GDG- The Gettysburg Electric Railway/Trolley

CWMHTours at CWMHTours at
Fri Jan 13 18:07:07 CST 2012

Excellent post Nancy.
Thank you very much.  
There are some good maps and pix online.
I want to ride on the Tapeworm RR.    ;-)
Your  Most Obedient Servant,

In a message dated 1/12/2012 9:10:06 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
pipecreek1430 at writes:

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 
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 
" It will  start from the square in Gettysburg, run out the Baltimore Pike, 

Cemetery Hill,encircle the National Cemetery,thence  along the Emmittsburg 
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 
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 
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  

the Fourth Maine and the  44th New York of the Union Army and the 44th  
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 
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 

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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