Carl Whitehill Carl Whitehill

Remembering the battlefields

Anyone keen to visit some of the most significant sites in US history as the nation prepares to celebrate the 250th anniversary of its founding in 2026 is likely to have a small Pennsylvania town of 7,000 people on its list.

Carl Whitehill, communications director of Destination Gettysburg, says being the location of the biggest battle in the Civil War as well as Lincoln’s famous speech to bring the nation back together, means it was the site of what many people would put in the top five occurrences in the country’s past.

‘Add our proximity to Washington DC and Philadelphia and you have the most powerful triangle in American history that you can find,’ says Whitehill.

He says that visiting the warfields and seeing re-enactments of battles is a major drawcard but the town is adding new attractions that look further than the fighting.

‘A new museum, Beyond the Battle, opened six weeks ago. It tells the civilian story – what was it like for the women and children when 170,000 soldiers turned up to wage the biggest battle of the times?’

He says visitors can stay in historic homes and buildings that have been turned into B&Bs, historic hotels or other forms of lodging.

The modern Gettysburg is also promoting its agricultural surroundings, the emergence of wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries, and its growing cultural and arts scene.

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