Tuesday, January 13, 2015

6. The Famous Electric Map

One of the main attractions in the famous town where Nancy and I grew up was the Gettysburg National Museum. It was the first place we took friends and family who were interested in learning about the historic battle, because it was the home of the popular Electric Map.

The 900 square foot, 12-ton terrain map was created by Joe Rosensteel in 1939. It was viewed from tiered seating which gave visitors an excellent view of how the three-day battle evolved.

While narrating the events that occurred during the battle, Rosensteel operated a switchboard which activated over 600 colored lights showing the positions of Union and Confederate Armies as they developed.  

The walls of the Museum were lined with artifacts from the battle, and bullets, allegedly found on the Battlefield, were sold in the souvenir shop where Nancy worked during summer vacations from college.

When Nancy’s father created the family Victory Garden during World War II,   Nancy found several bullets from the battle. I looked for artifacts in our family garden on East Middle Street, but apparently, no one shot in that direction on July 1, 2 and 3 of 1863.

Renovations to the original map were made in the 60ies, and in 1963 the Museum was sold to the National Park Service. When the new Visitor Center opened on the Baltimore Pike in 2008, Scott Roland of Hanover paid $14,000 for the unique map which will be displayed in that nearby town. In 2009, the building which housed the famous Electric Map was demolished, and the popular Gettysburg attraction is now only a vivid memory.

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