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Civil War Trails to tell new stories

May 08, 2009

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania tourism officials recently unveiled a new Civil War Trails experience to tell the story of the Civil War from a northern state's perspective and to share the experiences of participants who did not wear a uniform.

"We are stepping off of the battlefield to tell the untold stories of citizens and the communities who were forever changed by the Civil War," said Mickey Rowley, deputy secretary of tourism for the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The Pennsylvania Civil War Trails program educates people about the women and children under siege; the contributions of blacks in the defense of the state; and the endurance of ordinary citizens during a time of great unrest, according to a news release.

The stories are told through 40 new "story stops," which are living history presentations, and at more than 25 historic sites in and between Pennsylvania communities like Gettysburg, York, Hanover, Chambersburg and Carlisle.

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"By following the trails throughout the Dutch Country Roads region, visitors will finally get to hear the stories that have been passed on from generation to generation," Rowley said. "In addition to a greater understanding of the effect the Civil War had on the people of Pennsylvania, visitors will see a different side of the communities embroiled in the conflict."

Two distinct trails were developed in a partnership among the Pennsylvania Tourism Office, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission:

o The Road to Gettysburg: Defending the Commonwealth tells of the Union effort to hold off approaching Confederate forces from overtaking the northern state.

o The Road to Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Breadbasket looks at the Civil War from the Confederate side, detailing Gen. Lee's strategy and attempt to capture Pennsylvania's capital city and the detour that led both sides to meet at Gettysburg.

The companion brochure, which is available at the state's Welcome Centers and at destinations featured along the trail, includes additional stories and a map to guide visitors along the trail route.

For more information, go to www.visitPA.com/civilwar.

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