Share This Page

Lawmakers push to give Gettysburg train depot to National Park Service

| Sunday, May 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
The Gettysburg Lincoln Train Station is on the National Register of Historic Places. A half-million grant will enable the Gettysburg Foundation to buy the station from the borough and develop an interprative program.

Federal lawmakers from Pennsylvania are pushing to turn the historic train station in downtown Gettysburg over to the Gettysburg National Military Park.

Officials believe the National Park Service is the organization best able to maintain the place where Abe Lincoln arrived and left when he delivered his Gettysburg Address.

“We'd love to see the train station turned over the (National) Park Service,” said Gettysburg Mayor William E. Troxell. “We were able to get state grants to do a beautiful restoration of the building in 2006, but we really can't afford the upkeep.”

The borough allows the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau to use the building as a visitor's center but requires it to pay only for utilities, said Carl Whitehill, an agency spokesman.

U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and Pat Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, introduced legislation to incorporate the train station into the military park's boundary, along with 45 acres along Plum Run at the eastern base of Big Round Top where Union and Confederate cavalry troops clashed during the Battle of Gettysburg.

“Gettysburg is a site of substantial historical importance for Pennsylvania and the entire country,” Casey said. “The 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg is an ideal time to pass this bipartisan, fiscally responsible legislation that will preserve more historic land.

A companion bill to the Casey-Toomey legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, who represents the Gettysburg area.

A report by the House Committee on Natural Resources values the station at about $700,000 — about the amount the borough spent on renovations, according to Troxell.

To assist with transferring the station, the Richard King Mellon Foundation in Pittsburgh awarded a $500,000 grant to the Gettysburg Foundation that will go toward the purchase of the building and “development of an interpretative program” for the historic landmark.

Cindy Smalls of the Gettysburg Foundation said the organization is “very interested in purchasing the train station.”

Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.