By Carl Whitehill – The Gettysburg National Military Park is one of America’s most visited landmarks – bringing more than a million visitors annually. For most Americans, the battlefield is part of the same conversations as the Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty, Pearl Harbor and other historic sites.
But at the same time, as we celebrate the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, Gettysburg is often spoken alongside such National Park giants as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.
Gettysburg National Military Park not only tells the history of the battle and the soldiers who fought here, but has a history all its own – dating back to the very early days as the war came to a close to more modern developments and a continual effort to bring the battlefield back to its 1863 appearance.
It is the job of John Heiser, Historian at Gettysburg National Military Park, to record and interpret the history of the battlefield for generations to come. John has studied the development of the battlefield, from the very early days in the 1860s to today – everything from anniversaries to monuments to educating the masses who visit every year.
Destination Gettysburg sat down with John to get his perspective on the 15-decade history of Gettysburg National Military Park.