GDG- Changes to the battlefield in the late 19th Century

Eileen Murphy manassas1 at
Wed Jan 11 15:55:48 CST 2012


I did quite a bit of research on the trolley/railroads leading to and thru the park several years ago and even gave a tour or two about them for the GDG.  There are still some railroad mile markers on the field today as well as the remnants of the rails themselves.  Great stuff. 

Eileen Murphy 

Bristow, vA 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Nancy Householder" <pipecreek1430 at> 
To: "Gettysburg Discussion" <gettysburg at> 
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 3:53:47 PM 
Subject: GDG- Changes to the battlefield in the late 19th Century 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
After my questions about Tipton Park, thanks to JD, he recomended I get the book," Devils Den 
a History and Guide." Of course I went out an bought that book the next day. 

The following is some information I learned about from that book, about 
changes to that area in the 1880's and 1890's. 
    " In the spring of 1884, the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad completed construction of a line 
that linked Gettysburg with the state capitol. Shortly after ward it developed an excursion line that 
ran across the battlefield. This line passed over the fields of Picketts charge crossed GBMA holdings 
near the present location of the Father Corby monument and ran through the woods to a station 
that was established on the east side of LRT. Construction on the Round Top branch began on 
April 24, 1884, and was completed  in early June of that year. 

Dynamite accomplished wonders in splitting and moving granite, in one instance, throwing a rock 
estimated at 9 tons, several hundred feet. 

At the terminus of the tracks, 13 acres of land were purchased from Lewis A Bushman and 

developed into a park to provide a destination to visitors over this new route. Improvements to 
this tract included a spacious pavilion, a kitchen with range, two wells of water with pumps 
and all necessary buildings. When it opened, "Round Top Park " became an overnight success. 

On July 4, 1884 Col. John H McClellan held an "ox roast" at the new park to celebrate it's opening. 
Admission was free and the Colonel provided a massive beef weighing over 1300 pounds. It was 

estimated that between 5 and 6,000 people attended. 

It became very popular and there were problems with the huge amount of people at the park. 
The Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railroad  Company even tried to get permission for the GBMA 
 to construct a path to the top of LRT where, it was announced, an observatory 60 ft high 

would be erected for the benefit of the excursionists, since the one on Big Round Top was to 
difficult to reach. 

An 1885 advertisement gave the following description of the park. 

    To make the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad more complete, a spur has been 
built from Gettysburg to Round Top, three miles, int he same careful and splendid manor 
of the main line. Indeed, the construction of the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad is 
of the highest standard and justifies the great credit given to the best railroad work. 
The spur road ends on the side of Little Round Top itself, within a good stone's throw 

of the summit made so  famous by the patriot blood of Vincent and his brothers-in-arms. 
The track ends in a choicely laid out park. Here have been gathered with lavish hand 

every comfort and convenience that can make happy the life of the picnicker or 
excursionist. Dining-rooms, a dancing pavilion, rooms for rest and recreation, shady 
seats and lounging places under the great trees, kitchens, baggage rooms, places for 

your bundles and baskets, spring water in abundance, the choicest of breezes, the 
perfume of a carpet of wild flowers, and a natural awning of leaves to check the 
suns rays, should they become too ardent, are the fittings of this Paradise. 

Don't you love it!  Nancy Householder 
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