Gettysburg National Military Park Boundaries Revisionby Representative Scott Perry
Posted on 2014-01-13
PERRY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support
passage of H.R. 1513, a bill to revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg
National Military Park to include the Lincoln Train Station which is an
important part of our Nation's history.
President Abraham Lincoln arrived at the Lincoln Train Station the day before delivering his historic Gettysburg Address. The station also served as a hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg and transported wounded soldiers after the battle. The Lincoln Train Station currently is operated by the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau and is owned by the Borough of Gettysburg.
The Gettysburg Foundation and nonprofit partner of the park secured the necessary private funds to purchase the train station from the Borough of Gettysburg. The foundation will donate the train station to Gettysburg National Military Park, where it will be used as a downtown visitors center and meeting place.
H.R. 1513 also allows the boundaries of Gettysburg National Military Park to include 45 acres of land along Plum Run in Cumberland Township. This property currently abuts land already owned by the National Park Service and will be donated by the Gettysburg Foundation to the National Park Service.
The Gettysburg Foundation and Gettysburg National Military Park recently commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery. In addition to preserving our heritage, such historic preservation and tourism efforts remain a critical part of the regional economy. More than 235,000 visitors took part in the 10 days of the 150th anniversary events and contributed about $100 million to the local economy.
Once the Battle of Gettysburg ended, both Union and Confederate armies moved on, leaving this small rural town to deal with the bloody and chaotic aftermath. Citizens were forced to care for the wounded, bury fallen soldiers and animals, rebuild their town, and begin the process of preserving this hallowed ground.
[[Page H168]] Like the residents of Gettysburg 150 years ago, a group of dedicated individuals, 18,000 to 20,000 from across the country and across the world, have come together to preserve this battlefield and increase public understanding of the causes and consequences of the Battle of Gettysburg and its place within the context of American history.
At a time when Federal and State budgets are tight, the great partnership between the Gettysburg Foundation, Main Street Gettysburg and the Borough of Gettysburg, and the National Park Service has led to the construction of a new visitors center, the preservation of the Cyclorama painting, the restoration of the battlefield to its 1863 appearance, and now the preservation of the historic Lincoln Train Station.
This legislation simply is the latest significant piece of that puzzle. All interested parties are fully supportive of the boundary revision, and because the land is already owned by the Gettysburg Foundation and to be donated to the National Park Service no--I repeat, no--Federal funds will be used to purchase these properties.
This legislation is good for Gettysburg, the National Park Service, and the American taxpayers. I urge my colleagues to join me in support of H.R. 1513, the Gettysburg Battlefield bill. I would also like to thank Doc Hastings, the ranking member, and the committee for the unanimous support.