Cultural Landscapes In the Town of Gettysburg

The town of Gettysburg Pennsylvania is filled with a variety of cultural landscapes and events of all types.  As we discussed in class cultural landscapes use the past as a way to explain the present. The following cultural landscapes, we feel, play a very large part in sculpting the way people look at the town of Gettysburg today.

The first cultural landscape I would like to touch on is the David Wills House. This was the place where Abraham Lincoln stayed to put the final touches on the most famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. The David Wills House stands to represent the President’s historical visit to the devastated town of Gettysburg. Today, the David Wills House is a museum reminding those who visit of the hope and relief the town of Gettysburg felt when their President visited. The house has recreated the David Wills Law Office and The Lincoln Bedroom, preserving the famous cultural landscape and all it’s history.

The second cultural landscape I would like to address is that of the ‘hub’ of Gettysburg. There is numerous roads coming in and out of the town of Gettysburg. One of the most famous parts of the Gettysburg hub is the train station. Abraham Lincoln arrived to Gettysburg via that same train station on November 18th 1863. The train station became a symbol of hope and their way of escape from the horrible battles that took place in Gettysburg.

Many people look to the Gettysburg battlefields to find history of the bloody battles that were fought during the Civil War. While this is true for many cases, the battles were not confined to just the battlefields. The battles spilled into the town of Gettysburg. Innocent civilians were killed by stray bullets often. Many were forced to take cover in their basements as gunfire ripped through the living room right above their heads. This event that took place in the town of Gettysburg is very striking to me and defines the cultural landscape the best. As many people fear guns and weapons on the battlefield, I can only imagine the fear that was experienced by those with battles happening outside and through their own houses.

The David Wills House :: Photos :: The David Wills House

The David Wills House, February 2009.

Dowling, Bill February 2009, The David Wills House Photo Gallery, Powered By Orases



Gettysburg Train Station Photograph  - Gettysburg Train Station Fine Art Print

The Gettysburg Train Station April 18th 2011.

Mathis, Tamara, “Gettysburg Train Station”, April 18, 2011, Fine Art America by Tamara Mathis




3 comments on “Cultural Landscapes In the Town of Gettysburg

  1. alwagnerv says:

    As told in the above post, Gettysburg, PA has many features that add to the cultural landscape of the town. These features alone do not define the cultural landscape; however, events that have taken place in the town are also very important to the landscape.
    The David Wills’ House and the Gettysburg Train Station both are very good examples of physical features that help define the cultural landscape of the town. They represent a different time in Gettysburg’s history, which leads me to chose a different event than the bloody battle that stormed through the town on July 1, 1863.
    When President Lincoln came to Gettysburg in November 1863, he arrived by train from Washington, D.C, using the train station. He spent the night, writing part of his famous address, in the David Wills’ House. Lincoln’s time, however brief, in Gettysburg was an important event that changed the culture of the town.
    I make the argument that the cultural landscape we known as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was changed more by Lincoln’s visit and address at Dedication Day than by the battle ripping through the town. It was Lincoln’s visit that brought many people from the surrounding area to Gettysburg. His words calling for unity are still printed on t-shirts and coffee mugs and sold at all of the local gift shops and museums. Yes, the Battle of Gettysburg changed Gettysburg, but what happened four months afterward would make Gettysburg one of the best known, and most loved historical destinations ever. The town changed from a sleepy Pennsylvania borough to a bustling tourist destination, and its people and culture changed as well.

  2. koesno01 says:

    The cultural landscape of Gettysburg, PA is rich and full of interesting sites and events. The two sites mentioned above are excellent examples of such places. The David Wills House is memorable for its historic significance of hosing Abraham Lincoln on his trip to Gettysburg, and today stands as a museum to remind people today of those who experienced those horrible couple days in July, 1863.
    The “hub” is an important aspect of the town as well. One of the main reasons the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in Gettysburg was because it was so central. Many roads crossed in Gettysburg, as well as the train station. This is perhaps one of the most important sites in Gettysburg. Yes, the train brought Lincoln to make his speech, but the station was used as a field hospital and the trains were used to transport injured soldiers out of Gettysburg.
    The event that I believe defines Gettysburg the best is the Battle. That is what people remember about it. When you hear the name Gettysburg, people first think of the Battle. It is a sad reminder of a very dark time in our nation’s history.
    All of these places and events are contributing factors to the town’s cultural landscape. They make Gettysburg what it is today. Without one of them (absolute), our whole perception (relative) of the town would change, and it would not have the same significance (representational) to people as an important place.

  3. jhendon2013 says:

    Your post and replies underscore how rich a cultural landscape Gettysburg is. Yes, it starts from the battle but doesn’t end there. One activity that’s always fascinated me about this place is visitation/tourism which starts right after the battle. Because it was on Northern soil, people could visit it more easily and did so from early on. Some people were looking for news of their relatives but others were motivated by what we would think of as a more touristic feeling — wanting to see and maybe collect. I think all of your comments speak to this fascination.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s