John H. Sprinkle, Jr. Joins the Society on Feb 6, 2015, to Discuss Battlefield Preservation After the War is Over: The Stewardship of Civil War Battlefields.
In the mid-1940s Ronald F. Lee, the National Park Service’s Chief Historian, was dispatched to Appomattox, Virginia to dissuade some local citizens who were eagerly supporting the proposed reconstruction of the McLean House, where General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant in 1865. Installing such “fabrications” on historic battlefields were contrary to established NPS policy regarding the stewardship of these properties and it was Lee’s job to convince the local boosters, who were “all wild on restorations,” that his agency could not support-despite substantial architectural documentation–the reconstruction of the vanished building. The so-called “second defeat of Lee at Appomattox,” is just one example of the diverse challenges that impact the preservation, interpretation and management of historic properties associated with the Civil War.
Since the early 1930s battlefield preservation has had a central place in the story of the National Park Service and its partners. This presentation will survey the story of battlefield preservation as it relates to “the late unpleasantness.”
John H. Sprinkle, Jr. serves as the Bureau Historian for the National Park Service in Washington, DC. With a quarter century of experience in the field, he is the author of Crafting Preservation Criteria: The National Register of Historic Places and American Historic Preservation.
Dr. Sprinkle is now at work on Saving Spaces: Land Conservation in the United States. Join us for History Happy Hour, 4PM Friday, Februrary 6, 2015 at the Bordley History Center, 301 High Street in Chestertown and learn more about the preservation of Civil War battlefields.
HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF KENT COUNTY
101 Church Alley