SHARPSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — Civil War sites in Maryland are benefiting from a more-than $5 million historic preservation and tourism promotion grant.
The funds will help thirteen heritage areas with improvement projects, such as preserving landmarks as a way to boost tourism. Not only do battlefields and museums qualify for the funds, but towns, historical societies, heritage foundations and Hood College. At Antietam Battlefield on Thursday, a visitor from Long Island, New York was in search of a very special branch on his family tree.
“I’m a descendant of a Civil War veteran,” says Richard Dunlop from Long Island, New York. “And I’ve been sorting through my ancestry to figure out where they fought. And this might be one of the places where my great-great-great grandfather fought.”
The funds will go to upgrade railway stations, educational displays, African-American cultural exhibits, improved parking for tour buses and architectural restoration at the sites. But at a time when so many across the country are questioning the preservation of Confederate symbols, some — like Emelyn and Hadley Scott, who are taking a summer break until school resumes for them in their hometown, Hanover, Pennsylvania — are struck by the many thousands of soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who lost their lives in the Civil War.
“There were a lot of people that died during this war,” says Emelyn, “and it was one of the most bloodiest battles in all of this war and it was crazy how many people died.”
The Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, a nonprofit, will help administer the funds. Educational experiences tied to history, it says, help drive tourism.
The projects benefitting from the funding are in Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties and will help fund bilingual interpreters at some sites and maintaining trails at the sites.
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