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Preservationists continue to seek donations for Battle of Monterey Pass visitors area

So far nearly a quarter of $41,900 goal has been collected but economy is hampering efforts

February 26, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. — Proponents of a visitors area for the Battle of Monterey Pass are continuing to solicit donations but plan to re-evaluate their efforts in April.

So far, $10,216 has been privately contributed toward buying 0.8 of an acre near Rolando Woods Lions Club Park.

Preservationists are seeking to raise $41,900 to provide matching funds required to receive a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

"Right now, with the economy the way it is, with it sinking, I think that's a big reason we're not reaching our goal," said John Miller, a preservationist and historian.

If purchased, the site would be used for a visitors center with displays and artifacts. Supporters have said they would like the site to be available for visitors for the 150th anniversary of the battle in July 2013.

Miller said existing Battle of Monterey Pass organizations are going to be revamped into the Friends of Monterey Pass Battlefield and the Monterey Pass Battlefield Association. The "friends" would oversee day-to-day operations, and the association would handle educational programs.

The Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors, who applied for the grant on behalf of the preservationists, are accepting tax-deductible donations for the battlefield preservation.

Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said municipal officials plan to talk with DCNR about the grant sometime between April and June, and provide updated fundraising totals then.

Donations have been received from several states across the country, Miller said.

"We just did a series of programs in Maryland to raise awareness," he said.

On June 25 and 26, the mountaintop will host a living history account of the 1st North Carolina Battalion of Sharpshooters. Miller said a North Carolina author recently provided newspaper accounts of the infantrymen's exploits.

"We knew there was an infantry up there, but we didn't have a designation," Miller said.

He said the Battle of Monterey Pass on July 4 and 5 of 1863 involved Franklin and Adams counties in Pennsylvania, and Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland.

Miller said the Battle of Monterey Pass was the only Civil War battle fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Miller and other preservationists are visiting businesses in search of contributions. They're touting the potential of visitors using area businesses as well as the recreational opportunities at a battlefield with access to the Appalachian Trail.

"It's going to benefit Waynesboro's economy

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