It’s on the National Register of Historic Places, but that hotel and CVS have to go up somewhere.
Tag Archives: Historic Preservation
Graves opened and stones broken at a cemetery in York County, SC. Some of the burials date back to the eighteenth century.
I was just reading about the Rev War skirmishes in and around York County before turning in last night. Hope they catch the lowlife who did this.
Check out this article on the history of Civil War battlefield preservation at The Washington Post:
Despite admirable efforts to connect battlefields to the larger history of the Civil War, the one thing that battlefields can teach very well is the history of what happened in a particular place. If the goal is simply to inspire thoughts about the larger social history of the Civil War, one battlefield is pretty much the same as the next — and it becomes difficult to explain why we need to preserve so many of them, and with so much land taken off the tax rolls. If the goal is to make people passionate about battlefields and their preservation, visitors need to engage with the actual place to understand its strategic importance and the tactical back-and-forth.
I would argue that visitors need to get the strategic importance and tactical back-and-forth because they have intrinsic importance, not just because they inspire respect for preservation.
I seem to run across more discussions about how to effectively integrate non-military subjects into battlefield interpretation than about how to effectively interpret the battlefield itself. Don’t get me wrong—I’m glad that battlefield interpretation is more well-rounded and contextualized than it used to be. We rightly emphasize the fact that the battles didn’t happen in a vacuum, but that insight cuts both ways.
Just as the war’s larger issues determined the conflict, the “tactical back-and-forth” determined the resolution of those larger issues. Emancipation, Union, and all the rest of it ultimately hinged on the stuff of old-fashioned military history: maneuver, terrain, firepower, etc. We preserve these places not only because people suffered and died there, but also because what happened there mattered. It mattered that such-and-such a colonel held a particular position, that such-and-such a general flanked an enemy. Determining the outcome of larger questions, after all, is why battles tend to be fought.
I didn’t even know that Wounded Knee was in private hands until this story popped up in the news. The landowner has given the Oglala Sioux until May 1 to come up with the money before he puts it up for auction. Unfortunately, the asking price is $3.9 million and the tribe is deeply in debt. The current price seems high to me, but the guy claims he’s already had three offers.
There’s disagreement within the tribe as to what should be done with the site; some see opportunities for more tourist-related revenue, while others oppose any major development nearby. Personally, I’d like to see the federal government step in and buy it with an eye toward eventual management by the National Park Service. Supporters of tourism would get the visitor draw they’re after, while the NPS could preserve the site and interpret it in a tasteful, professional, and sensitive manner that would hopefully be agreeable to folks who aren’t keen on development. Seems to me like a sensible solution, but that’s just my two cents.
This ought to bring some holiday cheer to anybody who cares about battlefield preservation. The Civil War Trust has an opportunity to acquire one of the most historic parcels of ground in the country at Brandy Station. I second Eric’s call to action: This is the time for all of us history aficionados to help make this happen.
If you’re like me and aren’t in a financial position to write a big fat check with lots of zeroes in it, here’s a simple way to pitch in. Lots of our friends and co-workers are scrambling around to find last-minute Christmas presents for us. What if we e-mailed these folks and asked them to take the money they’d normally spend on a gift for us and send the same amount to the Civil War Trust instead? Every little bit helps.
Alternatively, if you need to find a Christmas present for the history buff in your life, consider making a donation to the CWT in their name. They’ll appreciate that more than a sweater or fruitcake, and it’ll last longer.
The Civil War Trust is trying to raise $339,000 to close on three important parcels.
Let’s imagine for a minute that I blew up Cemetery Ridge. Just hypothetically, I mean. Imagine that Gettysburg National Military Park up and decided to sell off some land, and I bought Cemetery Ridge and then bulldozed away all the soil, and then I drilled down into the rock and placed some explosives and then just blasted it all to smithereens.
If that scenario disturbs you, consider this: Last week a federal judge, siding with coal companies, refused to have the site of the Battle of Blair Mountain put back on the National Register of Historic Places.
You’d think a place where one of the biggest armed uprisings in American history happened, and one of the most significant historic sites in Appalachia, would get a little more respect.
Why did Blair Mountain get removed from the register to begin with? Believe it or not, Randall Reid-Smith, West Virginia’s State Historic Preservation Officer, asked for it to be taken off, claiming that most of the property owners objected to the designation. When a real estate lawyer took a closer look at these dissenting property owners, a funny thing happened.
The list of objectors, Bailey discovered, included two dead men—one of whom had perished nearly three decades earlier—as well as a property owner who had sold her land years before the nomination process. In addition, Bailey identified 13 property owners who did not appear on the SHPO list at all. “The final count we reached was 63 landowners and only 25 objectors,” Ayers said.
Hey, if two guys came back from the hereafter and asked you to get a site taken off the National Register of Historic Places, you’d probably get right on it too, wouldn’t you?
There’s a sickening irony here; the Battle of Blair Mountain happened because the miners got fed up with the coal companies’ rapacity, and now the site itself is threatened by coal companies’ rapacity. Picture an original safe house on the Underground Railroad being torn down to build a whites-only restaurant, and you’d have an analogous situation.
If you care about historic ground, now would be a good time to let some elected officials know it.