Feb 24

In the right-hand side of this view, across from the 17th Pennsylvania Cavalry Monument, the Peace Light Inn is being constructed. This view was taken facing southwest circa 1940 and is courtesy of the Center for Civil War Photography, which has more than 1,000 historic Gettysburg Park images like these on their Flickr. The McPherson Barn is also visible in the left background.

Opening in 1941, the Peace Light Inn was constructed by Harvey and Maybelle Warner with their sons Charles and John Sr. For decades it was a prominent gathering place for local groups/committees and saw numerous dignitaries and famous visitors who valued its close proximity to the Eternal Light Peace Memorial. The structure was destroyed by a fire on March 16th, 1979.

We begin here at the 6th New York Cavalry monument, walking towards the site where the Peace Light Inn and cabins would have been. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

Looking out to our right we can see the observation tower on Oak Ridge and the light-blue water tank, marking the position of Camp Letterman. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

The 9th New York Cavalry monument. This view was facing northeast at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

This view was taken circa 1940, prior to the start of construction of the Peace Light Inn. The Peace Light is visible just to the left of the 9th NY Cavalry monument in this view. This view is courtesy of the Center for Civil War Photography, which has more than 1,000 historic Gettysburg Park images like these on their Flickr

The inn and its adjacent cabins were located in the field to the left of Buford Avenue in this shot. The 17th PA Cavalry monument is on the far right. This view was facing north at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

The family reported that the stone came from quarries in the South Mountain that they hauled down themselves. This view was taken facing northeast circa 1941 and is courtesy of the Center for Civil War Photography, which has more than 1,000 historic Gettysburg Park images like these on their Flickr

Today the trees and fenceline across from the property have been removed and replaced with an orchard as part of the National Park Service’s restoration efforts. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

We previously covered the planting of this orchard in August of 2008. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

The 17th PA Cavalry monument. This view was taken facing south at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

The cabins were an addition to the property in the mid-1940s. The Peace Light Inn began as a short-order restaurant and soda fountain, and was a popular hangout for teenagers during the 1940s. This view is courtesy of the Center for Civil War Photography, which has more than 1,000 historic Gettysburg Park images like these on their Flickr

The local Chamber of Commerce commissioned a study in 1943 to find other places for youths in the area to congregate, citing the Peace Light Inn and street corners as the only places for teenagers, especially military cadets, to hang out. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.

In 1963 a cocktail lounge was added to the restaurant for the centennial. This view was taken in January of 1969 and is courtesy of the Center for Civil War Photography, which has more than 1,000 historic Gettysburg Park images like these on their Flickr.

The 24-acre tract which surrounded the property was purchased from the Warner family by the National Park Service in 1976 (this included the cabins) for $630,000. The Warners developed a five year agreement with the NPS to continue to operate the restaurant portion of the Peace Light Inn. On Friday, March 16th, 1979, the Warners awoke to smoke in their second floor apartment (above the restaurant area). A fire which started in the basement turned into an “inferno” after the local fire company arrived on the scene. Firemen had to be rescued from the structure via ladder and surrounding companies were called. Water was pumped from a nearby pond until the blaze was brought under control. Do you have pictures of a visit to the Peace Light Inn? Feel free to contact us and we’ll add them to today’s post. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 4:10 PM on Tuesday, February 16, 2011.


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