Beyond the Gatehouse: Gettysburg's Evergreen Cemetery - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 49.248 W 077° 13.755
18S E 309206 N 4410245
Quick Description: In 117 pages Brian Kennell (2000) offers a history of this historic cemetery, discusses some famous burials and puts the site in context, explaining its link to the Battle of Gettysburg.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 11/25/2011 7:50:52 PM
Waymark Code: WMD6AM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 4

Long Description:

The Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse was built between September and November of 1855 by George and Henry Chritzman for a total cost of $1,025.00. The cornerstone for the Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse was laid on September 1, 1855. The red brick gatehouse, and cemetery lodge, built thirty years later are one of the most well-known, recognized and photographed icons of this historic district. One of the first Italianate style buildings erected in Gettysburg, the gatehouse would soon become the most recognized piece of architecture from the Battle of Gettysburg. Stephen Button, the Philadelphia architect of the gatehouse, was responsible for giving Gettysburg its first example of funerary architecture.

The Evergreen Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in Gettysburg, predating the Nat'l Cemetery by almost a full decade; the gatehouse the oldest of all the structures found here. The cemetery saw action & suffered significant damage during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Several monuments can be found here as well as some restored cannons flanking some of the monument tablets.

The Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse was the Battle of Gettysburg headquarters of General Oliver Howard and was damaged by nearby military engagements on East Cemetery Hill. The gatehouse's 2 brick towers support a memorial arch, and the structure was repaired in 1885 when an attached lodge was built. Evergreen cemetery was used by soldiers during the battle of Gettysburg, July 1 - 3, 1863. Headstones and other funerary sculptures were used as shields to protects troops from snipers and other weaponry.

The cemetery and gatehouse are well known in Gettysburg and are always part of any tour. They both are contributing structures to the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District and are worth visiting. The contributing structures and Civil War sites in this district are all marked by small plaques which read Civil War Building 1863. Many famous American's are interred here including John L. Burns (1812 & 1863 soldier), Steve Courson (NFL lineman), Marianne Moore (poet), Eddie Plank (Hall of Fame pitcher), and Oscar Shaw (actor/singer). All totaled, there are 10,585 interments of which 15 are considered famous. SOURCE

The cemetery is open during the daytime until dusk and is completely accessible and free to visit. Parking is available out front along Baltimore Pike, most spots metered along the curb and a few are not. Evergreen Cemetery is across from East Cemetery Hill, an important Civil War battlefield littered everywhere with the most beautiful monuments and restored cannons.

When you walk into the cemetery and first thing which attracts your attention is the beautiful brick gatehouse which serves as the threshold to this historic site. If you look to the right, you will see the cast iron fence which delineates the left or northern most boundary of the cemetery is shared by the southern most part of the Soldiers' National Cemetery. This wrought iron fence once was in Washington D.C. and is an object of some controversy. (There is another waymark available about that story). Inside you will notice several statues, one for Elizabeth Thorn right at the entrance and another for Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed during the battle, which can be found at her grave. Also, there are markers, monuments and memorials relating to the Battle with several refurbished 20-pounder Parrott rifled cannons.

There is not too much documentation on the historical nature of the cemetery and gatehouse which are often referred to and mentioned as two separate entities, even by the Park Rangers I engaged in conversation. Even Wikipedia has them as two separate entries. The cemetery's own website is worthless as well if one should want to dig deeper to learn more of its history. Even more peculiar is the notable absence of the cemetery and its gatehouse from the American Guide Series. In fact, it is not even listed on a map.


A link about the book can be found HERE and HERE.

ISBN Number: 0966477200

Author(s): Brian Kennell

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