HGAC Civil War Hospital Sign Project
A new HGAC project and partnership was forged in 2022. HGAC is working together with students from the Gettysburg Area High School (GAHS) to create and install new Civil War Hospital markers, as many of the signs in the area have fallen into disrepair.
As of January 1, 2024, under the purview of HGAC’s Preservation Committee and in coordination with HGAC’s Investing in Youth Initiative, a total of 23 replacement signs have been fabricated by GAHS students and installed by HGAC volunteers. Eleven of 21 Union hospital signs have been replaced; and 12 of 20 Confederate hospital signs have been replaced. Ten more signs are with the GAHS students for production in the spring of 2024.
These signs are produced by students in the Technology Education program at Gettysburg Area High School under the guidance of their instructor, Stan Licharowicz. The students use the latest computer-aided design and laser manufacturing technologies to produce these weather-resistant, long-lasting signs. The signs are then installed by HGAC volunteers.
This partnership with the Technology Education program grows out of the Investing in Youth Initiative’s goal to foster interest among the younger generation in historic preservation and restoration -- and to build a base of appreciation for our area’s history.
If you come across one of these new signs, you will see the care and attention the students have given these signs. And for that dedication, we at HGAC thank them!
How the project started
During the three-day Battle of Gettysburg many homes, barns, churches and public buildings in and around Gettysburg were pressed into service as Union and Confederate field hospitals. While the battle lasted three days, the pain and suffering of those in the field hospitals continued until November of 1863, when the last hospital, Camp Letterman, closed. The ordeals of the wounded soldiers and those who cared for them in the makeshift hospitals deeply affected the Gettysburg community.
HGAC first posted roadside Civil War Hospital Signs in 1983 near the public and private structures that served as field hospitals during the Battle of Gettysburg. The original signs were updated in 2001 and now are once again showing their age. Some are even missing.
In 2022, HGAC’s Preservation Committee and the Investing in Youth Initiative decided to work with the Gettysburg Area High School’s Technology Students Association to fabricate new signs for the hospital sites. This student group uses the latest computer aided design and manufacturing equipment to create signs as fundraisers for their competitions. Under the direction of teacher Stan Licharowicz, GAHS seniors Elliott Walker, Cole Redding and Logan Moseley designed and constructed a prototype sign. After seeing the results, HGAC requested the students take on producing replacements for the hospital signs that the organization originally erected.
By the end of 2022, the students had completed eight signs. HGAC volunteers began installing the signs in December 2022 and continued into January 2023. A new group of GAHS students will undertake creating additional signs for the project in 2023.
HGAC designated the Hospital Sign Project as the focal point of its 2022 Giving Spree fundraising campaign. HGAC thanks all the donors who generously contributed $10,499 toward the project.
Gettysburg Area High School Technology Education program students display the Civil War Hospital signs they created.
Back row, left to right: Stan Licharowicz, Technology Education Teacher, Eli Cann, Wes Coolbaugh and Dalton Redden.
Front row, left to right: Johah Fleck and Zach Sentz.
New sign at Daniel Lady farm with HGAC volunteers Mike Koziski and Greg Kaufmann
Before, old sign at John Sachs Mill (above)
After, new sign at John Sachs Mill (below)
For those who wish to know if their residence, barn or building was one of the field hospital sites approved in 1983: please email HGAC at email@example.com and we can check our list.
However, many residences in Gettysburg were used for the treatment of the wounded without ever being designated as a hospital, so it is not a simple subject to address. We want to be careful and move forward correctly based on solid documentation. Unfortunately, we do not do historical property investigations. The Adams County Historical Society may have information in their archives and there are also commercial historical research services available.
IN 2001, HGAC and the Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania published the “Gettysburg Civil War Field Hospital Tour” booklet, which provides a guide for those wishing to visit the hospital sites around the battlefield. To purchase the guide, click here