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View Full Version : Demolition of the old Cyclorama building in Gettysburg



Ross L. Lamoreaux
01-10-2013, 05:43 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/old-gettysburg-cyclorama-building-which-once-housed-famous-painting-to-be-razed/2013/01/10/fb9cfd2c-5b49-11e2-beee-6e38f5215402_story.html

Looks like it's going to happen...

doughboy
01-18-2013, 08:36 PM
All well and good for battlefield preservation but as historians you shouldn't scoff at it's importance as an historical architectural artifact... There is always a second side..

Spinster
01-19-2013, 02:40 AM
Interesting to see that the electric map was sold to a local developer.

I'd read the open bid description at the time it was offered and figured we'd see that map again.

Rob Weaver
02-02-2013, 09:29 AM
I'm really sad to see it go. When that building was new, it was beautiful. It displayed the painting in a dramatic way, and preserved it for fifty years. I believe the reason they located it right in Zeigler's Grove is that it was only a matter of yards away from where Phillippauteaux (sp?) had the scafford where he did his study, took photos for reference, etc. So you were viewing the cyclorama from pretty much the same spot that the painter painted it. They used to give a guided tour that went out the upper exit in the gallery, and walked along the observation deck after viewing the painting. It made a big impression on me when I was a lad in the single digits. It was very sad to see the state of disrepair that the building was allowed to deteriorate to in the years since it was vacated. The Visitor's Center was a piece of my childhood that, alas, is now gone.

anvtjm
02-11-2013, 10:25 PM
Hi,
I have been to Gettysburg several times and each time I go there I see something new. I recently went back to Gettysburg and noticed the transformation that the old location of the museum has went through. It definately looks really different having the buildings removed from the area. The new museum is open and easy to walk through compared to the tight space of the old. I cant wait to go back. -TJM 9th Ky, CSA

Rob Weaver
02-12-2013, 08:24 AM
The new museum is awesome! I really enjoyed it. The galleries are a little busy - a bit like walking around on the inside of a website - but did a much better job of setting te war and battle in context than anything that was done previously. Since many people see Gettysburg as the "Visitor's Center for the Civil War" I think that's a good thing. I didn't care for the film preceeding the cyclorama presentation because I thought it was reaching to make connections that were a little out of context and tenuous. the cyclorama is absolutely awe-inspiring. I would never get tired of seeing that!

David Einhorn
02-12-2013, 09:47 AM
I don't expect to miss the Cyclorama building, as I could never understand why it was considered attractive. I do miss the old visitor's center as I used to stop there periodically to educate my eye on the materials in the displays. I guess that all the items that they used to display in the old visitor's center is in storage somewhere; I very much miss the opportunity to look at it.

doughboy
02-15-2013, 08:18 AM
Most of the items are on display in the new visitors center.

Rob Weaver
02-15-2013, 08:39 AM
The old visitor's center (the cyclorama center) was designed as a state of the art archetectural statement in the late 1950s. When it was new, it was really a thing of beauty. The bright white exterior walls, flat roof, square part of the building contrasting with the round cyclorama theater were a bold statement. Museums looked like small town libraries back then. A fresh look bridged the gap between the past and the present, as if saying "the Civil War still matters." (Things like putting it on top of a battlefield landmark just didn't occur to folks back then. See my first post for why it was located there.) The interior of the building gleamed with polished granite. It was built to handle big crowds, and was prety successful at it. Unfortunately, like most ultra-modern buildings of its time, it didn't age well. I think the roof leaked for most of the last 40 years. That look of modernity became highly dated and rather than speaking of an optimistic, modern future, just said "tired old government building." It was worn out, obsolete, and in the wrong place; but it's still a shame to see it gone. Plus it preserved a great work of art for 40+ years, facilitating millions of viewings. The cyclorama would have been rat dung if it had remained in it's round barn. Now what I really think is funny, is that when they demolished the old electric map building (the visitor's center by the big parking lot) they did such a thorough job that it's wiped clean from the face of the earth. No trace. If you didn't know there'd been a building there, you wouldn't guess. Yet they left the brown informational sign at the site proclaiming "This building has been permanently closed." I guess so! Closed in Vogon fashion!

David Einhorn
02-15-2013, 08:42 AM
Most of the items are on display in the new visitors center.

Other locals and myself went through the new visitors center before they started charging for admission, and we could not find/see more than a small portion of the materials from the old visitors center on display. All the camp stuff was gone, most of the uniforms were gone, the display of cannon barrels was gone, the large display of guns was gone.

At the old visitors' center parking was next to the building and it was easy to get from the parking lot to the entrance. At the new visitor center, by the time I reached the door after struggling to transverse strips of swamp, I was done in.

I and other locals whom I have talked to enjoyed the old visitor center. I *really* don't like the new one.

lincolnsguard
02-15-2013, 08:54 AM
Other locals and myself went through the new visitors center before they started charging for admission, and we could not find/see more than a small portion of the materials from the old visitors center on display. All the camp stuff was gone, most of the uniforms were gone, the display of cannon barrels was gone, the large display of guns was gone.

At the old visitors' center parking was next to the building and it was easy to get from the parking lot to the entrance. At the new visitor center, by the time I reached the door after struggling to transverse strips of swamp, I was done in.

I and other locals whom I have talked to enjoyed the old visitor center. I *really* don't like the new one.

The Gettysburg Foundation doesn't care what you think. Isn't that obvious. And the current, (lack of) display of artifacts has been discussed ad nauseum here and on every internet board everywhere since the museum has opened. And, the Gettysburg Foundation hasn't changed a thing. If you don't like it call them and most of all, don't give them your money. That's the only way it's going to change. And, oh by the way, the new museum wasn't built just for "us," it was built for the huge tourist traffic that frequents the place each and every year. And they don't care the Gettysburg Foundation charges stadium prices for everything inside the building. It's the money that matters to that town in the end not the history. It's what the town can make off of the history that really matters. It's been that way since July 5, 1863, complaining on an internet board isn't going to change it.


And, if I read my calendar correctly, every rifle/musket the NPS has in their collection will be on display tomorrow thru Monday. Not that I need to pay to see them.

And, you book is great BTW.

Rob Weaver
02-16-2013, 09:23 AM
While I like the new visitor's center, I will conceed that it's not an equipment maven's paradise like the old one was. The wall of guns is still there, though, and better displayed for the general public. It's not a research museum - it's a visitor's center. This may sound like heresy, but tour something like this with a kid, or someone with a general interest in the period, or who is even interested in a different facet of the 19th century world. When You and I are saying "Look at this 1855!" they're saying "Another musket." The old center also had a good bit of junque that it stuck hither and yon around the building, daring visitor's to connect it with its significance. "Oh, look; the door of John Brown's cell. What's it doing here?" Now those items not directly related to the Gettysburg battle are set in context. With all humility, there does come a point at which the enthusiast's knowlege goes beyond the purpose of the museum.

lincolnsguard
02-17-2013, 01:16 AM
I was by today. Teams of folks in white suites with respirators were carrying bags from the windowless building marked "hazardous" to a trailer. Asbestos I figure. The feller who wanted the building saved is protesting tomorrow; Sunday.

Guns of Gettysburg on Display at GNMP

Visitors to Gettysburg National Military Park will have a rare opportunity to touch a piece of American history on Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 18. Original weapons used in the Civil War will be on display in the lobby of the Visitor Center from 10AM to 4PM.

The exhibit will display the most common weapons used in the Battle of Gettysburg, including muskets, rifles, rifle-muskets, carbines, revolvers, swords and sabres. Unlike most museum exhibits, however, this display will allow close examination of the artifacts and even light handling by visitors.

This special exhibit is part of the educational outreach programming of the Civil War Dance Foundation. In addition to conducting Civil War balls, dance demonstrations and classes, the CWDF also presents military and civilian artifact displays and lectures on a variety of Civil War topics.

See http://www.gettysburgfoundation.org/...:241/entry:858

I had to look a bit but, they were there.

Quarter Gunner Bohlman
02-17-2013, 08:56 AM
Sorry to see it go ~ always enjoyed viewing it whenever I visited the area in past years! :(

Rob Weaver
02-18-2013, 08:58 AM
The win here is a restored Zeigler's Grove. Kinda ironic if you look at it like their unpaving a parking lot and putting up paradise.

Stephen Bockmiller
02-18-2013, 11:32 AM
This building should never have been built (and I say that as someone with fond childhood memories too).

The roof leaked most of the life of the building. I BELIEVE the leaks actually damaged the painting it was designed to protect.

The big bank of glass on the north side was a retracting door that worked ONCE.

If this is a good example of architecture of its period, its a sad commentary.

It is an albatross and should be gone. There is a sentimental side to me that will be sorry to see it gone, but mostly, I will be happy.

Stephen Bockmiller
02-18-2013, 11:33 AM
Oh...and I believe there were settlement problems with the foundation from the very beginning. I think that is documented in NPS reports.

Rob Weaver
02-18-2013, 05:44 PM
This building should never have been built (and I say that as someone with fond childhood memories too).

The roof leaked most of the life of the building. I BELIEVE the leaks actually damaged the painting it was designed to protect.

The big bank of glass on the north side was a retracting door that worked ONCE.

If this is a good example of architecture of its period, its a sad commentary.

It is an albatross and should be gone. There is a sentimental side to me that will be sorry to see it gone, but mostly, I will be happy.
Yep. I think you hit nearly everything wrong with twentieth century modernist buildings. They settle and they leak. I think when all is said and done, history will not remember this movement fondly. In addition to those doors that didn't open, I believe there was an amplitheater next to the entrance that was constructed and never used. Ever. Purpose-built structure that was under-utilized.
Really, this building's signature sin was being built in the wrong place.
I really wish they'd just torn it down in the middle of the night and let the chips fall where they may. Watching it decay into the ground for the past few years has been painful, like watching your elementary school turn into a crackhouse.

MRiddell
02-24-2013, 05:05 PM
There is a lot going on with the NPS and the people that run the visitors center. I do hope someone else can take over the new visitors center, because they are mainly in it to make money, and not present the history of the battle of Gettysburg. They can cut out that slavery video since it is not need for Gettysburg. Most of the weapons are in storage collecting dust. It is a shame.

MRiddell
03-01-2013, 02:05 PM
http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/q754/Marcus_Riddell/734613_514136281958049_769455290_n_zps2f70ecdf.jpg

paul hadley
03-01-2013, 06:34 PM
Artifacts uncovered?
Just wondering -- did the professionals use any metal detectors or even review the aerial X-rays done in the past decade to reclaim objects in the area before the bulldozers started knocking down walls and carting the (modern) debris off with what might be something of (19th century) historical value? This is a pretty important piece of real estate.
I'll be there for a visit during my little stroll with like-minded lads at the end of June.
Cheers,
Paul Hadley

lincolnsguard
03-01-2013, 09:02 PM
That field has been gone over and over and over an over and over and over....get my point. And, archaeologists went over every shovel full of earth when the thing was built. Artifacts found on the field today are a one in a bazillion chance of luck. All that ugly mess of a building needs is a bulldozer. There hasn't been a glass dome over that field and town for the last 150 years. Remember, Camp Colt was there, there were photo studios, a trolley a dance hall and even an amusement park on the battlefield. Pristine it isn't. Not even close and, there's things that were there during the battle, that will never be brought back. Take the stone quarry that was just behind the Trostle Farm, the Bliss Farm, the Klingle Farm the Heagy Farm as several examples. Not that I'd mind seeing all the trinket shops in town blow up.

Che
03-02-2013, 04:34 PM
The National Tower in 2000... Home Sweet Home Motel in 2003... the Cyclorama Building in 2012...

Now that's what I call progress! When's McDonald's gonna get the wrecking ball?

MRiddell
03-02-2013, 07:23 PM
The National Tower in 2000... Home Sweet Home Motel in 2003... the Cyclorama Building in 2012...

Now that's what I call progress! When's McDonald's gonna get the wrecking ball?

How about getting rid of Pickett's Charge Buffet???

143rd PA
03-04-2013, 05:09 PM
I have been to the new visitors center twice and in all likelyhood will never go back. Few of the old artifacts displayed and the entrance reminds me of a bus station. Sad situation.

MRiddell
03-08-2013, 03:23 PM
<a href="http://s1357.beta.photobucket.com/user/Marcus_Riddell/media/Cyclorama&#37;20Center%20Demolition/537617_354755717972841_1239424888_n_zps5b89c841.jp g.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/q754/Marcus_Riddell/Cyclorama%20Center%20Demolition/537617_354755717972841_1239424888_n_zps5b89c841.jp g" border="0" alt=" photo 537617_354755717972841_1239424888_n_zps5b89c841.jp g"/></a>

MRiddell
03-08-2013, 06:05 PM
http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/q754/Marcus_Riddell/Cyclorama&#37;20Center%20Demolition/522753_354756217972791_150294273_n_zpsd5910fce.jpg

Che
03-16-2013, 08:41 AM
I have been to the new visitors center twice and in all likelyhood will never go back. Few of the old artifacts displayed and the entrance reminds me of a bus station. Sad situation.

The real insult is the "gift shop"... what was once a real bookstore at the old musuem. "Gifts" (junk) are interpersed among the books which deemphisizes the books. The store is actually overseen by a person in California who's never even been to Gettysburg and who told one prospective book seller that history books are boring. OK, instead of boring books, we now have an emphisis on toys (junk) and gifts (more junk). And if it makes any kind of noise (wooden poppers) then all the better. I was in there once when the poppers were flying off the shelves and every little sprog in the place just had to try them out... over and over again. The July 3rd bombardment could not have been louder.

MRiddell
03-16-2013, 10:23 AM
It is down!!! Here is a video of the part of the building that held the painting coming down.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRX6bu4WA84&feature=youtu.be

Che
03-16-2013, 07:03 PM
Good ridance to bad rubbish.

MRiddell
03-24-2013, 03:41 PM
http://i1357.photobucket.com/albums/q754/Marcus_Riddell/Cyclorama&#37;20Center%20Demolition/482297_494077427308217_1039608701_n_zps76bf7559.jp g