Some of you may have noticed we just posted an article on Hunterstown: North Cavalry Field of Gettysburg written by esteemed GB historian Troy Harmon. I want to share some additional info I received from a source shortly after posting the article. Sadly, none of it's good. We'll add this to the article over the weekend:
Good Morning Joe....
Yes there is an imminent danger here in Hunterstown....First of all, the whole town is on the National Historic Register. Just 2 days ago, there was a closing on two historic properties right in the center of town. Included in this sale where two early 1800 homes, two barns and a beehive oven, which is still standing...all on about an acre an a half of land.They were purchased by a Maryland developer whose intent is to demolish everything....and to build an apartment complex in their place. Straban Township, Adams County, has no historic commission in place, as they "disbanded" it several years ago. Our group is desperately trying to reinstate the commission and will bring it up for a vote a the next township meeting. The Pa Museum Commission has told us there is no "protection" for this town until we do this. Standing directly across the street from these two homes...is an old two story schoolhouse and a small Methodist church....both of which were standing at the time of the Battle of Hunterstown, July 2nd, 1863....And we are wondering...what kind of precedent does this recent sale set??
Troy Harmon is working feverishly with the National Parks Service Superintendent, John Latschar and the developers to try to save the Hunterstown battle site from the development of over 1000 homes.
This development, along with other development in our immediate area is happing at an accelerated speed. The developers realize that the zoning here in Straban Township is "not exactly set in stone"...and can be changed at the drop of a hat....so they are using this to their advantage.
We are using every means possible to get the word out as to what is happening here in Hunterstown....if not to stave off the developers....to at the very least, to slow down their progress with legalities in order to bide for time. Anything you can do for us here in HUNTERSTOWN is GREATLY appreciated!
Sad to say, but most of the battlefield is gone, due to what the Power company did to the land a few years ago. In essence they ruined it by their landscaping project. What used to be a very flat field, is now a monstrosity of twin man made hills that were put there to block the sight of the power company from the road.
I wish Troy the best of luck in his endeavors to save what is left down there, but the key problem is yet again, Strabhan Township, whose city government has done nothing to stop this expansion on this hallowed ground. The way they handle things down there makes Franklin, TN look to be a fine preservation model.
I was there over the weekend while attending and giving tours for the GDG Muster, and got a chance to see what's going on at Hunterstown while leading a tour of it for a group. They're already breaking ground on the west side of the field (the power plant that Steve spoke of has all but obliterated the east side) so things don't look good.
I recently wrote an article on the Hunterstown battle for America's Civil War magazine that will hopefully be published soon, and help give some PR to the fight for the land. Besides the power plant, it's otherwise a pristine battlefield, complete with 1863 farm buildings, and the site of newly-minted BG George Custer's very first mounted cavalry charge.
If we lose it, we lose history. Big time. They may as well build that damn casino right in the middle of it.