Re-enactment made $100,000

November 10, 1997

Re-enactment made $100,000


Staff Writer

The 135th Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam made $100,000 for local preservation and history groups, more than any previous Civil War re-enactment, organizers said Monday.

Officials previously said the September event broke a record for being the largest ever re-enactment, with about 100,000 spectators and 14,000 military and civilian re-enactors.

Organizers were pleased, especially since many privately organized re-enactments lose money or barely break even, said Dennis E. Frye, co-chairman of the not-for-profit Antietam Commemoration Committee.


"The only reason that we were able to succeed...was all of the in-kind services and volunteer time," Frye said.

The committee thanked about 350 of the its volunteers at a reception at the Ramada Inn in Hagerstown Monday.

Frye also is president of the Hagerstown-based Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites, which will get $75,000 of the profits.

The national association will use the money to preserve battlefield land near Winchester, Va., and Culpepper, Va., he said.

A local preservation group, Save Historic Antietam Foundation, will get $7,500 to help pay down the mortgage on the purchase of the nearby Grove Farm in 1991.

Another $7,500 will go toward the 10th annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination in 1999, said Chairwoman Georgene Charles.

The group also plans a book outlining the history of the illumination and the story of the 23,110 soldiers who were killed, wounded or missing in the Sept. 17, 1862, battle, she said. Each soldier is represented by a luminaire.

The Washington County Historical Society and the Washington County Free Library each will receive $5,000.

The library will use the money on a Civil War Research Room, which will serve as the entrance to a remodeled Western Maryland Room, said Director John Frye, who is Dennis Frye's father.

"What we really want to have is a one-stop research center for the Civil War," John Frye said.

The historical society doesn't have specific plans yet for the money, said Executive Director Marge Peters.

The Antietam Commemoration Committee reviewed its finances and decided how to divvy the money on Friday evening, Frye said.

Some outstanding bills will be paid this week, he said.

Before declaring the $100,000 payout to nonprofits, the committee reserved $15,000 for any unexpected bills or expenses, he said.

In addition, a dozen other local nonprofits that sold food at the re-enactment raised an estimated $60,000, said Jim Kercheval, who coordinated the food operation.

Williamsport High School Band Boosters made the most, about $19,000, he said.

"They really worked hard for that," recruiting about 100 volunteers, he said.

Most nonprofits teamed up with professional restaurateurs, making an average of $3,000 to $5,000 each, he said.

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