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Donation completes drive to buy battlefield land

September 12, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • Representatives of F&M Trust, Washington Township and Waynesboro, Pa., were among those gathered Monday for a presentation of a symbolic check from F&M Trust to Washington Township for the Battle of Monterey Pass land purchase. The donation allowed Battle of Monterey Pass preservationists to meet their fundraising goal.
Photo by Jennifer Fitch

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. — Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisor Elaine Gladhill threatened to jump on a local historian Monday in her excitement about buying land to preserve a Civil War battle site.

Gladhill and historian John Miller joined two dozen other people off Charmian Road to accept a $15,000 donation from F&M Trust. That donation allowed Battle of Monterey Pass preservationists to meet their fundraising goal.

“This is a historic moment for Washington Township. They tell me (Gen. George) Custer was here 148 years ago ... on these hallowed grounds,” Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

Two years ago, the Washington Township Supervisors joined Miller in an effort to raise about $100,000 to buy eight-tenths of an acre near Rolando Woods Lions Club Park. The township was promised a $41,900 grant from the state if it could secure matching funds.

Donations came in from all over the country, Miller said.

He hopes to have an interpretive center opened by 2013 for the 150th anniversary of the battle, which was fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line on July 4 and 5, 1863. The main themes presented will be the invasion of Pennsylvania, the battle itself and the Confederates’ retreat.

Waynesboro Area Senior High School teacher Ken Brown said he wants to see young people educated at the site as soon as possible. He said they should be involved in keeping the site available and maintained for visitors.

“We’re going to be gone someday, but this site is going to be here,” Brown said.

A mobile home will be removed from the land, which today is owned by Mary Rae H. Cantwell.

“I just want everyone to know they’ll see wonderful history here,” she said.

State Rep. Todd Rock, R-Franklin, said he remembers attending a fundraising kickoff event.

“It seemed like a lofty goal,” Rock said. “Through $50 donations and $15,000 donations, we made it.”

F&M Trust board member Stephen Patterson suggested a donation to the battlefield cause, according to the bank’s president and chief executive officer, William E. Snell Jr.

“We’d like to see this site preserved for generations,” said Snell, who also mentioned the potential economic development impact associated with tourism.

“I live in Blue Ridge Summit. ... It’s my favorite place — next to Gettysburg — on the Earth,” Patterson said.

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