Monday, December 9, 2013
Gettysburg's Battlefield Hotel - An interesting view, circa 1870
I'm not saying I "discovered" this image, since it is in the collection of the Library of Congress, but I only happened upon it while browsing the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog the other day. Perhaps it has gone unnoticed till now. I have no idea, but I have not seen other published references. There is nothing in the catalog listing that specifically says "Gettysburg" that I can see, but it is quite clearly the structure that occupied the intersection of Baltimore Street and Emmitsburg Road, and was called the Wagon Hotel in 1863. It is well known to have been occupied by Union sharpshooters during the battle, and was promoted as such by the sign on the corner post at the stairs. The second floor windows are later additions to the southeast wall of the building as well as the extended porch which may have served as a loading dock, serviced by the side door which was a window in 1863. A northward view of this building, taken in 1865, is available for comparison on pages 96, 97 of William Frassanito's Gettysburg - A Journey In Time, published in 1975. Renamed the Battlefield Hotel to capitalize on its historic value with tourists, the original structure was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1895. Click on this and any of the other images for larger viewing.
The left half of the stereoview, seen in its entirety below.
No photographer's identification is apparent either on the front,
or the back of the card, seen below.
Below is a view taken some years later (note the growth on the trees in front), from the GNMP's files according to Michael Waricher who posted it on his facebook page, Michael Waricher Battlefield Perspectives.
Below is a view of the same intersection as it appeared around 1948, also posted by Waricher, and assumed to come from the same Park files. This building was destroyed in 1949 and today the site of a convenience store and gas station, the Gateway Minimart, at 517 Baltimore Street. Emmitsburg Road, branching off to the right in these southward views, is known as Steinwehr Avenue today.
Below, a variation of the previously mentioned photo examined by William Frassanito, and borrowed here for educational purposes, from an uncredited source posted in the website: Gettysburg Daily, in 2008. It is assumed to be from the same 1865 exposures attributed to Gettysburg's Tyson Studio, and is further discussed by Frassanito in his book, Early Photography at Gettysburg, published in 1995. The wartime structure is the dark brick building, seen on the left side of the image. The view is looking northward from Baltimore Street. Note as discussed previously, the absence of the second floor windows, and the first floor window that apparently was converted into a door for the later built side porch/loading dock.