Pardon Neutras Cyclorama at Gettysburg
Commonwealth of PA; National Park Service
Recent Past Preservation Network
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As a concerned preservationist, I am appalled that Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, Secretary of the Department of the Interior Gale Norton and other officials approved the demolition of the 1961 Richard Neutra-designed Cyclorama Building at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
The Park Service fully intends to destroy the Cyclorama Building without considering re-use or preservation alternatives and despite the protestations of architects, preservation professionals, and noted historians. The demolition is a key component of a controversial and misguided redevelopment plan. Under the approved plan, a private developer would tear down this valuable cultural resource (located within walking distance of the town of Gettysburg) and construct a massive new structure over a mile away, complete with expansive parking lots, on previously undisturbed battlefield land within the Park Service boundaries. This scheme goes against everything the Park Service and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania stands for--prevention of urban sprawl, sustainable use of agricultural land, and the preservation of historic structures.
The national significance of the Cyclorama Building is recognized by leading organizations--including the National Register of Historic Places, the Society of Architectural Historians, and the American Institute of Architects Historic Resources Committee. The actions of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service follow a disturbing pattern of disregard for public input on this controversial matter. It is abundantly clear to me -- and to many other concerned citizens across the country -- that neither the agency nor the department can objectively review the historical and cultural significance of the Cyclorama Building as long as it stands in the way of long-settled redevelopment plans at Gettysburg.
A renewed effort to save the building is underway, led by the Recent Past Preservation Network (www.recentpast.org) in cooperation with the Neutra Institute of Survival Through Design, DOCOMOMO U.S., and other allied organizations. I join this coalition of preservationists in urging you to immediately grant a demolition pardon to Richard Neutras Cyclorama at Gettysburg and provide funds for its restoration.