Examining other Cultural Landscape Blogs

Through the last eight posts, we have learned a lot about the cultural landscape of our subject of research, the town of Gettysburg. 
There are other aspects of this town that deserve much examination as well, including the campus of Gettysburg College and the Gettysburg National Military Park. 
A blog, titled, Breidenbaugh Landscape Blog, examined the academic building Breidenbaugh Hall on the campus of Gettysburg College. This group took a different approach to the blog, by only focusing on one building within their cultural landscape. There are many common ideas and themes between our two blogs, but something was very different. A lot of structural changes have happened to Breidenbaugh Hall throughout the years. The building was built after the Civil War had ended, thus having little historical significance to the battle that happened in Gettysburg during that hot July in 1863. Because the building was built afterwards, thus not protected by laws that protect buildings like the train station and the David Wills house. I really liked their approach to their blog. They showed that a cultural landscape can be as small as a building, while others can be as large as thousands of acres, like the battlefield adjacent to the college. I would ask the question as to how difficult it was to find information about just one building to base an entire project on Breidenbaugh Hall. 
The other landscape blog group examined is On Great Fields. This blog was superb, and really did shed light on the Gettysburg National Military Park as a cultural landscape. While the Breidenbaugh blog focused on something small, this blog focused on a large topic, much larger than the town that we explored. This group did have similarities with ours, in that they saw the clash of the historical cultural landscape with the current cultural landscape. The battlefield looks very similar to how it did in 1863, just as the buildings in the town that we focused on do. However, the purpose for the battlefield has changed, now a preserved destination for tourists, no longer owned by the farmers, but by the National Park Service. It must have been hard to deal with such a large landscape, but the group decided to pick two major parts of the battlefield to focus on, Devils Den and the Eternal Peace Monument. These two locations are very different from each other, and really provide readers with an idea of how the park has changed. The monument was added much later, but the rocks in Devils Den have been sitting there since long before the battle. This shows that the battlefield has become a memorial over time, but one that still resembles how the landscape would have looked in 1863. The question I would ask the group is why exactly did you chose the monument and Devils Den as your two areas of focus? 

Advertisements

Mapping a Cultural Landscape

Above should be an imbedded copy of a map that we made to show the different places we have been focusing on thus far in our blog. We decided to break them down into groups. The Jennie Wade House, Gettysburg Train Station, and the David Wills House are all historical locations, and the Gettysburg Hotel, Dirty Billy’s Hats, and the Lincoln Diner are all put into the category of tourism.
In case the imbed doesn’t work, below is a link to our map.

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zzjp5WE14e8k.kUDPbcAj80Y4

Gettysburg in Photographs: Then and Now

In this post we will be examining photographs from three of Gettysburg’s most famous buildings: the Gettysburg Train Station, the Jennie Wade House, and the David Wills House. We chose these three because we have been focusing on them in previous posts on this blog discussing how they are part of the cultural landscape of the town.
These old images take us to a different time. They help us understand how the landscape of Gettysburg was in previous years, as well as how it has changed over time.

Image
Figure A
General Daniel E. Sickles and his housekeeper Miss Wilmerding leaving train station at Gettysburg, circa 1913: Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs Reading Room / Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Access Date: 13 October 2013
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002722752/

Image

Figure B
Gettysburg Train Station, Gettysburg, PA. Photo by Michael Esposito, 2013. Used with permission.

In the figures A and B, we see the famous Gettysburg Train Station. The older photograph is a picture of an old Union Civil War general arriving at Gettysburg for the 50th Anniversary of the battle. The station was a welcoming place for these veterans, as well as tourists who came from hundreds of miles away to visit the town. You can barely see patriotic banners hanging above the crowd of people, and you can almost hear a band playing and the cheers of celebration. When Lincoln came to town in November, 1863 to give his address, this is the place he first saw. The station was the welcoming center to all who came to Gettysburg.
Fast forward 100 years. The train station still stands, as you can see in Figure B, but it serves a much different purpose. Long gone are the days when guests and tourists arrived in town on the station’s platform. People use cars and buses to come to Gettysburg now, passenger trains don’t stop here anymore. From putting these two photographs side by side, we learned that the train station hasn’t changed relationally in the town. It is still the “big yellow building” next to the train tracks, but it’s representational meaning has changed. It is no longer a hub of welcoming and happy greetings, it is an empty building that serves as a testament to an earlier time when traveling was harder.

Image

Figure C
Jennie Wade House, Gettysburg, Circa 1903; Detroit Publishing Company; Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs Reading Room / Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Access Date: 13 October 2013
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994009272/PP/

Image

Figure D
Jennie Wade House, Gettysburg Pa. Photo by Michael Esposito, 2013. Used with permission.

In figures C and D is the famed Jennie Wade House of Gettysburg. Jennie Wade was a resident of Gettysburg during the battle, and, as legend goes, was baking bread when she was killed by a stray bullet. She was the only civilian killed during the battle’s three days. Soon after 1863, her house was made into a tourist destination, a place where people can still see the bullet holes in her kitchen door.
In figure C, we see an old picture of the house. It is partially blocked by a large trees. The sign showing tourists that this is the Jennie Wade House hangs outside on the street.
Fast forward 110 years later, the house looks the same, and the same sign hangs outside. The trees are gone, which led us to believe that maybe the owners of the house, or the local municipality thought that they were blocking a hot spot for tourists. The fence on the perimeter is gone, now replaced with flowers and a brick retaining wall. This makes the landscape look friendlier, more open for people to walk up and go inside.
Putting these two pictures side by side led us to believe that perhaps between 1903 and the end of the 20th century, there was some type of community agreement to make the town more friendly to tourists. It helps to show people the representational parts of town more clearly, so that tourists can find them easier and spend their money, or just visit.

Image

Figure E
The David Wills House, circa 1889: The David Wills House: a Partnership of the Gettysburg Foundation and the Gettysburg National Military Park. Access Date: 13 October 2013
http://www.davidwillshouse.org/media/detail.htm?pid=23&catid=5
Image
Figure F
The David Wills House. Photo by Michael Esposito, 2013. Used with Permission.

In both figures E and F is the famous David Wills House. This house was built before the battle in 1863, and was most famously used by Abraham Lincoln. David Wills was a Gettysburg College graduate and was the man who invited Lincoln to town to give a few remarks at the dedication of the new national cemetery. Lincoln stayed in the house and finished his famous Gettysburg Address there the night before he gave his address.
In figure E, we see the house as it stood in 1889. Although we can’t tell what shade of red the bricks are, we can see that when you compare that picture to one of the house today, figure F, not much has changed. Actually, it’s hard to see anything that has changed except for the area and land around the house. Today the house is a museum, not a private residence. The David Wills House, much like the other two buildings we have examined, tell us that in Gettysburg, buildings don’t change, but their functions and representational values do.

Defining a Cultural Landscape

In class, we have been discussing ideas presented in the book, History is in the Land: Multivocal Tribal Traditions in Arizona’s San Pedro Valley by T. J. Ferguson and Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh (2006, University of Arizona Press). The authors put forth a definition of what time and space equal when dealing with the culture and history of the Native Americans who have resided in the San Pedro Valley for thousands of years. Time and space are very different from each other, but together can be grouped into three broad categories: absolute, relational, and representational.
These three groups of time and space can not only be applied to the valleys of Arizona, but can also be applied when discussing the cultural landscape of the town of Gettysburg, PA.
First it might be helpful to define what absolute, relational, and representational time and space are. After much discussion between our group, we collaborated on the similarities and differences of the three. 
Absolute time is best defined as a measured amount of time, like an hour, day, week, or year. Absolute time is linear, and does not stop, but is limited with boundaries. When dealing with Gettysburg, PA, absolute time could be the year of 1786, the year in which Gettysburg was first settled (http://www.gettysburg-pa.gov). Absolute space deals with physical location, defined by geographic features of the landscape. Like absolute time, absolute space can also be measured. The fact that Gettysburg, PA is 159 meters above sea level (http://www.maps-streetview.com/United-States/Gettysburg/), or that it is 1.7 square miles in area, are all examples of the town’s absolute space (ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/Type5/01407.pdf).
Relational time and space are slightly different. Relational time is not linear, but can be represented by events that are notable to an area or a person of the area. For instance, the time in which the railroad was being built through the town is relational. Without years, it was a period important to the people who lived in the town at the time. Relational space has its own meaning as well. Maps of the town of Gettysburg can be relational, there could be maps that deal with the history of a certain time, and include locations like the railroad tracks or the train station. There could be maps that deal with industry, showing places like restaurants and shopping centers. 
The third group of time and space is representational. Representational time is best defined as a period of time not known for its place on the linear plane, but for its symbolism of history or culture. In Gettysburg, representational time could be the 1863 battle, or the time when President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address in the National Cemetery. Representational space, likewise, represents a symbol of great importance that helps define the town. An example of that in Gettysburg could be the David Wills House or the Jennie Wade House, both destinations for tourism that are famous in the town because of their role in the history of Gettysburg. 
All three groups of time and space are important to understanding the cultural landscape that we know as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.