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 Posted: Mon Sep 5th, 2005 02:41 pm
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javal1
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Civil War tourism down 40 percent
9/4/2005 8:48:46 AM
Daily Journal

BY EMILY LE COZ
Daily Journal


TUPELO - Civil War buffs this summer avoided one of the nation's top heritage tourism draws, fueling a steady decline in visitors there since the early 1990s.

Shiloh National Military Park in Hardin County, Tenn., has recorded a 40 percent attendance drop in the past 16 years and this summer continued that trend, said Chief Ranger Stacy Allen.

From its of peak of about 148,000 visitors annually in the early 1990s, attendance at Shiloh's visitors center dropped to about 85,000 five years ago and down to 67,000 this past year.

The story was the same at Shiloh's sister site in Corinth, where attendance at the new Civil War Interpretive Center fell below expectations for its first year, which ended in July.

Rangers had hoped to see about 50 percent the traffic that Shiloh gets, but Corinth's first year ended with only 40 percent Shiloh's traffic - a total of 26,300 visitors.

"We didn't meet our goal, but it was reasonable since still we're getting ourselves known as a destination for heritage tourism there," Allen said. "Uncle Sam doesn't let us spend money on advertising ourselves."

Tourism to national parks has long had its peaks and valleys, but Allen said the recent rise in gas prices has kept Shiloh in the valley. That's especially true, he said, of the declining school field trips that traditionally buoy Shiloh's numbers.

"School visits have dropped dramatically over last few years," he said. "I've got news for you - that's directly attributed to their ability to pay for trips."

Nationwide, attendance at both national parks and other attractions has slipped as gas prices continue to rise. Allen expects the situation will reverse itself as families learn to budget for the higher costs of fuel.

"Like I said, there are peaks and valleys. We're in a valley right now," Allen said. "We assume it's going to turn around. When we can't say."



 Posted: Wed Sep 7th, 2005 05:26 pm
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yankswon
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If they want tourism to pick up at Shiloh they should start touting the Catfish Hotel (which is next to the Park) more often.

 

I'd drive 5 hours just to sample some of their fiddlers.

Last edited on Wed Sep 7th, 2005 05:27 pm by yankswon



 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2005 03:06 am
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9thAla
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Exactly where is this Catfish restaurant? I have been to Shiloh a couple of times but haven't had a meal there. Sounds good!



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 Posted: Mon Sep 12th, 2005 01:43 pm
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yankswon
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Though the Catfish Hotel is adjacent to Shiloh NMP one can not drive from the park immediately to the Catfish Hotel.  You have to take a round about route.

 

From the Park go North on Route 22.  Go past Shiloh’s Civil War Relics.  Look for a sign that says Catfish Hotel and take a right and then you drive about a mile.

 

The Catfish Hotel was a busy place the one Saturday Night in July that I was there.

 

They will treat you nice even if you are a Yankee.



 Posted: Tue Sep 13th, 2005 12:02 am
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connyankee
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Earlier this year, in April, I took an excursion that I'd wanted to do for years - to Shiloh.  I live in New England.  I especially wanted to view the place on the anniversary of the battle and I wasn't disappointed.  I had a wonderful time there.  I had gotten some great tips from a number of people here and certainly took advantage of these.

Hagys was great - just go north after you leave the park, look for a big billboard on the right and follow the winding road to the river.  Hushpuppies, ribs, catfish, and the best cole slaw on the planet await you.  I told the lady where I was from and that I was "ordered to eat here," and "yankees don't do catfish."  She just laughed and laughed even harder when I said that one guy advised that " if you don't go to Hagys, don't bother going to Shiloh."  Those were some pretty strong words.  Everything was good - especially the catfish!

All in all, I went to 11 battlefields on this 3200 mile journey,  toured a number of historic homes and made a very special and passionate visit to Franklin, TN.  Gas was averaging about $2.25/gal at the time.  Spent roughly $350 on gas.

It doesn't get any better.

:) Regards, CY

Last edited on Tue Sep 13th, 2005 12:22 am by connyankee



 Posted: Sun Sep 25th, 2005 03:15 pm
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kj3553
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It's been a few years since I've been to Shiloh, but I remember the Catfish Hotel. Funny how some things stick in one's mind!

Sadly, with the price of gas these days, I've had to put off travel plans I had originally made for this fall. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things might improve by next spring...but I doubt it. The oil companies have the prices where they want them...:?

~KJ



 Posted: Fri Oct 7th, 2005 01:44 pm
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yankswon
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Anybody here tried the ribs at the Catfish Hotel? 

 

I’ve only been there once, and tried the Fiddlers.  What connyankee says about the cole slaw is true.

 

 



 Posted: Fri Oct 7th, 2005 02:48 pm
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javal1
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The ribs are top-notch. As a matter of fact the only thing I can find at Hagy's that isn't is the french fries (limp and soggy). But as I recall a full rack of ribs was something like $15, so who cares about the fries!



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 Posted: Sun Oct 30th, 2005 03:21 pm
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yankswon
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bcat71258 wrote:  A word to Stacy Allen...Please, please, please get a new film about Shiloh for your interpretive center. I'm sure the current one was good for its time...but it's 50 years old and when a re-enactor like myself sees artillery guys dressed in slacks with belt loops and a small belt...well, it just takes away from the essence of the whole thing.
 

Through hearsay it is my understanding that some of the older locals take great pride in the film because they participated in its creation.  Thus, they clamor to keep it going at the Visitor's Center.

You are right in what you say about the film though.

 



 Posted: Mon Oct 31st, 2005 04:38 pm
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David White
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When I first made the Civil War grand tour in 1969, that film at Shiloh was in the opinion of this 13 year old, bar none, the best of the National Park orientation films.  I saw it again two years ago and indeed it is very dated and almost comical.



 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2005 05:01 am
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Basecat
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When we had our first chat room muster in 1999, it was at Shiloh.  The first thing we did as a group was watch the film at the VC, and after a few minutes of watching it, I said aloud to the group that I had no idea U.S. Grant was Amish. :)  Hell yes they need a new film down there, and hopefully, they will rectify the problem eventually.

Regards from the Garden State,

Steve Basic



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 Posted: Tue Nov 1st, 2005 05:24 pm
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MAubrecht
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This is a very interesting topic and I'm not sure I mentioned this in another post (so please forgive me if I'm rehashing again) but my editor at the paper and I were discussing an article (actually an editorial) written by one of the other writers that dealt with a newfound perspective and how she never realized how much historical stuff there is in Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania area. She was surprised ONLY after some relatives came in to town to stay and asked her to take them out to see the sights. After she experienced the town "through the eyes of a tourist" her appreciation for the area and historical significance grew by leaps and bounds.

We decided that although tourists come by the thousands each year to visit the sights - the majority of people actually living here have absolutely no idea what exists right in their own backyard. In the fall - I'm doing a feature titled "24-Hours of Hometown History" where I will be writing a diary-style article as I experience all of the major sights. We are also looking at putting together some kind of online poll to ask residents (not CW buffs or historians) but regular-everyday people IF they know what transpired at theses places. It will have multiple choice answers and I'm anxious to see the data. It's actually a bit sad as the majority of the people I know have no clue about the Revolution or Civil War events that took place here. They know there's some battlefields and museums and George Washington grew up here - but that is about it.

Also (while I'm posting long-winded stuff) a perfect example of the rapid decline in interest (especially among the "Playstation, MTV-driven youths of today) is my son (14) who was supposed to go to Gettysburg with my father and I in a month to do a 3-day research/writing/photo trip. I remember how excited I would be at his age (having being initiated as a Buff when I first went there at the age of 6), but it turns out that he could care less and he said that Gettysburg "looks like a lot of boring old-time stuff and walking." His friends agree. So - looks like me and the old man are going without him.

Oh well, more food and souvenirs for me!

Last edited on Tue Nov 1st, 2005 05:26 pm by MAubrecht



 Posted: Tue Dec 27th, 2005 11:30 pm
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Kent Nielsen
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Hi:) During the US Thanksgiving holiday, my brother, sister-in-inlaw and I went to see Fort Sumter as well as Fort Moultrie in Charleston. They both seemed quite busy. I hope the negative trend in tourism reverses itself.



 Posted: Wed Dec 28th, 2005 04:38 am
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Basecat
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Evening all,

Can just imagine that tourism dropped even more, as the late summer out that way featured nothing but very bad weather.

Hope all are well.

Regards from the Garden State,

Steve Basic



 Posted: Sun Jan 1st, 2006 09:49 pm
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connyankee
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Looking back, I've found that this was one of the most interestinting travel experienceses of my life...into Middle Tennessee!



 Posted: Thu Jan 26th, 2006 05:48 pm
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rebalgray
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Hi all,

I went to Shiloh last spring. If I hadn't got the directions from Map Quest I may not have found it. I saw no road signs about the battle field till I got to the park entrance. I wanted to see where Lew Wallace was before the battle. No luck in finding that. We went from Shiloh to Corinth. We drove all over and never found anything. There was a sign pointing to the visitor center but there was no visitor center. Needless to say I wasn't a happy camper.

rebalgray 

 



 Posted: Fri Jan 27th, 2006 02:14 pm
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I was in shiloh two years ago this coming April.  My second trip.  The first time I arrived just as the park visitors center closed .  But the rangers who were leaving right at Five said I could drive around .  It was interesting to be the only person in the park. 

I went back like I said for a second visit and met a very cranky ranger who couldn't believe I didn't want to watch is movie in the visitors center.  I am glad now reading all the postings that I chose not to.  Iwanted more time in the park.  Well that and in the bookstore.  Don't asked about the pile of books I walked out with at the beginning and back again at the end of my tour.   

I love Shiloh.  I want to go back again and spend more time.  Although it is a long drive from California. 

Corinth I was so frustrated.  I could not find sites.  I found a couple of houses listed as headquarters but that was it. 

BUT at Brices Crossing at their visitors center I found a very nice gentleman who insisted I see their film.  It was late in the day.  I needed to be in Collierville.  I said but you are closing at five .  He says , We are not the national park service I can wait.  He put the film on for me and did wait.  I watched Shelby Foote present the story of Brices Crossing.  I walked out and thanked him soooo much. 

As to local history.  I live in the Los Angeles area. I have alway been interested in history but until last year I didn't realize how much Civil War history is right here in the Los Angeles Basis.  I am now a member of the Drum Barracks in Wilmington.  The building was the detached officers quarters for the military site that sent supplies and troops thoughout the southwest during the war.  We also had the camels for Beale's experiment. 

I am off today to visit the adobe of John Rains had provided horse for the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles who with Albert Sidney Johnson had passed though his ranch area on the way south to join the fight .  The Los Angeles Mounted Rifles was the only Confederate group organized and sent east during the war. 

Bet you didn't know Los Angeles had a Civil War history.  I am learning more and more all the time. 

 



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