New Gettysburg Eyesore

Discussion in 'Civil War' started by Kate, Aug 7, 2014.

  1. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Oh I am not going to be happy next week! I always love going to Gettysburg but this time, there's going to be a new "attraction" that wasn't there in June when I was there. A huge hot air balloon right smack dab in the center of town. Gettysburg is not a theme park... I mean get real!

    Most people agree with me. Jeff Shaara agrees with me. After they finally got rid of that hideous tower a decade or so ago, what made anyone think *this* was a good idea? :(

    Well... I will voice my thoughts on it to the proper people while in town for sure! Problem is that it's not (of course! They'd never EVER do this tacky thing!) the NPS. It's a private venture, unfortunately.

    The NPS and other groups have been working at putting the battlefield back to it's look in 1863. They've done so much toward that goal! It amazes me every time I go (often!) to see the new things that are being done. And now *this* thing sitting there. Oh my.

    Here's the thing.... if you need to give balloon rides of the battlefield, tether that sucker OUTSIDE of town somewhere and drift in. I wouldn't mind seeing it drifting overhead when someone hires it. But this one is just going to sit there and rise up to see the field if anyone wants to spend their money to do that. Right in the center of town. Oy! There are, by the way, a number of remaining observation decks, high ground, the Round Tops, etc. from which to see the field, so the "excuse" is flimsy at best.

    I'm afraid my first glance of it next week is going to remind me of driving into EPCOT. :mad: What's next... elephant rides and cotton candy?
  2. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Well... I'm back from Gettysburg. Update on this issue. It took a long time to convince myself that it couldn't possibly be as bad as I feared. It was.

    Coming into town, I assumed it would be unobtrusive and at least not noticeable until you were right on top of it. I was wrong.

    I thought you couldn't see it from other places on the battlefield unless it was actually up in the air for its "carnival ride." Ooops, wrong again. :(

    At other places on the field, buildings are coming down to return the field to its 1863 appearance... it's looking great! A hotel and restaurant were recently bought so that they could be torn down to restore the battlefield. The are located right by General Lee's headquarters.

    Making the battlefield look like it did for those thousands of soldiers in 1863... beautiful. Hot air carnival-like monstrosity... UNacceptable. My.

    Oh, side note... I have heard that not many people at all are in favor of this "joke" so hopefully people won't fund them by paying. I did get nosy and check out the deets so I could "report" on it... yep, you go up in the air for a few minutes... twenty bucks. Take a family of five on the carnival ride for a few minutes and shell out a hundred bucks. If it wouldn't be so ugly, I might laugh!
  3. Rockhem

    Rockhem Member

    I think that they should remove the hot air balloon. I don't think Gettysburg is some kind of theme park, they need to maybe restore it to how it was when it was 1863, that could be interesting. But, having a massive hot air balloon in the middle of town is just unacceptable. I hope that a petition or something similar gets started to get this balloon removed, but I'm not sure that would work.
  4. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Most people share those thoughts, @Rockhem , yes. I'll be there again in five weeks and then I'll see if anything has changed. I'm thinking that hideous monstrosity will still be here ruining the feel of town, but we'll see.

    Park service can't do anything about it because it's a private business. Well maybe they could buy the land and deflate that thing... but I won't hold my breath. :D
  5. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    It's really strange. Many hitorical places have a commission to govern what can and what cannot happen. New Orleans has the French Quarter Commission, for example. Even if you own a building in the French Quarter you cannot paint, fix, or do any kind of construction to said building until you have passed the project under the commissions scrutiny. I would think that Gettysburg would have as strict of a governing body as the example I gave.
  6. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    They do, @preacherbob50 ... it's mostly park service land and they've been doing a GREAT job putting things back to the way they looked in 1863. Problem is that where they had that monstrosity, isn't NPS owned, so the independent balloon company put it up outside of their approval.

    But the people spoke and two days ago, I couldn't resist walking right by that huge newly-built wooden platform for the balloon... the platform that is now blissfully EMPTY!!! :) Good riddance, monstrosity... maybe Disney needs a new theme park ride... drift south to Orlando.
  7. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    Undoubtedly they heard you were coming to town Kate. Now that you are back, you had best keep your eyes on the platform and let them know that you are watching. You never know, they may try to put up a fun house or even a snoopy bi-plane.
  8. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    Did you take any pictures of it? I'm kind of curious what it looks like.
  9. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    My daughter got one from the street when we were there in August, @Peter T Davis ... certainly not the best representation of what it looked like when it was "down" and not floating, but it's all I have, so I'll paste. :eek:


    This was very close to where the soldiers came across the open field for the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge... it's (or was, but the platform is still there) in the parking lot of the museum that was until recently the Civil War Wax Museum.
  10. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Administrator Moderator

    I think you were trying to load the picture from your email, and the only one that would be able to see it is you. You'd need to download it then upload it to the thread to get it so we can all see it.
  11. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Well pooh! I'll try again... but since I see it right there in my other post, I won't know if this time will work either. Wait, does that mean that none of those posts I made over the last weeks (months?) with pictures that had "w/photo" in the subject line didn't work either? No one ever mentioned it, so I'm not sure. Anyhow, trying again.

  12. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    I dunno Kate. When you wrote about the balloon, I know I made a little joke about what would replace it, but something has been nagging me and I finally figured it out.
    Hot air balloons were being used during the civil war. 1862-1863 were the main dates that the Lowe design was used. Apparently they were used by both sides but the north had the more sturdy design. The 7 days campaign in 1862 around Richmond was supposed to be an epic time for war balloons. Now, to the point, Gettysburg apparently did have a balloon that was a communications platform for the north Do not even think I am trying to be a civil war battle buff, because I'm nothing of the kind. I know quite a bit about the political and economical apects but that's about it

    I guess what I am trying to get at is maybe the balloon thing took folks up for a look see, but balloons do have a history in the Battle of Gettysburg. I will gladly accept a kick in the rear without even a whimper if I am incorrect.
  13. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Hot air balloons were definitely in existence during the Civil War, and sometimes used, especially in a couple of the campaigns in 1862. I haven't heard anything about Gettysburg specifically, but if any were used, it would have been to check troop movement and not just floating over the field.

    That's why I chose to call this an eyesore and not an inaccuracy. Within recent years, an eyesore observation tower was taken down with dynamite to make the battlefield more authentic. Very recently they removed the entire Cyclorama building (which I happened to like) for the same reason. The old visitor center and parking lot directly across from the balloon platform were taken out and the landscape planted to be authentic 1863... an entire hotel complex and restaurant were bought this year so that they can be taken down and allow Lee's Headquarters to look as it did in 1863.

    To have a circus-like platform and "$20 for 8 minutes in the air" right in town like that... no, not good. There would have been so many places OFF the battlefield that they could have set this up.. might have been kind of neat, but the location that was chosen had most locals in an uproar... unfortunate choice.
  14. preacherbob50

    preacherbob50 Active Member

    I see I came on a little late today! Nada. Oh well, just me, the forum, and a lot to read.
    Thanks for the heads up Kate. I just thought that maybe the motive for the balloon was for some un-announced historical purpose. I do try to give the benefit of the doubt as often as I can. $20 for 8 huh? Well, that does tear it! If it were really historical they would be charging a nickle for a day. Where has realism gone? By the looks of that picture, it looks like an antenna array pointed at it. Did they shoot it down with a martian ray blast?
    I digress. I looked on the web for the "monstronsity" and it did say that the balloon was from that era. Maybe they moved it to Richmond.
  15. DancingLady

    DancingLady Member

    Why a hot air balloon? Something sounds very disrespectful to me. I mean, so many people died here, I don't think that it should be a place to go have fun, that's just not right. Maybe other people feel differently than me.
  16. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Why? I can't really think of a reason except the almighty dollar. The park service didn't have any say over it... it was a private citizen thing. Certainly wasn't for education because there are many wonderful tours that tell visitors the story of the battle.

    Some said (thank goodness it's just a memory now!) a view from the air gives a different perspective. Yes, it does, but there are helicopter tours that do the same thing and are NOT intrusive or an eyesore or ever-present.
  17. I have not been to Gettysburg (yet) but I have talked to people that have. Many say that it is pretty boring. They say that is just an open field with nothing much to look at. I realize the experience is more about the historical value. It is about trying to feel what it was like to be there when it happened. But not everyone goes there for that. I think attractions are a good idea as long as the original idea is not lost.
  18. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    Wow, I don't even know what to say to that. Never heard anyone make a statement like that EVER and I've been going there often for more than 20 years. Boring? Uh... Hmmm... Kate speechless, new occurrence, mark it on the calendar.

    It would take days to see the well over a thousand monuments and hundreds of cannons. Well... yeah, that's all I can think of to say but boring? Were these like kids on a field trip or something? Maybe someone like that would think it boring, but any adult making the trip I'd think would have researched first to see what all's available and if they don't like history, not sure why on earth they'd choose Gettysburg.

    Maybe they got it mixed up with Antietam? That's way small compared to G'burg and not even a hotel in sight.
  19. No, this was an educated person that went on an adult tour. Not everyone is transfixed by a place that once was a battlefield. I personally am enthralled with Abraham Lincoln, and going to a place that I could see his personal belongings and where he worked would be much more interesting to me than an open field. I do want to see Gettysburg, but it wouldn't be something I would drive a 1,000 miles for. It is a detour on an upcoming trip, but I will still value it for what it is.
  20. Kate

    Kate Active Member

    The point I was trying to make is that there are so many other things to do in the area and within 30 miles (including a bajillion things in the capital city, Harrisburg, it would be hard to understand how anyone could get bored. Nothing to do with "once a battlefield" but rather the area we were discussing.

    Now an organized tour, yeah, I can see that... that's why I stopped doing those years ago. I only ever chose those I knew I'd enjoy, though, so being bored was never a problem.

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