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Civil War preservation will mean razing brewpub, hotel

The Appalachian Brewing Co., right, and Quality Inn, left, at General Lee's Headquarters, center, will be razed next year to conserve and restore the property that was key in the 1863 battle.
The Appalachian Brewing Co., right, and Quality Inn, left, at General Lee's Headquarters, center, will be razed next year to conserve and restore the property that was key in the 1863 battle. - (Photo / )

The Appalachian Brewing Co. and Quality Inn at General Lee's Headquarters on Buford Avenue in Gettysburg will be razed next year as part of a plan by the Civil War Trust to conserve and restore the property that was key in the 1863 battle.

The trust announced on Tuesday, the 151st anniversary of the start of the battle, its $5.5 million fundraising campaign to buy the 4.1-acre property from the Belmar Partnership LLC with the goal of turning it over to the National Park Service as part of the Gettysburg National Military Park. The announcement came during a news conference attended by representatives from the Gettysburg area, the U.S. Department of the Interior and Susan Corbett, wife of Gov. Tom Corbett, among others.

The farmhouse, then owned by widow Mary Thompson on what is today Buford Avenue, was used by the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from July 1 through July 4. The farmhouse is a private museum displaying Civil War artifacts.

The brewpub and hotel will continue to operate through Dec. 31, said trust spokeswoman Mary Koik.

Artie Tafoya, director of operations for ABC, said the restaurant is looking for a new location near the battlefield.

“We have a commitment to our location that we’ve built and grown over the last 11 years to continue to operate a Gettysburg location,” Tafoya said. “We have three or four locations we’re currently looking at, with the expectation to be able to move by the spring of 2015.”

However, patrons can visit the ABC location at the Gateway Gettysburg complex, 70 Presidential Circle, in Straban Township, until the new location is found, he said. That location was opened in June 2013.

The borough pub is about 6,500 square feet and has about 40 employees, Tafoya said. Aside from the bar and restaurant, it also has a banquet space, as well as a brewing operation. The site has been operating on a month-to-month lease, Tafoya said. The restaurant was informed of the plans at the beginning of the year but was required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to maintain the lease.

ABC, which is based in Harrisburg, operates five other restaurants in Pennsylvania.

It is unclear whether the 48-room Quality Inn, managed by Impact Hospitality, will relocate. Choice Hotels, which owns the Quality Inn name, operates a number of other hotels in the area. A company spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment.

The hotel and restaurant were built in 1921, according to a news release from the Civil War Trust.

So far, the trust has raised $4.4 million of the total; the balance must be raised by the end of the year. The trust will work with the Gettysburg Foundation, the nonprofit that owns and operates the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park, to restore the property. The land will be donated to the National Park Service once Congress gives approval to expand the boundaries of the military park.

The property has been on the Civil War Trust’s radar for a long time, Koik said.

“It’s one of the really best known of the commercial developments on the battlefield,” she said.

Aside from being Lee’s headquarters throughout the battle and into the Confederate retreat on July 4, the property, which anchors Seminary Ridge, was close to intense fighting on the first day of the battle.

“Projects like this — where we have the opportunity to save sites of indisputable significance to the outcome of the Civil War and, with it, the shaping of our nation — are exactly why the Civil War Trust exists,” trust President James Lighthizer said in a news release. “Ambitious efforts like the purchase of Lee’s Headquarters will be among the most permanent and meaningful legacies of the sesquicentennial commemoration.”

Joseph Deinlein

Joseph Deinlein

Joseph Deinlein covers York County, energy and environment, agribusiness and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JDeinleinCPBJ. Circle Joseph Deinlein on .

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Scott July 3, 2014 11:06 am

I too support preserving the battlefield, however I cannot help but be concerned about the loss of yet another taxpaying property. The tax base of Gettysburg continues to shrink leaving a heavier burden on those remaining.

Kim Long July 2, 2014 9:19 am

While I understand the desire to preserve the battlefield site, I will miss our "local" ABC. That space has special ambience and beauty. Perhaps this explains why they have not renovated the restrooms, though, badly in need of work. Looking forward to a new spot. (The Gateway location does not provide a comfy pub atmosphere, and so I hope that the ABC folks will create a good space for its Gettysburg muggers.)

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