center and the last step in rehabilitating this area of the battlefield is removing the anachronistic concrete structure from this important terrain, returning Gettysburg’s famed Cemetery Ridge to its 1863 battle appearance!

This comes on the heels of a decade of lawsuits and debate in which Dion Neutra, son of Richard Neutra, the building's architect, and the Recent Past Preservation Network (RPPN) have been battling officials of the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, and the Gettysburg park in an effort to halt demolition of the Cyclorama’s old home.

Cyclorama Visitors Center Gettysburg PA

The building is near one of the highest points on Cemetery Ridge, a key defensive position where nearly 1,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded during Pickett's Charge. The National Park Service has been seeking to demolish the structure since 1999, citing the site's unquestionable historical importance, but the RPPN says the 50-year-old poured-concrete building is also historically significant.

In order to rehabilitate this ground, our friends at the National Park Service need to hear from you. We urge you to comment on this process by asking the National Park Service to remove the Cyclorama building and rehabilitate this important ground.

We need to tell them loud and clear: There are many examples of modernist architecture; there’s only one Gettysburg. Rehabilitate the ridge!

To Take Action:

1. Submit written comments to: Superintendent, Gettysburg National Military Park, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100, Gettysburg, PA 17325

2. Visit http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=32782

3. Email comments to: mailto:gett_superintendent@nps.gov?subject=Preserve.

4. Fax comments to: 717.334.1891 Attn: Cyclorama Building

5. Attend informational open houses on September 16 and 17 at the Museum and Visitor Center, details at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=32782

For more information, please check out the following informative links:


Photo courtesy of William Bird.