Category Archives: Civil War

Civil War Trust Park Day



Every year since 1996, history enthusiasts, preservationists, and other community volunteers have gathered at historic battlefield sites across the country for the Civil War Trust’s Park Day. This annual event, scheduled for Saturday, March 28th, is an effort to help keep our nation’s heritage not only preserved, but pristine. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, the 180 mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Charlottesville, VA has the largest concentration of Civil War battlefields in the country. As such, there are multiple opportunities for individuals to take on maintenance projects large and small to support the particular needs of each participating site.   We encourage you to find a location or opportunity that works for you and join others on that day to make a difference. Here is a listing of confirmed activities within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Join volunteers from the Civil War Trust and Gettysburg National Military Park cutting brush on the slopes of Little Round Top to reveal historic terrain and original breastworks.  Space is limited and advance registration is required.  Contact: Jo Sanders at Gettysburg NMP via phone at 717-334-1124 x3351 or by email at: Jo_Sanders@nps.gov. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/gett.

MONOCACY NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD

As our nation commemorates the final year of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, volunteers across the country have another opportunity to answer their country’s call to service. The Park Day project at Monocacy National Battlefield will focus on removing trash from an area that has been previously inaccessible. It promises to be fun work that will greatly assist your local National Park. Please dress appropriately for field work. Event registration will be from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the visitor center. Volunteers must attend the safety briefing at 9:00 a.m. to participate. Pre-registration is encouraged; please call 301-662-3515. For more information, please visit www.nps.gov/mono.

ANTIETAM NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD 

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Forty volunteers are needed to assist with the spring cleanup of the Antietam National Cemetery and the Mumma family cemetery. To sign up please contact project coordinator, Rick Schriever at 301-432-6035. Thirty volunteers are also needed to assist with preparing the Rohrback Group Campground for the camping season. To sign up please contact project coordinator, Debbie Cohen at 301-432-2243. Both projects will work from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. Volunteers should wear proper footwear and dress appropriately for the weather. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/anti.

HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

Volunteers are needed to help mulch and clear trails. Work will be done on the historic 1862 battlefields of the Park. The park will supply wheel barrows, pitch forks, loppers & steel rake but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves. The Park Service will supply extra gloves if needed for this 4-5 hour work day. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm

BALLS BLUFF REGIONAL BATTLEFIELD PARK

At Ball’s Bluff Battlefield projects include mulching, removal of fallen branches, trash pickup, and many other things. Please bring weather appropriate clothing, gloves, water, and rakes and shovels if you can. And wear clothing that can get dirty, and is appropriate for the weather.

Light snacks will be provided. For more information, call 703-779-9372 or e-mail templehallfarm@nvrpa.org. For more information, visit http://www.nvrpa.org/park/ball_s_bluff.

CEDAR MOUNTAIN

CWT1

Photo Courtesy of the Civil War Trust

 

Friends of Cedar Mountain Battlefield is organizing a 2015 Park Day activity on CWT’s Cedar Mountain Battlefield Property. Volunteers are needed to take on a variety of tasks including clearing trash & debris, improving interpretive trails, cleaning markers, and cutting back intrusive brush and fallen trees. They may also work on the split-rail fence on the battlefield. Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves, rakes, shovels, weed whackers, loppers, etc. and wear appropriate work clothing. Light food and drinks (snacks, desserts) will be provided. For more information, visit http://www.friendsofcedarmoutain.org.

BRANDY STATION

The Brandy Station Foundation has identified two projects: to clean up and maintain the trail leading to Kelly’s Ford on BSF owned property along the Rappahannock River at Kelly’s Ford. This trail is used by visitors to access the historic ford, one of the most heavily used during the Civil War; cleanup of the one of the storage areas on the Graffiti House property and a corner of the property along the railroad tracks at Brandy Station. Everyone is invited to join in. it is a great way to see historic areas, make new friends, and improve historic areas. Volunteers will be welcomed at the Graffiti House, 19484 Brandy Road, Brandy Station, Virginia, and assigned work at 9:00 AM. They should bring their own work gloves, hats and sturdy shoes. Please bring tools helpful in cutting and removing brush, downed trees and weeds. BSF will provide water, snacks and Park Day T-shirts or patches (while they last). Please sign up in advance with BSF Park Day coordinator Gary Wilson at 540-547-4106. This will help work assignments which match the abilities and interests of volunteers and get needed tools lined up. For more info, visit http://www.brandystationfoundation.com.

BRISTOE STATION

Volunteers are encouraged to join the staff at Bristoe Station Battlefield for a fun and rewarding day of work at Bristoe Battlefield. Projects will include litter pick up, cleaning cemeteries and trail maintenance throughout the 133-acre park. Wear sturdy work shoes, bring gloves and remember sunscreen. Tools and snacks will be provided. For more information, call 703-366-3049

WILDERNESS

Activities here will include trash and debris pickup, raking leaves, painting, cleaning up pulloff and monument areas. Volunteers should meet at the Saunders Field shelter on the Wilderness Battlefield, on Rt 20 in Orange County at 9:00 a.m. Bring your own gloves and safety vests if you already own some. For more information, visit http://www.fowb.org

 


 

This 18th annual Park Day volunteer event, which takes place at more than 98 historic sites nationwide, is sponsored by the Civil War Trust, HistoryTM and Take Pride in America. For a full list of locations, visit http://www.civilwar.org/aboutus/events/park-day/

Explore Women’s History Month in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground



As Women’s History Month is celebrated each March, one region in the country is highlighting the significant contributions women have made throughout the nation’s history and encouraging individuals to visit specific sites to learn more.  The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, known as the region Where America Happened™, contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential sites, 13 National Park units, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

This 180-mile long, 75-mile wide swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, contains a rich collection of sites that chronicle important contributions women have made throughout history.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you decide to Take the Journey™.

Photo by Destination Gettysburg

Statue of Elizabeth Thorn. Photo by Destination Gettysburg

While most envision men and boys marching the battlefield in Gettysburg, PA, many of the town’s heroes are actually women. After the epic battle in 1863, women were often the only ones to tend to the wounded and take charge in cleaning up the town. One such woman is Elizabeth Thorn. Her husband Peter was the caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, and was off fighting in another part of the country. At the urging of the community, Elizabeth who was six months pregnant and the mother of three children, dug over one hundred graves in the rocky soil in the extreme July heat.  Today, a statue of Elizabeth Thorn stands outside the cemetery gatehouse as part of the Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial.  For more information, visit www.gettysburg.travel.

Continuing down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should stop by the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, MD.  This site promotes the life and legacy of the Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, the first native-born saint from the United States.  Seton, who lived, worked, died, and is now buried here, founded the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s.  Her enduring legacy now includes hundreds of schools, social service centers, and hospitals throughout the world.  She was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975 in St. Peter’s Square.  Check out www.setonheritage.org for additional details.

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Clara Barton Memorial at Antietam

Near Sharpsburg, Maryland, a monument stands at Antietam National Battlefield to Clara Barton, one of the most honored women in American History.  Known as the “Angel of the Battlefield,” Barton brought supplies and nursing aid to the wounded at several Civil War battle sites, including Antietam, Cedar Mountain, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Harpers Ferry, and others.  She later founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years.  For more information, visit www.nps.gov/anti.

First Ladies also left their mark within the region.  Jackie Kennedy’s style and grace epitomized Loudoun County’s horse country and its capital, Middleburg.  In the early 1960s, the Kennedy’s used Middleburg as an escape from Washington by leasing, and then building, their own country retreat.  In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox-hunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments the First Lady patronized, and the town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to Jackie.  For more great places to visit in the area, check out www.visitloudoun.org.

Edna Lewis, born in Freetown, Virginia, inspired a generation of young African American chefs and ensured traditional Southern foods and preparations would live forever.  Before her culinary journey began, Lewis found work as a seamstress and copied Christian Dior dresses for Dorcas Avedon.  She made a dress for Marilyn Monroe and became well known for her African-inspired dresses.  Eventually, Lewis opened up Café Nicholson, a restaurant located in Manhattan’s East Side. She became a local legend and cooked for many celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Tennessee Williams, Greta Garbo, Howard Hughes, Salvador Dali, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman Capote.  Known for her simple, but delicious Southern cooking, Lewis authored three seminal cookbooks and is lauded as one of the great women of American cooking. A new food festival, created in 2012, recognizes the culinary contributions the Orange County native has made.  Details can be found at www.ediblefest.com.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

And finally, visitors should also make a point to stop at Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia.  This home of President James Monroe, and his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, served as the official residence of the former first family from 1799 to 1823.  Here, they regularly welcomed friends, neighbors, dignitaries, and other visitors with warm hospitality.  To learn more, visit www.ashlawnhighland.org.

There are many other historic sites pertaining to notable women within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.  Maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org or by calling 540-882-4929.

ADDENDUM:  For a wonderful and in-depth story about Elizabeth Thorn, check out Kate Kelly’s piece at http://americacomesalive.com/2014/03/12/elizabeth-thorn-1832-1907-six-months-pregnant-burying-dead-gettysburg/#.VQc7ZDmD5bw

Experiencing Presidents’ Day In The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area



For some residents, Presidents’ Day is a recognized federal holiday, a day off of school or work. I can recall honoring the actual birthdays of President George Washington (Feb. 22) and President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12). But the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 moved the holiday to the third Monday in February and is intended to celebrate all those that have served as our nation’s top leader. Whether you have the day off or not, this is a great opportunity to connect with our shared American heritage. Right here in our region, there is a rich collection of presidential history. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, a 180-mile swath of land that stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia, is known as the region Where America Happened™. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains more history than any other in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 historic main street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 and the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

Of course there are the traditional places where Washington slept, but many other presidents visited or lived within this historic region. For example, Gettysburg, PA, primarily known for the battle that took place there in 1863, is also home to the Eisenhower National Historic Site. The former home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower served the President as a weekend retreat and a meeting place for world leaders. With its peaceful setting and view of South Mountain, it was a much-needed respite from Washington and a backdrop for efforts to reduce Cold War tensions. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/eise.

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Nearby, tucked away in the Catoctin Mountain region of Maryland sits the presidential retreat known as Camp David. Essentially, every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has traversed to this retreat site while they were in office. Although it is closed off to visitors, individuals can visit Catoctin Mountain Park, where there is some interpretation of Shangri-La and its predecessor available at the Visitors Center. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/cato/index.htm.

Traveling down Route 15, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, visitors should also stop in Middleburg, Virginia. Considered the capital of Loudoun County’s horse country, President John F. and Mrs. Jackie Kennedy leased and then purchased a place in the quaint town as their own country retreat. In the 1990s, Jackie Kennedy Onassis often returned to spend fox-hunting weekends in the Middleburg countryside, which was filled with happy memories from her time as First Lady. Today, visitors can see memorabilia at the Red Fox Inn and other establishments visited by the first family. The town’s public pavilion and garden are dedicated to her. A great website to check out is www.howardallenphotos.com.

Montpelier, located near Orange, VA, was the lifelong home of James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” and fourth President of the United States. The mansion core was built by Madison’s father circa 1760. The house has been newly restored to the way it looked when James and Dolley Madison returned from Washington in 1817, following Madison’s two terms as President. The 2,650-acre estate features the Madison mansion, 135 historic buildings, a steeplechase course, gardens, forests, the Gilmore Cabin, a farm, two galleries and an Education Center with permanent and changing exhibits, many archaeological sites and an Archaeology Laboratory. Information can be found at www.montpelier.org.

In Charlottesville sits Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States and noted architect and inventor. Jefferson began construction on his “little mountain” home in 1769 and, after remodeling and enlarging the house, finally finished 40 years later in 1809. For more information, visit www.monticello.org.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Jefferson’s friend and neighbor James Monroe owned Ash Lawn-Highland, along with his wife Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1793 to 1826 and their official residence from 1799 to 1823. Ash Lawn-Highland is an historic house museum and 535-acre working farm of the former U.S. President and Revolutionary War veteran. Check out www.ashlawnhighland.org for more details.

Also in the area is Pine Knott, the country retreat of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt and their children from 1905 to 1908 during his term as President. This rural retreat from the “city environment” of Washington, D.C. provided a sanctuary for the Roosevelt family where they could hike, observe birds and wildlife, hunt, ride and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The building had no plumbing, toilet, heat, or electricity or other facilities for the family, with a minimum of rustic comfortable furniture. For more information, check out http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/modern/pineknot.htm.

Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

In addition to the sites listed above, several other presidents visited towns and locations throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. For example, President Lincoln’s footsteps can be traced to several locations. After the Battle of Antietam, he visited the site to meet with Union generals as well as wounded soldiers. During that trip, he stopped in other places such as Harpers Ferry, WV and Frederick, MD, where he gave remarks to citizens gathered on the street. And a year later, he gave a short address in Gettysburg that would is recited today by many around the world. Travelers interested in getting the presidential experience will find maps, suggested itineraries, and other travel resources are available at www.hallowedground.org.

Preserving Battlefields within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground



While the Journey Through Hallowed Ground covers four centuries of American history, few eras are more densely represented within its boundaries than the Civil War. In fact, many of the conflict’s most iconic engagements occurred along the Journey, making the Civil War Trust an enthusiastic supporter of the partnership’s mission.

Tracing its origins to 1987, when a group of concerned historians met in Fredericksburg, VA, to discuss the loss of Northern Virginia battlefields to the expanding suburbs of Washington, D.C.,the Trust has grown to become the nation’s premier heritage land preservation organization. In total, the organization has permanently protected, either through outright purchase or strategic conservation easement, more than 40,000 acres of battlefield land at 122 sites in 20 states.

Chancellorsville (Shenk) 1499Examining the concentration of those achievements along the Journey corridor emphasizes the historic significance of this region in tangible terms. To date, the Trust has preserved land at 22 individual battlefields within the Journey, accounting for nearly one-third of all the land the organization has protected — 13,395 acres through December 15, 2014!

At the northern terminus of the Journey, 943 of those acres are at Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. In Maryland and West Virginia, we have saved 1,412 acres associated with the Antietam Campaign, which spurred Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

And in the rolling Virginia piedmont, we’ve saved a tremendous 1,901 acres associated with the largest cavalry battle ever fought in the western hemisphere, Brandy Station — including, with the Journey’s support, the crest of storied Fleetwood Hill. A full list of the Journey battlefields where the Civil War Trust has protected land is included below; the full tally is available at: www.civilwar.org/land-preservation/land-saved/

CWT2Even as we pause to contemplate the breadth of that involvement and accomplishment, it is important to remember what, even more than geography, ties these places together: the sacrifices and bravery of our ancestors. True to the Journey’s name, these battlefields are, indeed, hallowed ground, blood-soaked and perpetual.

A protected battlefield is not just an artifact of the past; it can be many things of value in our modern society, all of which play a role in the Journey’s larger mission. An outdoor classroom where students of all ages can touch an artifact, the landscape itself, that played a role it historic events — and provide a fantastic backdrop for “Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student” productions. An environmental resource, maintaining green space and providing habitats for native plants and animals. A powerful economic engine — ask any Certified Tourism Ambassador! — through the proven formula of heritage tourism.

But, perhaps, most importantly, these battlefields are living monument to the memory of America’s brave soldiers, past, present and future. Through their longevity, they are simultaneously a tangible link to the past and a bridge to future generations. In this same spirit, the Civil War Trust is an enthusiastic supporter of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground’s Living Legacy Project, a demonstrable showcase of the true toll the Civil War exacted on our nation, the more than 620,000 Americans who perished.

In 2015, we will mark the end of the Civil War sesquicentennial commemoration period, but the Trust’s commitment to preservation, and our partnership with the Journey Through Hallowed Ground will continue. In fact, we look forward to deepening our involvement in the region through the recently launched Campaign 1776, which will engage in parallel work — protecting battlefield land and educating the public about American history — related to the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

CWT1Battlefields in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground where the Civil War Trust has preserved acreage include:

Maryland Sites — 897.44 Acres

Antietam
Monocacy
South Mountain

Pennsylvania Sites — 943 Acres

Gettysburg

Virginia Sites — 10,458.17 Acres

Aldie
Ball’s Bluff
Brandy Station
Bristoe Station
Buckland
Cedar Mountain
Chancellorsville
Cool Spring
Fredericksburg
Kelly’s Ford
Manassas
Middleburg
Mine Run
Rappahannock Station
Spotsylvania Court House
Thoroughfare Gap
Trevilian Station
Upperville
Wilderness

West Virginia Sites — 658.8 Acres

Harpers Ferry
Shepherdstown

In The News In 2014



IMG_7961

As the year’s end approaches, it is an appropriate time to reflect on the past.  We are fortunate at the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area to have so many wonderful stakeholders: donors, volunteers, community partners, and the media. 

To recap 2014, we thought it would be good to share with you the work of our various programs and activities through the lens of the media.  We appreciate the willingness of the writers, reporters, and photographers who helped spread the word of our various work.  As a result, we have picked the Top 12 stories that best represent our diverse programs.

EXTREME JOURNEY SUMMER CAMP

1. Leesburg Today, August 7

http://www.leesburgtoday.com/news/extreme-journey-camp-brings-history-to-life/article_3e77d2e8-1827-11e4-a08f-0019bb2963f4.html

LIVING LEGACY TREE PLANTING PROJECT

2.  USA Today, November 13

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/11/13/tennessee-redbuds-to-memorialize-civil-war-soldiers/18988159/

3. Washington Post, July 10

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/a-living-tribute-to-civil-war-soldiers/2014/07/09/c29bb852-ff9d-11e3-8fd0-3a663dfa68ac_story.html

4. American Nurseryman, September issue

http://www.amerinursery-digital.com/sep2014#&pageSet=8&contentItem=0

5. Military Times, July 21

http://www.militarytimes.com/article/20140718/NEWS/307180063/620-000-trees-honor-fallen-Civil-War-soldiers

6. Civil War Courier, Jan. 1

http://www.civilwarcourier.com/?p=99887

NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA/TOURISM

7. Eastern Home & Travel, April issue

http://thejuncture.hallowedground.org/homeandtravel.pdf

8. AAA Motorist, October issue

http://thejuncture.hallowedground.org/AAA_Motorist.pdf

9. Southern Living, October 11

http://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/2014/10/11/the-journey-through-hallowed-ground/

10. Find it Frederick Magazine, Winter issue:

http://issuu.com/pulsepublishing/docs/fif_wint14_web/72?e=1941129/6176723

OF THE STUDENT, BY THE STUDENT, FOR THE STUDENT PROJECT

11. Daily Progress, May 29

http://www.dailyprogress.com/orangenews/lifestyles/of-the-student-by-the-student-for-the-student/article_71c1980c-e751-11e3-9ca5-0017a43b2370.html

CERTIFIED TOURISM AMBASSADOR PROGRAM

12. Frederick News Post, October 3

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/economy_and_business/business_topics/tourism/regional-tourism-gets-new-ambassadors/article_8b4dd9c6-eb33-58c1-8d2a-4c551ea2bd3c.html

This list represents local, regional, and national media coverage.  We look forward to more opportunities to share our message in 2015 and thank all our stakeholders for contributing to our success.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

National Teacher Seminar Scheduled in Middleburg



In collaboration with Ancestry, and its affiliates Fold3.com and AncestryK12.com, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is inviting teachers to participate in a professional development seminar on how to engage students in a service-learning program using primary source-based research.  This service-learning program introduces students to primary source documents as they examine fallen Civil War soldiers from their own communities. By learning about these men, history—both local and national—comes alive for the participating researchers. As they get to know “their” soldier, students make connections between their lives and those that came before them, ultimately allowing them to understand that this war impacted every single American.

Ancestry Senior Executive Brock Bierman and JTHG President Cate Magennis Wyatt sign a partnership agreement during a tree planting ceremony at Gettysburg National Military Park on November 19, 2013.

Ancestry Senior Executive Brock Bierman and JTHG President Cate Magennis Wyatt sign a partnership agreement during a tree planting ceremony at Gettysburg National Military Park on November 19, 2013.

Once completed, the research is used for the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Tree Planting Project, an initiative with the goal of planting one tree for each of the 620,000 fallen Civil War soldiers, becoming the first national memorial for the most defining time in our nation’s history.  Students around the country are already conducting research on the individual lives of these soldiers, which are then uploaded and shared through an online, interactive map. This map indentifies every tree planted through a geotag, which allows visitors the opportunity to learn the name and story of the young man for whom the tree is planted, with photos, diary entries, and letters home also shared.  To date, over 300 students in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont have collected information on over 800 soldiers. Additionally, over 5,000 facts, images, and stories have been uploaded to the Honor Wall pages hosted by Ancestry.com’s affiliate site, Fold3.com.

The Living Legacy Teacher Seminar will be held 10:00-4:00 p.m. on December 7-8 at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg.  This free, two-day professional development seminar is being offered to any educator interested in bringing this groundbreaking curriculum and service-learning project to their students. Throughout this program, participating educators will receive in-depth training in genealogy research as led byAncestry.com experts and participate in stimulating discussion on the role, value, and implementation of service-learning curriculum.  Participants will also be the first to see, and provide feedback, on a new curriculum being developed, known as Living Legacy Tree Planting Project: A Teacher’s Guide to Engaging Students with the National Civil War Memorial, which will connect the social sciences to language arts, STEM, and GIS (geographic information system) standards of learning.

Attending teachers will receive a $350 stipend in return for their time and to help defray any travel and accommodation expenses.  Lunch will also be provided both days.  In return, all participating educators must commit to incorporating portions of the Living Legacy curriculum into their classrooms before the end of the current school year.

Two other teacher seminars have been held to date, including one hosted at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, which brought teachers together with industry leaders such as the Virginia Geographic Alliance and ESRI.  A second teacher seminar was held at Manassas National Battlefield in partnership with Ancestry.com experts.  The goal of the third seminar, which is funded in part by a grant from Ancestry, is to identify and train 30 teachers that will be able to engage an additional 2,000 students across the country.

National Sporting Library & Museum, courtesy of Visit Loudoun

National Sporting Library & Museum, courtesy of Visit Loudoun

The National Sporting Library & Museum, located within the heart of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, is conveniently located 20 miles from Dulles International Airport in Middleburg, Va.  To learn more about the National Sporting Library & Museum, visit www.nsl.org.  Teachers interested in registering for the seminar can visit www.hallowedground.org.

Student Engagement with the Living Legacy Tree Planting Project



The Living Legacy Tree Planting Project is a massive undertaking that the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership launched in 2010. By planting one tree for each of the 620,000 fallen Civil War soldiers, we will be creating the first national memorial for the most defining time in our nation’s history. Though the planting of such a large number of trees is monumental in its own right, from my perspective the most looming aspect of this project includes our educational outreach initiatives.

From the outset, we knew that this memorial needed to honor each of the fallen as an individual—what better way to do that, we thought, than by encouraging students around the country to research the soldiers’ lives and share them with the world on an interactive map? Through a collaborative relationship with Ancestry.com and Fold3.com, we are working with youth as they use primary source documents to examine soldiers from their own communities. By learning about these men, history—both local and national—comes alive for the participating researchers. As they get to know “their” soldier, students make connections between their lives and those that came before them, ultimately allowing them to understand that this war impacted every single American.

This hands-on, student-driven approach to education has been proven to be one of the most effective and life-changing ways to teach. Students working on similar projects frequently see an increase in test scores, become more civically engaged as adults, and associate themselves as lifelong learners. To date, we have partnered with over 300 students in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Vermont in the gathering of information on nearly 800 soldiers. Additionally, over 5,000 facts, images, and stories have been uploaded to Honor Wall pages hosted by Ancestry.com’s affiliate site, Fold3.com.

IMG_8024

Thanks to a grant awarded by the Virginia Geographic Alliance, we were able to convene numerous teachers and professors from around the state, along with industry leaders like ESRI, to a summit last October hosted at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. During this meeting, we worked to identify some of the specific needs the education component of Living Legacy must address, including geo-literacy and introductory GIS-skills. Though many of the professors were skeptical about our intentions, they all commented on how impressive it was to hear that many teachers are already successfully incorporating GIS (geographic information systems) into their elementary classrooms. From this summit, the first batch of student researchers were born, many of whom attended our planting ceremony at the historic Bliss Farm in Gettysburg National Military Park to see “their” soldiers’ tree.

Following the teacher summit and successful round of initial student research, we teamed up with Ancestry.com and Fold3.com to offer a teacher professional development seminar in January 2014, led by Senior Directors Brock Bierman and Gordon Atkinson and Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow. During this daylong session, participants learned genealogy research best practices and ways to engage their students in Living Legacy soldier research.

IMG_2246Using these experiences as a launch pad, last week we were awarded funds from Ancestry.com to develop a standardized curriculum. Known as Living Legacy In a Box, this material will be designed specifically to connect primary source-based genealogy research and local history to other subject areas, such as geography, STEM, and the language arts. During the pilot stage of implementing Living Legacy In a Box, we aim to reach 30 teachers around the country, with a target of 2,000 student researchers. If you are interested in bringing this groundbreaking program to your school, let us know. It has been an incredible start to this amazing living memorial project and I am eager to bring it to more schools, more teachers, and more students over the next couple of months.

The 30th Anniversary of the National Heritage Area Program



Sunday, August 24th marked the 30th creation of the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor, which was signed into law by President Reagan in 1984.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

The National Heritage Area (NHA) Program serves as a public-private partnership for the stories that are too large, or perhaps too complicated, for the National Park Service to tell. Take The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area for example, which was created as the 38th Area in the country and signed into law by President Bush in 2008. Within this 180-mile swath of land, we can tell more stories than any single park would be able to by linking several parks and the surrounding communities together and filling in the gaps in interpretation with inclusive stories about those who have lived here and helped shape the American (and local) character. We can tell a large portion of the story of the Civil War, but we also link nine Presidential sites, portions of the Underground Railroad, and the house where the Marshall Plan was written, to name just a few. Each of these sites are important in their own right, but together, they create a rich fabric that helps visitors and locals alike understand the unique history of this region.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

The National Heritage Area designation is founded on two core principals – heritage tourism and education, both of which are essential to our organization’s mission. Through immersive, award-winning educational programs, we reach students of all ages to create future stewards of these national treasures. Through the Certified Tourism Ambassador Training program, we train frontline hospitality workers to turn ordinary visitor experiences into something truly extraordinary.

Although the federal budget for the NHA program has been cut over the years, it is obvious that this is still a program the public supports – it offers a solution to communities who see a need for preservation to work together and feel a sense of ownership over an important landscape. Each of the 49 National Heritage Areas currently in existence tells some portion of our American story, which is what the National Heritage Area program is all about: nationally significant large landscapes that are still living, breathing pieces of Americana.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

Photo by Kenneth Garrett. Copyright Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.

The 30 years since the first National Heritage Area was designated have given us a lot to be thankful for – most especially that these regions are receiving recognition and now have a hope of being preserved for our children, and our children’s children. As the budget cuts loom again and more NHA’s are being designated, it is also important to look at how we are growing as a group. It is clear the program still has a lot to do to ensure the models we are creating for the program today are sustainable for the National Heritage Areas of the future.

 

400 Years of History on One Tank of Gas



Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

With gas prices where they are, families may be wondering what to do this summer or where to travel. There is a place where travelers can get 400 years of unparalleled American history and heritage on a single tank of gas- that is the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. This 180 mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA includes nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, the largest single collection of Civil War sites in the nation, 30 historic Main Street communities to stay and dine in, many of the country’s best wineries and restaurants to enjoy, and to top it off, a National Scenic Byway with breadth taking landscapes, rivers and trails nearby to explore. And it’s all within a short drive from Washington, DC, Baltimore MD, Philadelphia, PA, Harrisburg, PA, and Richmond, VA.

Known as Where America Happened™, this region holds more American history than any other in the nation and can be enjoyed on just one tank of gas. As fuel prices rise and air travel becomes more unwieldy, now more than ever is the time to Take the Journey™ to discover some of the nation’s most picturesque landscapes and explore 400 years of American heritage.

Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Visitors can discover the stories of Abraham Lincoln and Gettysburg, PA; Civil Rights and Harpers Ferry, WV; historic downtowns like Frederick, MD and Leesburg, VA; the Iroquois Indians and the Potomac River; the inspiration of James Madison and the U.S. Constitution at Montpelier; the genius of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello; as well as locally grown foods, a perfectly aged barrel of Virginia grapes and so much more.

“There are few things that match the joy of discovery when exploring the unmatched history and heritage found in this spectacular National Heritage Area,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, president and founder of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. “The Sesquicentennial Commemorations of the American Civil war are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and make it the perfect time walk the battlefields; explore the exceptional historic downtowns; and taste the vibrancy of the farms and vineyards. It’s only by visiting these remarkable places, that the stories of the heroic men and women who lived here during the Civil War become real.”

Photos by Kenneth Garrett.  © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

Photos by Kenneth Garrett. © Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area contains the single largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation, including the beginning, middle and end of the Civil War. Sites include: Aldie, Antietam, Appomattox Court House, Ball’s Bluff, Brandy Station, Bristoe Station, Cedar Mountain, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, Kelly’s Ford, Manassas, Middleburg, Rappahannock Station, Spotsylvania Court House, Thoroughfare Gap, Upperville, Wilderness and many others. In fact, July 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Monocacy, near Frederick, Maryland. Plan your itinerary, request a map, and get more travel information at www.hallowedground.org.

Monocacy National Battlefield 150th Anniversary Celebration



Courtesy of the National Park Service

Courtesy of the National Park Service

This weekend Monocacy National Battlefield will kick off activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of “the battle that saved Washington.”  As the Civil War sesquicentennial enters its fourth summer of events, we are very excited to be on tap.  Along with two other National Park Service sites, Harpers Ferry National Historic Site and Fort Stevens, Monocacy will commemorate events associated with the third and final Confederate invasion of the north, which was undertaken with the ultimate goal of attacking the nation’s capitol and diverting Union attention and resources from the Richmond-Petersburg campaign.

For Monocacy, the sesquicentennial represents a unique opportunity.  It is the first big anniversary to arise since the park fully opened to the public in the early 1990s. As such, there is an extra level of excitement and anticipation among park staff and partners, who share a sense that this is more than a commemoration.  It is also an opportunity to throw open the gates and introduce the park to a large number of visitors, including what we hope will be many first time visitors.

As such, in addition to planning a wide variety of programs and events to be held on July 5-13, we have been working hard to improve trails, roads, signs, waysides, buildings and other infrastructure.  Because many of the programs are being offered for the first time and will introduce visitors to new stories and new areas of the park, we find ourselves collapsing what would normally be years of work into a matter of months.  In a short amount of time, the park and its partners have completed a remarkable number of improvements within and around the park.

Monocacy

Courtesy of the National Park Service

I started to compile a comprehensive list before realizing it would be ludicrously long.  Instead, I’ll mention the following highlights:

We have installed 22 new interpretive waysides throughout the park, most of which are located within newly constructed viewing platforms at key points of interest in the park. One of the waysides is located within a newly created vehicular pull-off, which now serves as an additional stop on the park’s auto tour.

We’ve installed a six rail fence along MD 355 in front of the park’s visitor center.  This fence recreates an historic fence line and helps to define the boundary of the battlefield to visitors and passing motorists.

Thanks to the efforts of a local Eagle Scout, visitors can now follow numbered wayfinding signs that clearly demarcate the park’s auto tour.

With the cooperation and assistance of the MD State Highway Administration, new road signs have been installed along MD 355 providing direction from the visitor center to different areas of the park.

On a larger scale, MD State Highways Administration worked closely with the Tourism Council of Frederick County to design and install new highway signs on I-70 and I-270 that provide, for the first time in the park’s history, a comprehensive network of signs directing motorists to the visitor center.  The value of this improvement cannot be overstated.

We have cleaned out the Thomas Barn, the basement of Worthington House, and the first floor of the Best House to accommodate new programs planned for the 150th.  After 20 years of preservation and rehabilitation work, these areas were understandably a mess.  Now that they are cleaned out, we hope to use them as regular program venues.

We improved access from the Best Farm to the NJ Monument to allow visitors to trace the path of advancing Confederate troops.  We also improved access from Gambrill Mill across Bush Creek to allow people to visit the Union rifle pits along the southeastern bluff of the Monocacy River.

We have opened up access to the entire Thomas Farm by removing fencing and vegetation that blocked views and access to the Thomas main house and tenant house.

All of these changes relate directly to new programs being developed for the 150th.  However, we expect they will continue to pay dividends well beyond the next two weeks by opening up new opportunities for visitors to experience the park.  We hope you can come join us for one or more of our sesquicentennial events.  If you do, please take note of some of the changes we’ve made.  We’d like people to recognize that even as we look back on 150 years of history, our gaze is trained on the extremely promising future of this young park.

For complete information on programs and events, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/mono/planyourvisit/monocacy-150.htm