There's More to Gettysburg than Battlefields


While walking around Gettysburg, it became a little confounding why this "northern" city, where the Lincoln made his famous address honoring battle killed soldiers, felt like a smaller but busy Georgia town. There isn't a sense of  "Union" victory, but there is certainly a sense of "Confederate" pride. The civil war shops lining Baltimore Street and Steinwehr Avenue blare pop-country music. Confederate flags are seen often enough and not only for historical purposes. The displays are more of the in your face "if this flag offends you, you need a history lesson" kind of presentations. At least, that was the quote I read most often on the racked t-shirts.

I saw at least one home with the Confederate flag proudly waving above the door. On one occasion, a crew of bikers circled town while the flag hung from the back of one of their grumbling motorcycles. I derived from the locals that Gettysburg's tourism market defaults to Southern men. According to a seemingly knowledgeable NY City transplant and retired HR director for a major bank, it's southern men who are primarily interested in Civil War history and reenactments. The northerners "they won...and moved on."  Also, worth a mention, Gettysburg is less than ten miles north of the Mason-Dixon line.

There's life in Gettysburg; it's a vibrant town and a burgeoning foodie city. Of the three coffee shops I visited, I highly recommend all three. Of the restaurants, it is a bakery and an ice cream shop that win my high regards.

Odd, though, for a city built on historical significance there seems to be a subtle disregard for their beautiful architecture. This lack of care is a changing paradigm. Preservationists are becoming more involved. There are many run down beautiful buildings dressed with dreadful "modern" facades of vinyl siding and other weird materials that I don't know the name or process for. At least, the structures are still standing.

International Resource Center, Gettysburg College.

Close up of the vinyl facade. The next several structures are also coved in vinyl.

This particular structure was built in the 1880s.

The basement of the International Resource Center