Alaskans can help save Civil War sites

Posted: Monday, June 04, 2007

I wish to encourage your historically oriented readers to think about contributing to save Civil War sites. The Civil War Preservation Trust notes that suburban sprawl is destroying one acre of these sites every hour. Most recently, for example, the trust had to take out a $12 million loan to protect a key portion of the Fredericksburg Battlefield in Virginia.

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As someone who thoroughly enjoyed hiking the 32-mile Chilkoot Trail ("the longest museum in the world"), an important site of the Klondike gold rush, I know how valuable historic sites are. Anchorage bulldozed some of its sites when I lived there, and there is no going back to recover them. We must go forward to save what we still have.

Visiting historic sites helps stimulate interest in history for students and adults alike. Yet a consortium of investors wanted to build a casino gambling complex at Gettysburg, and developers illegally dug up parts of Harpers Ferry to lay water and sewer pipes to a planned housing development.

For more information on saving the 208-acre "Slaughter Pen" farm at Fredericksburg, contact the Civil War Preservation Trust at

Museums help interpret important sites. A museum and visitor center are being built at Gettysburg in Pennsylvania without any federal construction funding or maintenance funding. The museum will preserve more than 738,000 Civil War artifacts and archival items. Both the visitor center and museum will have interactive exhibits. For details about contributing to this place, which logged 51,112 casualties in the Civil War, get in touch with The Gettysburg Foundation, Box 3997, Gettysburg, PA 17325.

Ann Chandonnet

Vale, N.C.

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