Electric map of Gettysburg Civil War battle to re-open June 3 in Hanover

After several years of work and waiting, a map that tells a major story in American history is about to re-open in Hanover.

The electric map of the Civil War’s Battle of Gettysburg will again tell the story of the 1863 battle starting next month, eight years after it was cut into pieces and nearly scrapped.

Now located in downtown Hanover — the site of an often-overlooked cavalry clash the day before Gettysburg began — the map will open to the public for shows the first Friday in June, leaders of the effort to move and restore the map have announced.

The Hanover Heritage & Conference Center, 22 Carlisle St., will offer hourly map shows Thursday through Saturday, with extended hours for groups. The center also will offer tours of the unusual urban cavalry battle that raged in Hanover.

Formerly in Gettysburg, the map told the story of the Gettysburg battle between the Union and Confederate armies, America’s bloodiest, to generations of Gettysburg battlefield visitors.

Closed when a new battlefield visitors’ center opened in 2008, the map will begin public shows again June 3, the 153rd anniversary of the day Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee began his fateful march north toward Pennsylvania.

Visitors to the Hanover site will hear the original 22-minute narration of the three-day Gettysburg battle, and will have the opportunity to interact up close with the electric map.

The map was created in 1963 for the 100th anniversary of the battle, replacing a similar but smaller map, officials with the current restoration effort said in a news release.

The 30-by-30-foot contoured map uses electric lights, illuminated in sequence, to show how the battle unfolded, giving visitors a grand overview of the fighting.

Despite its continued popularity with battlefield visitors, the celebrated map appeared headed for the scrap pile when the new multimedia visitors center opened in 2008.

The map was cut into three large pieces and stored, while the computer and manual controls and any spare parts were scrapped.

But in 2013, Hanover businessman Scott Roland bought the map at auction and has been working to restore it ever since.

The restoration has caught the attention of the Hanover community and brought together historians, environmental experts and school students in the effort to bring the map back to life.

The project has entailed rewiring more than 600 lights with more than 7.5 miles of electrical wire, leaders of the effort added.

David O'Connor
Dave O'Connor covers York County, manufacturing, higher education, nonprofits, and workforce development. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at doconnor@cpbj.com.

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