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$500,000 approved to fix up houses at Antietam

July 20, 2000

$500,000 approved to fix up houses at Antietam



By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer


The Senate has approved the final piece of funding for the renovation of three historic houses at Antietam National Battlefield.

The $500,000 was earmarked as part of the Department of Interior Appropriations bill, according to Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md.

Once renovated, at a total cost of about $2.9 million, the houses will be used to tell the story of the battle and to give student visitors a place to study, said Park Superintendent John Howard.

"We can't tell the story of the battle without telling the story of the people who lived here. Battlefields aren't set aside, they're made, and they're made in people's backyards," he said.

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The renovations include:

- The Sherrick House, which is being restored to what it looked like during the 1862 battle. Work is complete except for some electrical and plaster work.

- The Otto House, which was also there during the battle. Work will begin in the next few months.

- The Mumma House and barn that were burned during the war. The exterior will be restored to what it looked like after it was rebuilt around 1864. Inside the house will be modern classrooms for student visitors to the park.

All the work should be complete by late spring or early summer, Howard said.

The appropriations bill, which has already passed the House, also included money for the C&O Canal National Historical Park and Catoctin Mountain Park.

The C&O Canal will get $470,000 for the preservation of historic structures along the 184.5-mile long canal. The money will allow the park to develop a comprehensive preservation and maintenance program for its more than 1,700 historic structures.

Catoctin Park near Thurmont, Md., will get $89,000 to combat the growth of invasive plants and protect rare plant species.

The money will be used to upgrade several ranger positions to biologist positions, said Superintendent Mel Poole.

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