Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse

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Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse
Front Evergreen Cemetery Gatehouse Gettysburg PA.jpg
General information
Typehistoric district contributing structure
Architectural styleItalianate
Location799 Baltimore Pike
CountryUnited States
Coordinates39°49′15″N 77°13′46″W / 39.82076°N 77.22935°W / 39.82076; -77.22935Coordinates: 39°49′15″N 77°13′46″W / 39.82076°N 77.22935°W / 39.82076; -77.22935
OpenedSeptember 1, 1855
Technical details
Design and construction
ArchitectStephen Decatur Button

Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse (1855) is a historic building located at 799 Baltimore Pike in Adams County, Pennsylvania. During the American Civil War, the gatehouse played an important role in the July 1 to 3, 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. It is a contributing structure in Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District.


Evergreen Cemetery[edit]

Rear of the gatehouse
Front of the gatehouse

Evergreen Cemetery occupies a hill just south of Gettysburg Borough, between Baltimore Pike and Tanneytown Road. The Ever Green Cemetery Association of Gettysburg was chartered in 1853.[1] It remains a private cemetery to this day.

Philadelphia architect Stephen Decatur Button designed the cemetery's gatehouse in mid-1855,[2] and its cornerstone was laid by Reverend Samuel Simon Schmucker on September 1.[3] Local masons George and Henry Chritzman constructed the brick building in less than 3 months,[2] at a cost of $1,025.[2] The gatehouse served as the cemetery's office, and as the residence of its caretaker.[4]

Battle of Gettysburg[edit]

Recognizing the enormous strategic advantage of the cemetery's high ground, Major-General Oliver Otis Howard lined his artillery along what came to be known as "Cemetery Hill," facing north and west. On the opposite side of Baltimore Pike, his artillery faced north and east. Howard made the cemetery's gatehouse into XI Corps (Union Army) headquarters, and occupied the building for all three days of the battle.[4]

On July 1, Gettysburg Borough was evacuated, and the telegraph key from Gettysburg Railroad Station was moved to near the gatehouse, to keep communications open. That night, Mrs. Peter Thorn, wife of the cemetery's caretaker, prepared a fine dinner for General Howard, General Sickles, and General Slocum.[4]

At dusk on July 2, 5 Louisiana regiments under Brigadier-General Harry T. Hays and 3 North Carolina regiments under Colonel Isaac E. Avery commenced the Battle of East Cemetery Hill, charging the Union artillery batteries from the east. Historian Frederick Hawthorne wrote of Howard's successful defense: “Lying in reserve in the Evergreen Cemetery, they (73rd Pennsylvania Infantry) rushed out through the cemetery gateway to help drive the Confederates away from Rickett’s and Weidrich’s batteries.”[5]


Evergreen Cemetery gatehouse survived the Battle of Gettysburg. Structural repairs were made to the building in 1885, when the "lodge" addition was built.[6]

In 1972, the "Evergreen Cemetery archway house" was designated an historic district contributing structure by the Gettysburg Borough Council[7] (1 of 38 outside of the borough).[8]

External images
1863 illustration (scroll up)
2005 photograph
August 2008 panorama


  1. ^ Beitel, Calvin Gustavus (1874). A Digest of Titles of Corporations Chartered by the Legislature… (Google books). J. Campbell & son. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
    For the Senate bill committed earlier, see "Ever Green Cemetery" (Google News Archive). The Adams Sentinel. February 6, 1854. Retrieved 2011-07-16. On Tuesday last, in the Senate of Pa., Mr. McClintock, from the Committee on Corporations, reported, as committed, the bill to incorporate the Ever Green Cemetery Association of Gettysburg
  2. ^ a b c Kennell, Brian A. "Gatehouse Miniatures". EvergreenCemetery.org. Retrieved 2011-10-12.
  3. ^ "Ever Green Cemetery," The Adams Sentinel and General Advertiser, September 3, 1855, page 1.
  4. ^ a b c "Gen. Howard's Best Supper: Back to Gettysburg to Thank Mrs. Thorn 39 Years Later" (Google News Archive). Easton Daily Free Press. September 25, 1902. Retrieved 2011-10-12. meal was eaten rather late on the night of July 1st, in the Evergreen Cemetery house,… which was the headquarters of General Howard from the evening of the first day's battle until the close, and was partaken of by…General Howard,…General Sickles and…General Slocum.
  5. ^ Hawthorne, Frederick W., Gettysburg: Stories of Men and Monuments, Hanover, Pennsylvania: The Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, 1988, p. 107.
  6. ^ "Cemetery" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler. June 30, 1885. Retrieved 2011-07-16. Dr. J. A. Swope, in his report as President of Evergreen Cemetery Association… The gateway is to be thoroughly repaired and a brick lodge built for the keeper and family.
  7. ^ "Historic Preservation". Borough of Gettysburg…historic crossroads. Borough Office. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2012-03-08. (1999 borough historic district map) Archived 2012-03-22 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "List 38 More Properties In Historic Area" (Google News Archive). The Gettysburg Times. April 15, 1972. Retrieved 2012-03-18.