Though Congress has yet to act on legislation to allow the National Park Service to acquire the Gettysburg Railroad Station, the Gettysburg Foundation has reached an agreement to purchase the station.
It was two years ago that U.S. Sens. Robert Casey, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, and Pat Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, introduced the legislation. Similar legislation was introduced to the House by Rep. Todd Platts, also a Republican from Pennsylvania.
This past Wednesday the Borough of Gettysburg voted unanimously to accept the Foundation's offer to buy the railroad station, where President Abraham Lincoln arrived in November1863 on the eve of his Gettysburg Address.
"We are very appreciative of all the hard work of the Borough, who acquired the property in May of 1998 and since then has renovated and preserved this building," said Foundation President Joanne Hanley. "The Foundation plans to hold the train station on behalf of Gettysburg National Military Park until Congress passes legislation to include the station in the boundary of the park, at which time the Gettysburg Foundation will donate the train station to the park."
The station currently is used by the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Foundation plans to continue that arrangement with the CVB.
The lasting significance of the Gettysburg Railroad Station came to be on November 18, 1863, when President Lincoln, arrived there for an overnight stay with local Attorney David Wills and, on the following day, the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg; he departed from the Station as well. The building is also important because of its role as a hospital on July 1st, 1863, and in the battle's aftermath once rail service was restored to Gettysburg.