Antietam 150th anniversary event in the planning stages for two years

September 17, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |

Workers at Antietam National Battlefield had to be out as early as 5:30 a.m. Monday.

About 14,000 visitors were estimated to have been at the battlefield over three days for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, according to Chief Park Ranger Ed Wenschhof.

“We’ve been in the planning stages for about two years, but certainly in the last two weeks we’ve been getting everything set up,” he said. “We’ve set up tents, (portable toilets), our parking lots along with the stage and the speakers’ tent, and stones and campfire rings for our living history camps.”

The tents on Company Street were set up the previous week, Wenschhof said. Those were for visitors activities, including a family and youth section as well as a photography section.

Two shuttle systems ran throughout the weekend, according Park Superintendent Susan Trail. One system took visitors to locations within the park; the other took them to the re-enactment site near Fairplay or the Sharpsburg Heritage Festival.

“We’ve had visitors from all over the country,” Wenschhof said. “It’s really been a terrific four days for us.”

Trail said preparations required all of the staff in the park.

“I don’t think there’s a person on the staff that wasn’t working on the commemoration the past couple weeks,” she said. “This was an entire park-wide effort.”

Wenschhof said volunteers were also needed throughout the weekend.

“We’ve had an incredible amount of partner and volunteer support,” he said. “There’s been so many people involved of all ages.”

About 60 volunteers per day helped, along with 150 living history volunteers, Wenschhof said. 

Activities were paid for with $250,000 from the Special National Park Service Fee Funds, according to Wenschhof.

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