For more than 50 years, the Cyclorama building has sat on Cemetery Ridge at the heart of the historic Gettysburg battlefield.
“I was only 15 years old and I remember what a great building I thought it was,” recalled Hanover resident Stephen Manger.
But now fans of the building are fighting a new type of battle. A handful of people gathered on the battlefield Sunday to protest plans to tear it down.
“America has this habit of tearing down anything that’s old. I think we need to preserve not just our old history like here at the battlefield, but our current history,” said John Weidman, who helped organize the protest.
The building, which was once home to the 360-degree Cyclorama painting of Pickett’s Charge, is now a shell of its former self.
“Many people have worked for many years to save it. And the National Park Service has refused to listen,” said Susan Cabot, a historian who attended Sunday’s protest.
The National Park Service announced in January they’re planning to tear the building down this winter.
“I feel terrible about it. I think it’s a great travesty,” Cabot said.
A spokesperson from Gettysburg National Military Park issued a statement on the decision to demolish the building which reads in part: “In early January 2013, the National Park Service made the decision to demolish the Cyclorama building at Gettysburg in order to rehabilitate the battlefield.”
The National Park Service plans to restore the battlefield to what it looked like in 1863 once the building is torn down.