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Frye vows to keep promoting tourism

August 13, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

Although he's no longer heading a Civil War battlefield preservation group, Dennis E. Frye said Wednesday he won't stop promoting Civil War tourism in Washington County.

Frye also said his leaving the Hagerstown-based Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites won't jeopardize the filming of "Gods and Generals" in the county.

The community, not APCWS, persuaded Director Ron Maxwell to film here, he said.

Frye played a role, however, because he knew Maxwell and author Jeff Shaara, who wrote the book on which the movie will be based, as well as community leaders.

Frye, who resigned from APCWS on July 24, said he wanted to return to his professional roots as a historian. He said that on Friday, Maxwell offered him a job working on the film closer to when production is scheduled to begin next year.

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Frye said he is considering the offer but hasn't made any commitments. He said he didn't leave APCWS to pursue Hollywood.

Maxwell is still pursuing financing for the movie, Frye said.

With his newly found time, Frye hopes to write a book. For 20 years he has been researching Stonewall Jackson's capture of Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

"I have 10 years of creative energy that wants to come out through a word processor," he said.

Frye also will speak to groups about the Civil War and at times will act as a consultant for APCWS.

In his travels, he will continue to promote the area as the "crossroads of the Civil War."

"As a native, I am proud to boast about our own back yard throughout the country," he said.

After the APCWS operation moved to Hagerstown in May 1996, Frye helped organize a major Civil War convention and re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam.

It was his heavy involvement in last year's re-enactment that got him in trouble with some members of the APCWS board, who felt the event did not pay off and distracted Frye from the task of fund raising.

"That's not our task to promote Hagerstown," Alan E. Hoeweler, chairman of the board of trustees, said in early July.

Frye said Wednesday that the re-enactment will benefit APCWS in the long run because it introduced re-enactors to battlefield preservation.

APCWS was reorganized and Frye was relieved of the office's day-to-day operations in April.

Those duties were assumed by Robert Edmiston, who previously was the organization's director of real estate.

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