Did there used to be an amusement park on the backside of Little Round Top at Gettysburg, PA?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Shortly following the Battle of Gettysburg, the locals to this small rural town began to preserve parts of the ground that is now the Gettysburg National Military Park. Tourists were attracted to the battle site at this same time, which became the means to living for the local townspeople. Hotels, boarding houses, and restaurants started to develop in the area. Also, some local men told stories and guided tours across the battlefield. A local attorney, named David McConaughy, led the preservation of the battlefield. Locals, along with McConaughy, founded the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association (GBMA), which was integrated into the Pennsylvania state government on April 30, 1864. Control of the GBMA passed to the hands of the G.A.R., or the Grand Army of the Republic, for a short time, but it was then passed back to the GBMA and was revitalized. One piece of land that was never part of the GBMA holdings was Devil’s Den and its surroundings. One such surrounding area was Houck’s Ridge, which was used for quarrying during this time period. The quarrying of the battlefield was seen by General Samuel Wiley Crawford, which angered Crawford because of the destruction to the battlefield’s beauty. Following this, Crawford gained possession of the property. This property was forty-seven acres that was known as Crawford Park for the next two decades. Crawford became the director of the GBMA in 1880, which he held until he died on November 3, 1892.

    Tourism of the Gettysburg battlefield was further enabled in 1884 when a conference of veterans was gathered to discuss the construction of a new road built through the park, including Devil’s Den. Then in 1887, the Pennsylvania government gave $1500 to each Pennsylvania regiment involved in the battle. Also, in the 1884, the tourism capabilities were furthered by the expansion of the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad. The railroad linked Gettysburg to the state capital of Harrisburg. Shortly afterward, the railroad was built to pass through the battlefield. At the end of the line, there was a thirteen-acre piece of land purchased from Lewis A. Bushman. This piece of land was developed into a park for the visitors. Part of this park was a pavilion with a kitchen and two wells. The park, according to sources, was an immediate success. A colonel named John H. McClellan had a massive celebration for the park’s opening on July 4, 1884. This celebration had free admission and was estimated to have five to six thousand people present. This park was built on the backside of Little Round Top, and the park came to be known as Round Top Park. Visitors to Round Top Park began to pour out into the rest of the battlefield, even though this was not approved by the GBMA. Popularity of this grew in the following years, which brought more and more tourists from Baltimore, Washington D.C., New York, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. Visitors could travel directly from these cities to Little Round Top without stopping in the actual town of Gettysburg.

    Photography of the battlefield and of visitors on the battlefield was a very predominant draw of the visitors. Round Top Park expanded, having entertained thousands of visitors each summer and featuring relics found on the battlefield that are now displayed by the Gettysburg National Military Park. One other feature of the park was the photographic studio that was owned by William H. Tipton. Tipton established a studio to take pictures of the visitors actually on the battlefield in tintype form. At one point, Round Top Park also had a merry-go-round. The park remained in this status until the early 1890’s. In 1892, the idea had begun to establish the Gettysburg National Park. On March 3, 1893, a bill was passed that purchased the lands of the Battle of Gettysburg for $25,000. The bill to preserve and establish the Gettysburg National Park was led through Congress by General Daniel E. Sickles. Sickles was a politician who was placed into the army ranks during the Civil War by President Abraham Lincoln. General Sickles was present at the Battle of Gettysburg, commanding the Third Corps. Sickles had an attachment to the Battle of Gettysburg, because during the first day of battle, July 1, 1863, a shell almost completely tore off one of his legs, which was amputated later. Although his actions as a commander were, at the time of battle and ever since, controversial, his actions as a politician after the war helped to create the park that the Gettysburg National Military Park has become today. He spent the remainder of his life trying to preserve the battlefield of Gettysburg and his leg. His leg is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. On February 11, 1895, Congress passed an act that established the Gettysburg National Military Park. This act transferred the six hundred acres of land and seventeen miles of roads to the protection of the national government.

  • 1 decade ago

    No that area is a protected historical landmark. There is a small campground about a mile south of it though.

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