This time, over the building that once housed the Cyclorama. Seems the National Parks Service has the intention of demolishing the cylindrical edifice to allow a better viewpoint on/of the Ridge, but fans of modern architecture are trying to preserve it as part of the Mission ’66, er, mission. It’s an interesting debate; the building meant to support historical preservation has become part of that history to some. I’d find it more engaging if it didn’t look so dreary, though. Concrete bunkers aren’t really something people travel to see.
Some Civil War historians and preservationists have advocated demolition of the building, which closed in 2005, saying it blocks views necessary to teach the story of the Civil War battle of Gettysburg.
“The Cyclorama is literally just a huge view block between two very important parts of the (Union) line,” said Dan Rathert, a licensed battlefield guide. “That’s the biggest problem. With it there, it’s harder for people to understand how parts of the battlefield fit together.”
But architects hail the building as one of the flagships of the “Mission 66” program, launched in the 1950s by President Eisenhower to modernize national parks. It was one of five visitor centers built under the program, and famed architect Richard Neutra was contracted to design the structure, which opened with great fanfare in 1963 on the 100th anniversary of the battle.