Here are some of MY photos from my Gettysburg excursion, not just the antique images I bought.
I had just taken this photo and was walking back toward the main square (aka “the diamond” in local parlance – that’s a whole other story) when I ran into someone who recognized my camera as a Rolleiflex, and who had one (actually several) himself. I explained to him that servicing them to get them back into good working order was not actually that expensive, and that he could still easily get film for them. I think (I hope, anyway) I inspired him to get his Rolleis out of the closet and put them back into service.
The “diamond” story:
I grew up just down the road from Gettysburg, in another southern Pennsylvania town storied in Civil War lore: Chambersburg. Like Gettysburg, it has a central town square, where the courthouse, a church, and a couple of banks are located. We always called it “the square”. Then, a couple of years ago, I went on a Civil War themed bus tour led by Ed Bearss, the historian and talking head (Ken Burns’ The Civil War and History Channel’s Civil War Diaries, among others). We were covering JEB Stuart’s raid on Chambersburg. When we arrived in downtown, he explained that the proper term for a town’s main square in that part of Pennsylvania was (and allegedly still is) “the diamond”. The squares are square, per se, formed at the intersection of two roads, which enter the square from the middle of each side, but in a gesture to ease of parking (originally buggies and horses, now cars), inside the square, the corners have been cut off, making a diamond-esque space in the middle. Thus the diamond. But I had never heard it referred to as “the diamond” in the first 39 years of my life until I heard Ed tell that story.
This is one of those places you see in so many small towns – the local dive bar, or “bar of shame” as I like to think of them. No windows that you can see in, which I suppose gives patrons an illusion of privacy. The ironic thing is that A: this bar is on the main street, just a block or so off the main square, and B: it’s a small town, so everybody knows everybody. If you enter this bar, the whole world is going to know about it.
The Emmittsburg Road, at evening time. I took this picture because it epitomizes Gettysburg, the battlefield, to me as much as any monument or marker or green bronze cannon. This is the gently rolling countryside where over three days in July, 1863, almost 50,000 men gave their lives.
Not actually in Gettysburg, but on the way home, is the Catoctin Furnace. This was an early ironworks, in operation from the late 1700s. Catoctin Furnace supplied the Continental army during the American Revolution, and the Union army during the Civil War. They would stack layers of charcoal, limestone and iron ore needed to produce finished iron into the furnace and let it burn, adding additional layers until enough molten iron was produced. Then a clay valve in the bottom of the stack would be opened and the molten iron bled off into sand-filled channels in the ground where it would form into pig iron bars. I’ve seen two explanations for the name, pig iron: one variation has it because of the shape of the bars after pouring, the other because of the sound the molten iron made as it ran into the molds.
All photos were taken with my Rolleiflex 2.8E, using Kodak Ektar 100.