July 3rd On The Gettysburg Seminary Campus
The Seminary Ridge Preservation Foundation announces the start of construction for the Eastern Historic Pathway project on July 5, 2012. This is the first of two trail projects planned on the Lutheran Theological Seminary campus that will be completed in time for the sesquicentennial celebration beginning on July 1, 2013.
The Eastern Trail project is located within the area bounded by Seminary Ridge, Buford Avenue, North Hay Street and Springs Avenue. It will eventually tie into a Western Trail project scheduled to begin later this year. Federal funding for the project has been received from the Transportation Enhancement program through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Construction of the Historic Eastern Trail will be performed by Kinsley Construction Company, and will take approximately 2 months to complete.
The outdoor improvements have been designed in consideration with the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway initiative designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. The 180-mile long corridor from Gettysburg, PA to Monticello in VA has been established to sustaining the unique cultural, historic and national resources of each community along the corridor. The Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg are pleased that the efforts to preserve, interpret, and promote the intrinsic features of the Ridge have received consultation and support from its many partners including the Borough of Gettysburg, Cumberland Township, and the National Park Service.
When President Lincoln came to Gettysburg on the evening of Nov 18, 1863, the scars of battle were still vividly palpable —on the buildings, on the faces, on the fields. Before departing for the Soldiers National Cemetery to deliver “a few appropriate remarks” on that bright, crisp Thursday morning of Nov. 19, the president took a carriage ride to the Seminary grounds. As he stepped from the carriage and began to walk, he would have seen a thousand Rebel graves—some dug into the seminary lawn but most laying in the fields directly in front of the buildings and off to the north. From this venue, he would have been able to contemplate the profound and lasting effects that the July battle had had on the psyche of the community and on the brave souls forever lost to this world. These melancholy thoughts would have been in his heart as he addressed the town affirming a new birth of freedom and commemorated the Union soldiers who had given their last full measure in battle.
Now, nearly 150 years after President Lincoln visited this town and this site, the new Historic Trails on the Ridge will offer visitors an opportunity to contemplate the history and legacy of the Ridge through educational wayside exhibits and kiosks. Topics will include The Seminary Comes to Gettysburg, Daniel Alexander Payne, The Battle for McPherson’s Ridge, The Habitat of Seminary Ridge, The Lincoln Highway, and The Civilians at Gettysburg. “We are excited to be able to provide additional learning opportunities as well as establish a safe bucolic environment for outdoor exercise and reflection here at the Crossroads of History and Hope”, stated Rev. Michael Cooper-White, Seminary President.
When completed next spring, the entire trail project will encompass approximately a mile of walking paths and add parking spaces to the campus. In conjunction with the new Seminary Ridge Museum, visitors to the Ridge in 2013 will be able to engage in exciting, dynamic experiences to further discover and explore the heritage of Seminary Ridge in Gettysburg.