Jul 5

The monument to the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment on West Howard Avenue in Gettysburg National Military Park. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

The monument to the 74th Pennsylvania was struck by a vehicle in July, 2010. Here’s Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey’s appeal to protect the monument. The National Park Service added “Curve Ahead” signs to the roadway as an effort to stop motorists from poorly navigating this turn and damaging the monument. The NPS reports that they are “monitoring the situation” and that no motorists have left the roadway since the installation of the curve ahead sign.

Of course, this still hasn’t changed the fact that the monument was damaged approximately a year ago and has yet to be repaired. The National Park Service hopes to re-seat the monument to its base in the fall of this year.

See Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Stuart Dempsey’s discussion of the actions of the 74th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg. The monument is located on the First Day Battlefield’s West Howard Avenue.

The right flank marker to the 74th Pennsylvania was struck by a vehicle in January of 2010.

As we have reported previously, monument damage due to vandalism and accidents have been a part of the battlefield since monuments were placed here. This view was taken facing south at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

The question in our minds has always been how we respond to that vandalism and damage and the time-frame in which we do it. This view was taken facing north at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

When vandalism happened a hundred years ago in the park, many of the monument studios and shops that originally designed the monuments and memorials in the park were still in business. Repairing the monuments was often as simple as ordering replacement parts from the original casts and contracting the studios to complete the repairs. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

Today the burden of repairing vandalism/accidental damage rests entirely on the preservation and maintenance branches of the National Park Service. This view was facing south at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

So while we can perhaps understand why it might be a “challenge” to find replica casts for some vandalized monuments … This view was taken facing south at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

That is absolutely not the case with the 74th Pennsylvania. The monument’s three distinct sections were jarred and misaligned from a collision with an automobile a year ago. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

And while it’s good to hear that the the Park hopes to repair the monument in the fall … This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

… in the meantime we imagine that the monument isn’t as structurally secure as it used to be. This view was taken facing north at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

If it is struck by another vehicle that happens to ignore the “Curve Ahead” signs, we don’t want to see this monument added to the list of monuments that the NPS cannot repair without searching for sculptors/artists able to replicate the delicate work undertaken by the original designers. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

Our concern, as it has always been, is that the monument is in a vulnerable position here, having now been struck numerous times by vehicles in the past decade alone. This view was taken facing west at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

We will cross our fingers that we will be updating you with a post in the fall about the reseated and repaired 74th Pennsylvania monument here on West Howard Avenue and that it will have incurred no further damage in that time. This view was taken facing south at approximately 6:10 AM on Saturday, June 25, 2011.


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