Gettysburg Railroad Station

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Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station
Current Railroad Station.jpg
The c. 1858 Italianate depot with arched windows, cornice moldings, and a low-pitched roof with eaves (the 1-story addition was in 1886,[1]:20).
Other names Gettysburg Train Station
Lincoln Train Station
Western Maryland Railroad Station
Location 35 Carlisle Street
Gettysburg, PA
United States
Coordinates 39°49′55.232″N 77°13′51.46″W / 39.83200889°N 77.2309611°W / 39.83200889; -77.2309611Coordinates: 39°49′55.232″N 77°13′51.46″W / 39.83200889°N 77.2309611°W / 39.83200889; -77.2309611
Owned by Gettysburg National Military Park
Operated by Gettysburg Foundation
Platforms 1
Tracks 1
Structure type At-grade
Bicycle facilities Yes
Disabled access Yes
Opened May 1858 (1858-05)
Closed December 31, 1942 (1942-12-31)
Key dates
1863-1865 Service is interrupted at the station as the Confederate Army made its way north and engages the Union Army during the Gettysburg Campaign. Service is only restored following repairs to the rail lines and bridges.
Gettysburg Train Station
Location Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Built c.1858
Restored 2009 (2009)
Restored by Gettysburg Foundation
Part of Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District (#75000155)
MPS Battle of Gettysburg MPS[2]
Designated CP March 19, 1975 (1975-03-19)

The Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station, also known as the "Gettysburg Train Station," "Lincoln Train Station" or "Western Maryland Railroad Station,"[3] is a historic train station with depot, platform, museum and offices on Carlisle Street in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Operable from 1858 to 1942, it contributes to the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District[4] and is most notable as President Abraham Lincoln's point of arrival on November 18, 1863 and departure, following delivery of the Gettysburg Address).[5] The station served as both a hospital during the battle and hub for outgoing wounded soldiers and incoming resources and supplies following the end of the war.[6] On 2015, following several years of delays, the station, which was originally owned by the Borough of Gettysburg but was bought by the Gettysburg Foundation, the non-profit partner to the National Park Service, was placed the purview of the National Park Service.[7]


After an uncompleted 1830s plan for a railroad through Gettysburg,[8] on December 1, 1858, the Gettysburg Railroad line was completed from the east to Gettysburg with a reception for railroad dignitaries held several days later at "a large and recently furnished building near the depot"[9] (the depot was being built on 0.4 acres (0.16 ha)[1]:9–10 purchased from George W McClellan in the summer).[10] The Gettysburg Railroad Company had contracted for Passenger Depot construction on September 18, 1858[11] for "the Corner of Carlisle and Railroad street"; and on January 10, 1859, the stockholders resolved to hold their future meetings "in the office [of] their Passenger Depot".[10]

Depot configuration and reversing the train

The completed depot had two 1st floor waiting rooms (for men and for women & children) and, via a spiral staircase on the eastern side, a large open room on the 2nd floor. The ticket booth/office was a small structure attached to the southeast part of the station.[1]:10 After an 1886 expansion, the original 2-room headhouse became the men's waiting room and was separated from the women's room in the new space by a long hallway.[1]:20
Until the tracks were extended west of Gettysburg, trains reversed near the station to return eastward:

  1. Arriving westbound on the main line, an engine with passenger car switched onto a siding and stopped along a long loading platform behind the depot where passengers detrained.
  2. The engine backed the car from the 1st siding onto a 2nd siding[where?] where the car was disconnected.
  3. The engine then switched back onto the main line[clarification needed] (the engine was reversed).
  4. The passenger car was rolled back onto the 1st siding[clarification needed] along the platform for loading.
  5. The engine backed onto the 1st siding, connected to the loaded car's opposite end, and headed east.[1]:10

American Civil War[edit]

Train service to the depot was stopped when Jubal Early's Confederates burned the Rock Creek trestle on June 27, 1863.[12] The station was undamaged during the battle and returned to service in 1865 following the end of evacuation of the wounded or dead and repairs to the lines.

The station was used as a hospital, and soldiers used the station's cupola during the battle.[13] A station east of the borough was established for Camp Letterman before rail traffic was restored to the depot on July 10,[14] and by the end of July, nearly 15,000 wounded troops had passed through the station[1]:15 via the twice-daily trains.[15] A medical inspector of the Army arrived on July 8 and used the depot while "in immediate charge of the transportation of the wounded".[16]

Heroine of the station[edit]

As the Confederate forces approached the town the depot's telegrapher, the adopted young daughter of a "Mr. (Brown) Lee in Washington county, [sic] Pa.", evacuated the station on the at the beginning of the battle and "took the machine from the operating table [and] connected the wires so as to preserve the circuit intact and carried the instrument to Cemetery Hill" where, after instructing soldiers how to connect to the wires (e.g., along the Baltimore Pike), she used the key to relay Union Army information. The girl remained during the duration of the battle, even when the soldiers around her were felled by bullets and shells. Following the end of the battle, she packed up the machine and returned to the station to resume her work. Her name was unknown during and after the battle and news article 30 years later attempted to identify the young girl.[17]

Gettysburg Address[edit]

For the consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg[18] on November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln arrived at 6:00 p.m. on the 18th and departed 24 hours later, having delivered the Gettysburg Address[1].


Commercial telegraph service in the depot began in 1866,[verification needed] (L. D. Plank replaced Charles T. Rose as the 1902 Western Union Telegraph operator in the "W. U. office")[19] and the station's railroad line became part of the successor lines: Susquehanna, Gettysburg and Potomac Railway (1870), Hanover Junction, Hanover and Gettysburg Railroad (1874), Baltimore and Harrisburg Railway (1885), and Western Maryland Railroad (1917). The last passenger train departed the depot at 4:00 p.m. on December 31, 1942, when the depot's passenger service was discontinued.[2] (scheduled Reading passenger service had ended in 1941).[3] The depot was used until 1948 for administration of freight trains and telegraphy.[1]:23 On April 1, 1955, Western Maryland leased the building to the Gettysburg Travel Council (CSX Transportation owned the station in 1987).[1]:25–6


Following a 1996 meeting regarding the station's condition[citation needed] (the station was near collapse),[20] renovation was funded. The Borough of Gettysburg acquired the property on May 6, 1998; the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors' Bureau vacated the depot in 2002; and renovation began in January 2005 (completed 2006).[1]:27–31 The Pennsylvania Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission was "pivotal in the grand re-opening of the Historic Gettysburg Train Station"[4] on the 2006 anniversary of Lincoln's arrival. The borough approved a 2007 2nd floor lease for the Gettysburg International Arts Festival,[5] and the station has been operated by the National Trust for Historic Gettysburg since 2008.[6] In 2010, H.R. 4395 by Todd Platts failed in the US Senate for allowing Gettysburg National Military Park acquisition of the depot.[7][21]

Gettysburg railroad museum[edit]

Not to be confused with the Lincoln Train Museum

The depot's first floor is a museum with an information counter and is open daily (free) to the public. The museum contains models, diagrams, exhibits, and artifacts which were found during the renovation of the station.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bennett, Gerald (2006) [1999]. The Gettysburg Railroad Station: A Brief History. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: Gettysburg Railroad Station Restoration Project. 
  2. ^ "Adams County, PA Properties Associated with the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places - Multiple Property Documentation Form. National Park Service. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station". Destination Gettysburg. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  4. ^ 111th Congress, 2nd Session (27 September 2010). "BOUNDARY REVISION OF THE GETTYSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK". Senate Report 111-330. U.S. Government Publishing Office. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Fortenbaugh, Robert (2006). Lincoln And Gettysburg: The Story Of Abraham Lincoln's Immortal Address At Gettysburg. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing. pp. 11–16. ISBN 9781428662186. 
  6. ^ Frost, Herbert. "Statement on Senate Bill 1897 before the Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee". Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Walters, Mark (12 December 2014). "Gettysburg park to include Lincoln Train Station". The Morning Call. The Evening Sun. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  8. ^ "Map and profile of the Gettysburg Rail Road as surveyed by order of the legislature of Pennsylvania, 1839". Library of Congress. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  9. ^ "Opening of Gettysburg Railroad". Baltimore American and Commercial Advertiser. 18 December 1858. p. 1. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  10. ^ a b "Railroad Report: To The Stockholders of the Gettysburg Railroad Company". The Adams Centinel (11). 17 January 1859. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "Railroad Buildings". The Adams Centinel (46). 5th column, first paragraph. 20 September 1858. p. 2. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  12. ^ Syd Lieberman. "Sarah Broadhead - Saturday, June 27, 1863". Voices of Gettysburg. Archived from the original on 1 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  13. ^ "Gettysburg Railroad Station". OpenBuildings. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  14. ^ "GETTYSBURG IN THE CIVIL WAR: 1861 to 1865". A Brief History of Gettysburg. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Historic Railroad Station at Gettysburg". Historical Travel. Archived from the original on 11 July 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  16. ^ Kingseed, Cole C. (2004). The American Civil War. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 145–147. ISBN 9780313316388. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  17. ^ Mary Dye (16 December 1890). "The Heroine of a Telegraphic Story of the Battle of Gettysburg". Washington Daily Reporter (48). Washington, PA. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  18. ^ Lincoln, Abraham (date tbd). expenses in attending the consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg (Report). Washington, D. C. (White House).  Check date values in: |date= (help) (cited by Klement p. 267)
  19. ^ "Miscellaneous" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler. May 20, 1902. Retrieved 2011-07-28. The jury appointed to fix a value on the four tracts of land in Cumberland township belonging to Mrs. Mary A. Pfeffer, will meet in the Court-house to-morrow afternoon at 1.30 o'clock to hear testimony. 
  20. ^ unnamed architectural survey (Report). tbd firm. date tbd.  Check date values in: |date= (help) (cited by Bennett p. ~28)
  21. ^ Pitzer, Scot Andrew (2009-12-18). "Platts introduces law to include Railroad Station in park boundary". Gettysburg Times.