GDG- The Gettysburg Electric Railway/Trolley

Eileen Murphy manassas1 at comcast.net
Thu Jan 12 11:24:21 CST 2012



Nancy and All..... 



Not only were they disturbing the sacred ground, but near the junction of the trolley line and the Reading Railroad branch, one of the gangs unearthed the bones of some of McCandless's Pennsylvania Reserves.  They were tossed into a cart with the dirt and dumped away with it.  A good citizen of Gettysburg, however, sickened by such wantonness and gathered as many of the bones as possible and gave them a decent burial. 



Eileen Murphy 

Bristow, VA 





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


From: "Nancy Householder" <pipecreek1430 at yahoo.com> 
To: "Gettysburg Discussion" <gettysburg at arthes.com> 
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 9:09:02 AM 
Subject: GDG- The Gettysburg Electric Railway/Trolley 

Esteemed GDG Member Contributes: 
The Gettysburg Electric Railway, also known as the Trolley was incorporated on July 28,1892. 
They planned to run it, not just around the town, but around the battlefield. 
William Tipton, who was one of the people who helped with granting access for the trolley tracks, 
and while they were planning this, eventually purchased 13 acres of land just east of Devils Den 
for his own park. He knew the trolley line would be passing thru there, and probably made 

arrangements with the trolley company for his park to be a designated stop. 
The proposed trolley route was leaked in a Philadelphia newspaper in March 1892: 
    " It will start from the square in Gettysburg, run out the Baltimore Pike, pass 

    Cemetery Hill,encircle the National Cemetery,thence along the Emmittsburg Rd 
    to the Peach Orchard,through the Wheatfield to Devils Den,and through the 
    Valley of Death to Little Round Top Park. The return will be made via the 
    Bloody Angle and Hancock Avenue to Gettysburg." 

On April 17 & 18, 1893 a gang of Italians arrived from Baltimore and shanties were 
set up for them on the lot belonging to Mr. Tipton in Devils Den, and work began on 

the Round top end of the Electric Railway. During the next few days the sound of 
dynamite blasting rocks on Tiptons land was heard in town more and more frequently. 
One eyewitness described the work: 
    " All along the line, in the vicinity of Devils Den, there is heavy blasting and digging 
    and filling; and great havoc is played with the landscape. Huge masses of rock are 
    displaced, great bouldlers are moved, the valley is to be filled the width and height 
    of a track from the bridge over Plum Run in front of Round Top to the north end 
    of the Valley and a whole new appearance will be given to the famous field of 
    carnage. 
For the next few weeks, veterans  and concerned citizens watched in disbelief as the 
trolley company  cut a thirty foot wide path  through some of the most sacred ground 
on American soil. Historic trees were felled, streams were forded,  and rocks that still 
should the scars of battle were forever blasted from the face of the earth. In some instances' 
the trolley roadbed passed within feet of monuments that had been dedicated just a few 
years before. Public outcry was immediate and in some cases very bitter. 

John  Bachelder was sent to Gettysburg in June to make a preliminary report to the Sec 
of War on the work being done by the railway company. 
Part of his report: 
        The boulders which covered the combatants in the desperate engagement between        

        the Fourth Maine and the 44th New York of the Union Army and the 44th Alabama 
        and the right of Bennings Brigade of the Confederate army are already blasted, and 
        the fragments broken under the hammer and are covered with earth to form a roadbed. 
        And it is this locality which has been turned into a park to which cheap excursions are 
        to be run from Baltimore and other cities. This is the most wild and picturesque 

        section of the field. For the distance of over one mile before reaching this locality, the 
        road cuts ruthlessly through the scene of some of the most desperate encounters of the battle. 

Can you imagine this happening today? 
Nancy Householder      
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