History keeps teaching us that we can’t recognize the important events that are going to trigger changes. David Weinberger
David Weinberger (born 1950) is an American technologist, professional speaker, and commentator, probably best known as co-author of the Cluetrain Manifesto (originally a website, and eventually a book, which has been described as “a primer on Internet marketing”). Weinberger’s work focuses on how the Internet is changing human relationships, communication, knowledge and society.
Submitted this article as is to Sunflower Publishing, who then paid me for it, so they own it. But I am unsure if it will ever appear in print anywhere. Not thru any fault of myself but a misunderstanding on the part of the editor with the contracting Tourism Board. But I got paid, which we all know is the truly important part in a freelance’s life. So this is the raw unedited article I sent them with no edits but my own.
“Do you know what George Washington said to my father?”
“Yes grandpa I know what he said.”
“Well it is was a Sunday and my parents had just had me christened, so that was October 8th of 1758, according to the family Bible.” The old man said as if he had never heard a word his great grandson had said.
The young man sighed.
“Of course Washington was only a Colonel working for the Redcoats at the time but everyone knew who he was, tall, good looking,” the old man said nudging the young man “at least according to my aunt. But that fall General Forbes had more than six thousand troops around here getting ready to build his road and march down his it towards Pittsburgh.” The older man said motioning off the porch and down the valley towards Bedford. “Of course George Washington came back in 1794, he was President by then and he was leading troops to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.”
The man’s great grandson simply nodded and checked the man’s lap blanket.
“The valley was very different back then, but we were growing, soon we got a potter, the basket maker, then we the printer and then a newspaper.”
The great grandson looked over at the man who had just kind of trailed off. The old man looked like he had nodded off, which he did a lot of course that was to be expected he was almost one hundred years old.
Bedford, Pennsylvania has seen a lot of history, the opening of the frontier in 1751, the springboard for the French and Indian War for the British troops building Forbes Road. It served as gathering place for the First President and his troops to put down the first internal threat to the newly formed U.S. government, during the Whiskey Rebellion; and the mustering point for three Pennsylvania regiments who marched off to fight in the Civil War and vacation spot for seven presidents. The Lincoln Highway (today’s Route 30), one of the earliest transcontinental highways runs thru the heart of the county and less than two miles south from Old Bedford Village, 220 Sawblade Rd, Bedford, PA 15522, a showcase of one hundred and fifty years of American history.
To celebrate America’s Bicentennial in 1976 and to help boost the local economy which was faltering the county government decided to embrace Bedford history. With a large contingent of young men, they mined the local community for historical buildings and artifacts. Buildings that where not able to be reconstructed were used for their building supplies and used to create new buildings (Klegg-Blasko House). Over thirty reconstructed or recreated building now stand in the village many of them made with wood from the now almost extinct American Chestnut, all accomplished by the local works program that was created to address the twenty-five percent unemployment rate in the county at the time.
Old Bedford Village goal is to educate people on the everyday life of the people of rural Pennsylvania covering from 1750 to the 1900. It is a living history facility where you will meet with Old Widow Biddle (say that three times fast) in her home as she explains the skills needed to raise a family in pre-electrical America; cooking at a fireplace, weaving and spinning home grown fabric and the hundreds of other tasks a homemaker and mother needed to know. You can visit Fisher’s Pottery to watch the artist in residence use a foot powered potters wheel to create items that can be bought, but be warned the potter can talk at length about his craft and you might feel your eyes glaze over. The young lady who keeps the horses, cows and chickens at the farm tells stories about being a captive of Native Americans and what it was like to return to a world of white people that she only knew as a child.
The Village has a full time staff most who specialize in skills like the Blacksmith shop but a vast majority of the educators are volunteers and are not on site at all times so the best time to get the widest variety of storytellers and teachers is on weekends and during special events. Most of the current paid staff were volunteers for many years before coming on staff and are not only great educators but passionate about history and have specialized in one area of historical knowledge.
The village is on mostly level ground and getting around is easily done on the asphalt and hard packed stone paths. Most buildings are wheel chair accessible (an electric wheelchair is available) with adapted ramps. The visitors center has a variety of handicrafts and historically related items available, there is also other hand-crafts, ice cream, and candy in the village itself for sale.
Price for all day entry is $10.00 for adults, $9.00 seniors, $5.00 students (age 6 through 18), and under 5 are free. Special programs and certified educational programs can be scheduled both on and off site as well as group tours can be arranged at oldbedfordvillage.com The visitors center and the church on property (seating up to one hundred and fifty persons) can be rented for special occasions at 1-800-238-4347. Special events throughout the season include a Civil War weekend, June 8-9, Wild West Weekend June 22-23, the Living History Weekend August 17-18. Old Bedford Village also has an app available to you help you navigate through the village and is available at the website.
The village is open Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday Through Saturday during the summer (Memorial Day-Labor Day) 9 am to 5 pm and in the Fall, Thursday through Sunday 9 am to 5 am (Memorial Day through October 31st. Open during the winter for special events only.
A passion for history, a love of storytelling, and and excitement for teaching is the hallmark of Old Bedford Village bringing history alive in this hamlet in Penn’s Woods and gateway to the Laurel Highlands.
History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘See you later.’ Eduardo Galeano
Eduardo Hughes Galeano ( 3 September 1940 – 13 April 2015) was a Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist considered, among other things, “global soccer’s pre-eminent man of letters” and “a literary giant of the Latin American left”
In what light so ever we regard the Bible, whether with reference to revelation, to history, or to morality, it is an invaluable and inexhaustible mine of knowledge and virtue. John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams, son of John and Abigail Adams, served as the sixth President of the United States from 1825 to 1829. A member of multiple political parties over the years, he also served as a diplomat, a Senator and member of the House of Representatives.
The rolling green hills of Pennsylvania farm land was the sight of one of the most epic battles in history. Like all the history books say this quiet little town was of no strategic or tactical significance but it will live on in history like many other famous places of battle; Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Waterloo, and Agincourt.
If you are going to Gettysburg for something other than history I would be really interested to know what that is, because as far as I have seen, except for the business that support people who live there the only other enterprises are the Gettysburg College and agriculture.
My father was in the telephone business and my family once spent a long weekend at Gettysburg College staying in the dorm rooms for a Telephone Pioneers convention (an organization that helps deaf and other handicapped persons out with telecommunication needs). I remember It was hot, my brothers and I had a dorm room to ourselves and we rode on a steam powered train one afternoon and we toured the battlefield and I saw the cyclorama. That is one of my earliest memories of going to Gettysburg. I went there again when I was a teenager with my Boy Scout Troop and my most vivid memory of that was climbing around Devil’s Den on the rocks and wondering what it was like to get shot while in those massive rocks.
If you are like most people you have no idea what a cyclorama is, well it was the movies before their were movies. They are huge circular paintings that you stand inside of and they are typically of battle scenes although there are some of other historical events. The first one opened in 1787 and there was one point in America that every major city had a building set aside just to display them. The cyclorama at Gettysburg is in the new visitors center, moved there in 2008 after being in the old visitors center from 1945 until it closed in 2005. What does the Gettysburg Cyclorama show, Pickett’s Charge, also known as the High Water Mark of the Civil War. It shows the battlefield as it might have looked on the hot, humid 3rd of July 1863. Cannons with smoking barrels, generals directing soldiers into the fray and wounded being helped off the field, and the artist, because he painted himself into the picture looking over the battlefield.
I remember the old presentation, and I have been to the new presentation a couple of times, and I liked the old one better, the Park Rangers did a dramatic reading, the lights flashed on certain areas of the painting and I think there was a stirring musical score to go with it. In the current presentation you are at eye level with the painting, which is better, before you were below it, there are props and roads built in a diorama fashion drawing you deeper into the painting but now all you get is a question and answer period, a brochure with notes and diagrams in it and a limited time before the next group comes in.
While I miss the old presentation, I love the new visitors center, it is easier to navigate, more spacious and incredibly up to date and you don’t feel as though you are risking your life either by being trample in the parking lot or by crossing the road to the get to the National Cemetery. I am sure the tour bus driver’s enjoy the new location as well for the drop off circle.
To get away from the Gettysburg National Park you can take a stroll through down town, this does not get you away from the history of course because the battle raged all through the town and surrounding country side. But the down town area is a nice place for a stroll and also contains two of my favorite restaurants in the area. The Pub & Restaurant right in Lincoln Square which serves good American standard fare and has a nice atmosphere, if you grab a window seat you can watch cars navigating the traffic circle that drives most Americans a little crazy.
The other restaurant is a little bit harder to find, and has a shorter menu but to me it makes up for these shortcomings. The Farnsworth House Inn located at 401 Baltimore Street, this is where the Confederate sniper was located that took the life of Jennie Wade who was home baking bread (not intentional, the bullet went through two wooded doors before it struck her), the walls have over a 100 bullets hole and more recently this is where the cast from the movie Gettysburg came to drink at the Sweeny’s Tavern after a day of shooting scenes. The place has a American Colonial food menu (Chicken Pot Pie) and props and costumes that the cast gave to the Tavern upon wrapping up the movie. The Farnsworth house also has a bed and breakfast and hosts a ghost tour at night.
I have been to Gettysburg numerous times in different parts of the year. My family once met up with friends and we spent the Thanksgiving holiday weekend here, first watching the holiday parade followed with my first meal at the Pub and Restaurant in Lincoln Square and my daughter being about five and excited about Christmas found a man with a great big white beard and began talking to him about Christmas, he talked to her in the most engaging manner, and I apologized to his wife, but she insisted he loved the Christmas season for this very reason.
If you had no interest in history but just wanted to ride around some pretty countryside on a bike you could do worse, most of the battlefield roads are limited to twenty-five miles an hour and there are lots of walking trails. But like I said earlier, there is not much else to do in the town that is not in someway connected with the battle. Perhaps you can go to the Eisenhower Farm where the President retired to, or the Hall of Presidents and First Ladies, but again these are all history related attractions.
One small gem that most people miss is the Rupp House, home of the Friends of Gettysburg Society, it is just down the street from the Farnsworth House (451 Baltimore Street) and it has some nice hands on displays about civilian life during the battle. It also shows some pictures of the efforts to return the Battlefield to its look of 1863, like the before and after pictures of the removal of the telephone poles from the Battlefield.
Gettysburg is for history buffs, and history nerds revel in the place, you can’t swing a dead cat in town without hitting a historical building, marker or placard. Weather it be the military aspects, or the human interest stories that abound. I find it hard to believe that any other place in the world has as much written about or as documented and studied as this Pennsylvania town for only a seventy-two hour period.
One of the most interesting contrasting statues on the battlefield is two on the Confederate side, Lee the commanding general has a massive monument facing towards the Union side, while his right hand man, the man he called “My Old War Horse”, is given a small statue, directly on the ground in a grove of trees off the main road. James Longstreet became almost pariah in the south because he took a job with the Federal government after the war while Lee became an almost mystical father figure of the entire South. Longstreet did not get his statue until 1998, Lee riding his horse atop the Virginia monument has been there since 1917.
So go and enjoy the shops, the restaurants and the hotels, but learn something, learn something of the history that defines this country.
John Adams Speech to the Second Continental Congress given on Monday, July 1, 1776, Adams. “Adams was the Atlas of the hour, the man to whom the country is more indebted for the great measure of independency…He it was who sustained the debate, and by the force of his reasoning demonstrated not only the justice, but the expediency of the measure.” – New Jersey delegate Richard Stockton
The vote for independence took place the next day, on July 2, 1776,
Text of Speech, pieced together from letters and Adams’ recollections as an old man:
“Measures of the most stupendous magnitude – measures which affect the lives of millions, born and unborn – are now before us. We must expect a great expense of blood and pain, but we must remember that a free constitution of civil government cannot be purchased at too dear a rate, as there is nothing this side of Jerusalem of greater importance to mankind. My worthy colleague from Pennsylvania has spoken with grace and eloquence, and he has given you a grim prognostication of our nation future, but where he foresees apocalypse, I see hope. I see a new nation ready to take its place in the world. Not an empire, but a Republic, and a republic of laws, not men.
Gentlemen, we are in the very midst of revolution, the most complete, unexpected and remarkable of any in the history of the world. How few of the human race have ever had an opportunity of choosing a system of government for themselves and their children.
I am not without apprehensions, gentlemen. But the end we have in sight is more than worth all the means. I believe, Sirs, that the hour has come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, all that I am, and all that I hope in this life I am now ready to stake upon it.
While I live, let me have a country. A free country.”
For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time. Louis L’Amour
From Wikipedia: Louis Dearborn L’Amour (/ˈluːi ləˈmʊr/; 22 March 1908 – 10 June 1988) was an American author. His books consisted primarily of Western novels (though he called his work ‘frontier stories’), however he also wrote historical fiction (The Walking Drum), science fiction (The Haunted Mesa), nonfiction (Frontier), as well as poetry and short-story collections. Many of his stories were made into movies. L’Amour’s books remain popular and most have gone through multiple printings. At the time of his death some of his 105 existing works were in print (89 novels, 14 short-story collections, and two full-length works of nonfiction) and he was considered “one of the world’s most popular writers”