Doors Open Gettysburg

Saturday, May 7, 2016 was Doors Open Gettysburg day at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Map here.

Seven places normally closed to the public were open for viewing.


I started off at the Josiah Benner Farm. This, of course, was where Francis Barlow was taken after his wounding.

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Several artillery shells struck the house during the battle. The Park Service has just begun the restoration process for the house, so many of the modern conveniences a family living there recently would have are still in the house. The Park Service will restore it to what it looked like in 1863.

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Next up was the Blocher House. The Blocher Family is the family for whom Blocher’s Knoll, later known as Barlow’s Knoll, was named. The Park Service is also in the process of restoring this house.

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Next I visited the Armory and the Cannon Repair Shop. A group of WWII reenactors was at the Armory, since it’s not a Civil War building and was actually part of the World War II POW camp. They even had someone portraying a German POW.


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Next I visited the John Slyder Farm’s barn and blacksmith shop. Slyder was a bit unusual in that he was a skilled blacksmith and carpenter as well as a farmer. Most farmers didn’t have the blacksmith skill set. This was a really good stop.

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The Klingle Farm was next on the list. A park employee lives in the house, so there wasn’t much to photograph inside, but it was nice to go through the living room and get an idea of the small size of the rooms.

Also open today were the Abraham Brian House and the Lydia Leister House, which was General Meade’s headquarters during the battle.

This was a pretty good day. It was really neat to get inside these buildings, which are normally closed to the public.



  1. Shoshana Bee · · Reply

    Thank you for putting up the pictures so fast! There was sure a lot to see. I particularly like wood floors and the rockwork walls. The old building out west tend to use wide planking for the floors, so it is interesting to see the narrow planks on these floors (either original or reproduced over time?)

    Have you had a chance to take a peek at the restoration project of Lee’s Headquarters whilst in town?

    1. I bypassed that part of Chambersburg Road.

  2. bob carey · · Reply

    I’m in a state of envy. I wanted to take a ride down this weekend but family commitments wouldn’t permit. Great photos.

  3. Is the “Doors Open” event periodically scheduled; by invitation only; or just blind luck of being in the right place at the right time?

    1. This was the first year they had so many opened. Last year they had a couple opened, but this is the first year they actually had a name for it and advertised with maps. It was on the website, and the Gettysburg Foundation mailed out information on it to all those who were members of the Friends of the Gettysburg Foundation.

  4. Mr. Mackey, the image “100_8386.jpg”. The red processing machine with the scoop. Do you know what it is?

    When I worked at the Chattanooga Regional History Museum, if I remember correctly, we had the same piece. But, no one knew for sure what it was. Some people said it was some kind of huller.

    1. I’m not sure, but it has what looks like sifting screens, making me think it’s something to do with wheat, perhaps a small mill for wheat.

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