My first visit to Gettysburg came after the destruction of the National Tower on July 3, 2000. I was reminded of it earlier today while reading Jen Murray’s, On a Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2012. Jen does a fabulous job of exploring the controversy surrounding the construction of the tower and more recent interpretive and preservation challenges on the battlefield.
Below is a fascinating 60 Minutes Episode that aired just as the tower was nearing completion in 1974. Those of you who know the battlefield and surrounding area will be struck by many of the old structures.
And here is a short video for those of you who have never seen the destruction of the tower and those of you who just want to experience it all over again.
Best use of a 12 pounder Napoleon!
The music blasting from the thing was the worst part.
It is also good to see the old VC gone. None of that should ever have been there. At one point, the parking lot had to be reconfigured because the buses kept scraping the flank marker of the 136 NY V.I. Monuments and markers were moved to build the old Cyclorama parking lot.
It was a glorious day when the tower came down — it was a massive eyesore that truly scarred the environment and was made worse by the fact that it was so close to the National Cemetery. That said, the old Cyclorama building built by the NPS was also a travesty in terms of location and it was a real pleasure walking there yesterday to see it gone and replaced by trees and grasses. As a regular visitor, and one time local, it has been a real pleasure seeing the decline of commercialism in that part of town.