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View Full Version : South Mountain and Monocacy in the news



Quickstep
04-24-2011, 08:50 PM
The Baltimore Sun ran a story today about industrial threats to two battlefields in Frederick County, MD. The first is a huge waste-to-energy plant that is planned just across the Monocacy River from the Monocacy Battlefield, which will feature a 270-foot smokestack. If you think the observation tower at Gettysburg was an eyesore, wait till you see this thing--even the building next to the smokestack will be 150 high.

The other threat is the proposed gas compressor station that Dominion Power wants to build next to Fox's Tavern and the South Mountain Battlefield. We've been fighting this one since 2008:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-gr-civilwar-development-20110420,0,1585620.story

As you may recall from previous posts on this subject, Fox's Tavern and the South Mountain Battlefield area have been on the CWT's 10 Most Endangered Battlefield Sites list for the last two years. They've been nominated for 2011 as well:

http://www.civilwar.org/history-under-siege/2010-endangered/south-mountain.html

A lot of people and a number of organizations are involved in preservation efforts for South Mountain and considerable progress has been made. But as the saying goes, "it aint over till it's over," and it won't be over for South Mountain for some time to come--because of the spread out nature of the battlefield, which occurred in three separate gaps, there's increasing pressure on the area by residential encroachment and utility companies (high power transmission lines already cut through parts of the battlefield).

Che
04-26-2011, 11:49 PM
>>If you think the observation tower at Gettysburg was an eyesore, wait till you see this thing--even the building next to the smokestack will be 150 high.<<

There is a world of difference between a smokestack / industrial building and that complete abomination that was the late, unlamented Gettysburg National Towering Eyesore.

At least a smokestack is something the Civil War veterans themselves would have understood and recognized. That wicker basket in the sky at Gettysburg was a space-age monstrosity that had no aesthetic value and served no purpose other than to bilker people out of money. A smokestack serves the public interest, not just one man's greed.

I'm not advocating having a smokestack and factory building within sight of the battlefield, mind you, but realistically, lets not pretend it will be worse than the ugliness of the long-gone tower. That takes focus away from the real goal: legitimate preservation concerns logically advocated without needless emotional comparisons to something that no longer exists. We old fellows don't need convincing. The non-Civil War buff public will not understand such a comparison especially if they never saw the tower.

Quickstep
04-27-2011, 05:51 PM
There is a world of difference between a smokestack / industrial building and that complete abomination that was the late, unlamented Gettysburg National Towering Eyesore.


The fact that these two structures serve different purposes does not prove that one of them is any less of an eyesore than the other.




At least a smokestack is something the Civil War veterans themselves would have understood and recognized.

They would have understood and recognized a gambling casino too, so what's the problem with putting one in Gettysburg? :o




That wicker basket in the sky at Gettysburg was a space-age monstrosity that had no aesthetic value and served no purpose other than to bilker people out of money. A smokestack serves the public interest, not just one man's greed.

So it's acceptable for a structure to have no aesthetic value if it's providing for the public good? Many people believe it's possible to serve the public interest without destroying the aesthetics of an area, especially an area adjacent to a historic site, either by putting utilities in more appropriate locations or by taking extensive measures to minimize their impact on the viewshed of the adjacent landscape. One of the issues with the incinerator controversy is that many feel that neither of these alternatives were adequately explored.

There are a lot of things that serve the public interest that I don't want on looming over, adjacent to, or cutting through Civil War battlefields: high power transmission lines, cell phone towers, natural gas compressor stations, electrical utility stations, incinerator plants, interstate highways, airports, etc. That doesn't mean I'm opposed to them altogether, only that viable and reasonable alternatives for where they are located and how they look should be explored before they are built.




I'm not advocating having a smokestack and factory building within sight of the battlefield

Well, that's a relief! It sure looked like that's where you were headed. :)




but realistically, lets not pretend it will be worse than the ugliness of the long-gone tower.

I don't have to "pretend" at anything--it is my opinion that it will be worse than the tower. The Monocacy Park Superintendent points out that, "It will...overwhelm part of our landscape." While the Gettysburg tower was visible from some of the battlefield, I don't recall it overwhelming part of the landscape. If you don't think the ugliness of an incinerator plant with a 270-foot smokestack and a 15-story building is worse than the Gettysburg tower, you're certainly entitled to your opinion, but that's all it is--your opinion--it is not a statement of fact just because you say it.




We old fellows don't need convincing. The non-Civil War buff public will not understand such a comparison especially if they never saw the tower.

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, only draw attention to battlefield preservation issues. My post was directed to the audience on the preservation forum of a Civil War reenactor's website, which is most certainly not the general public. Your criticism that the general public will not understand the comparison to the Gettysburg tower is irrelevant since this thread was not directed at the general public in the first place.




That takes focus away from the real goal: legitimate preservation concerns logically advocated without needless emotional comparisons to something that no longer exists.

You're making way too much of this--there's nothing "emotional" about comparing one architectural eyesore to another. Maybe what the "old fellows" need to do (and I count myself among them) is not waste time quibbling over what constitutes an eyesore and focus energy on the real and important issues surrounding battlefield preservation.