A 12-ton light-up map of the decisive moments of the Battle of Gettysburg that was saved from the scrap heap by a central Pennsylvania businessman who purchased it may be on display once again by the end of the month.
Owner Scott Roland told The (Hanover) Evening Sun that he hadn't anticipated that so much work would be required to allow display of the 50-year-old map, which for decades helped visitors understand the crucial 1863 Civil War battle.
He said asbestos had to be removed from the 30-by-30-foot plaster and steel map and he then found out that many of the 600 lights had broken pieces and the control system was missing.
Rather than pay $25 for each damaged light, Roland said he purchased a 3-D printer to make the necessary parts, and the printer will later be used to benefit art programs at Hanover Public School District.
Student volunteers from Harrisburg Area Community College's Gettysburg campus will work to complete the necessary electrical updates and controller programming over the next few weeks, and Rowland said he hopes all of the work can be finished by the end of the month.
“Students involved in this project will have an opportunity to enhance their understanding of course content and deepen their interest in the content, apply skills and concepts learned in class and develop relationships with business and community leaders that could lead to future employment opportunities,” campus vice president Shannon Harvey said.
Roland purchased the longtime fixture of the Gettysburg National Military Park at auction for $14,000 in September 2012 and put it in a Hanover building that he says will eventually serve as a conference and heritage center.
The National Park Service pulled the plug on the device in 2008 after opening a new park museum and visitor center, deciding it was “outdated as an interpretive device,” according to a park spokeswoman.
The map was created by Joseph Rosensteel, who grew up on the battlefield and whose family founded the park's original museum featuring artifacts his grandfather had collected days after the battle while helping to bury bodies. He researched troop movements and laid out topographic features such as roads, waterways and orchards before the first electric map show opened in 1938. The current map was constructed in 1963 out of plaster and concrete and the shows were performed in an auditorium built to house it for the battle's 100th anniversary commemoration.