Gathland State Park
Gathland, United States
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Gathland State Park is a small state park located near Burkittsville, Maryland, in the United States. The park is composed of the remains of the estate of George Alfred Townsend (1841-1914), a correspondent during the American Civil War who wrote under the pen name "Gath". Several buildings remain on the estate, including the War Correspondents Memorial Arch, and the Appalachian trail passes through the grounds.
The area of the current park includes Crampton's Gap, which saw fighting during the Battle of South Mountain, one of the first battles of the Maryland Campaign during the American Civil War. In 1884, Townsend, now a successful journalist, purchased the land as a retreat and began work on what would become Gathland, his estate. His first project was Gapland Hall, an eleven room house built in 1885. This was followed that same year by Gapland Lodge, a stone servants' quarters. In 1890 a large building was erected to house a study, a library, and ten bedrooms.
Townsend's most famous and longest-lasting project was completed in 1896: The War Correspondents Memorial Arch. It is claimed that the arch is the only monument in the world dedicated to journalists killed in combat. However, a tree in Arlington National Cemetery was also dedicated as a war correspondents' memorial in 1986.
Also in the park grounds is the remains of a mausoleum built for Townsend in 1895 but never used. Originally topped with the figure of a large bronze dog, only the chamber remains, with a marble lintel inscribed, "Good Night Gath".
After Townsend's death, Gathland changed hands three times before being acquired by the Department of Forests and Parks and named a state park in 1949..
Gapland Hall was renovated in 1958 and now houses a visitors' center. Gapland Lodge was converted into the George Townsend Museum. The site is currently undergoing renovation of the Visitor Center and Museum. (2011) Most of the other buildings are gone, but the foundations of the barn and the crypt remain.
In addition to the monument, the historic buildings, and the museum, the park hosts Civil War reenactments and an interactive "living history" weekend with demonstrations of 19th century life.
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