Thursday, January 14, 2016

Old Antietam postcards show a much different battlefield park

 An early-20th century postcard of Burnside Bridge. The red structure, part of the old Spong 
farm, has long since been torn down. Note the monuments to the  51st Pennsylvania and New York
 regiments on the bridge. Each was moved a short distance away in the early 1960s.
Cows graze at Bloody Lane. The entrance to the old Roulette farm lane is near middle of  image. 
A seldom-seen view of Burnside Bridge and the surrounding terrain 
in an early 20th-century postcard.
A car crosses Burnside Bridge in circa-1920s postcard. The bridge was 
closed to vehicular traffic in 1966.
The 125th Pennsylvania and 34th New York monuments in the West Woods. The buildings
in the background and fence surrounding the 34th New York monument are long gone.
As these circa-1910s to 1940s postcards show, Antietam is a much different battlefield park today than it was for most of the 20th century. Among the many changes, park roads have been altered or expanded, parking lots have been added, old fences have been removed and a Visitors Center was built in 1962. Of course, the biggest, and best, change is the park expansion from a mere 40 acres in 1890 under the War Department to more than 3,000 acres under the administration of the National Park Service today. Enjoy these views, obtained on the cheap during an eBay spending spree, and compare them during your next visit to what the park looks like today. Click on each image for an expanded view.

A view of the old War Department observation tower overlooking Bloody Lane.
Cornfield Avenue looking toward the old Hagerstown Pike.
From left, the 124th Pennsylvania and Indiana and New Jersey state monuments. The road 
in the foreground is Starke Avenue. The car is parked on the old Hagerstown Pike.
The 130th Pennsylvania monument at Bloody Lane.
A roadster travels along a narrow road bordering Bloody Lane. This view was taken from the 
War Department Observation Tower that was built in 1897. The road has been greatly altered
 and a parking area long ago replaced a portion of the field in the left middle of the postcard.
The 100th and 45th Pennsylvania monuments. The road in the foreground no longer exists, 
although a trace of it may be seen today. The monuments are near Branch Avenue.
An iron gate once stood at the entrance of the old Philadelphia Brigade Park, part of the
 West Woods. For more on the park on my blog, click here.

1 comment:

  1. I was there tiday. I really like the one with the 45th PA....I've always wondered why they seemed a bit far from the road compared to others in the area.