Gettysburg photographer William Tipton took advantage of many opportunities to haul his camera equipment to the top of the observatory on East Cemetery Hill. This photo of the Soldiers National Cemetery was taken from the observatory.This view was taken facing southwest circa July of 1878. 1878 was the first year the Grand Army of the Republic held a national encampment on the battlefield.
The observatory was completed in 1878 and stood where the Hancock equestrian statue is now located.This view was taken facing northeast in August of 1885.
Tipton’s view of the Soldiers National Cemetery from atop the observatory was obscured by trees.This view was taken facing southwest circa 1878.
He also tried taking photos of the cemetery from the Lodge building, and though this was better, he wasn’t up quite high enough to document the landscaped design of the cemetery.This view was taken facing southwest circa 1882.
But in the fall of 1882 he was presented with an opportunity. The Gettysburg Water Company had erected a derrick (tower) on East Cemetery Hill (north of the observatory). Tipton took the opportunity to ascend the derrick and take this view of the Soldiers National Cemetery.This view was taken facing southwest circa 1882.
In October of 1882, the Gettysburg Water Company needed a new source for the town’s water. They had been getting water from a spring on Baltimore St (today located in the basement of the American History Store). They decided to drill on Cemetery Hill, after purchasing a parcel of land on what was known as “the Costa lot.” To drill, they erected a derrick. The derrick would have resembled this one.This view was taken circa the 1930s in Kansas [LOC].
Artesian wells became popular in the United States during the 1880s. Drilling technology allowed water companies to tap water-bearing rocks (aquifers) deeper in the ground. Because of the pressure from surrounding rocks, the water came to the surface on its own. An artesian well didn’t require a pump to bring the water to the surface and was less prone to contamination.This view is courtesy of Wikimedia Commons [Public Domain].
After the well was dug, Tipton took this view facing town and titled it “View of Gettysburg from the Artesion [sic] Well.”This view was taken facing northwest circa 1883.
Detail from the previous stereo card.This view was taken facing northwest circa 1883.
At some point the Gettysburg Water Company erected a building over the well (center) and directed the water into the nearby reservoir.This view was taken facing northwest circa 1893.