Governor Ehrlich announces BPW approval of Civil War site preservation
ANNAPOLIS — Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. today announced Board of Public Works approval for $237,207 in Program Open Space, federal and private funds to acquire conservation easements on two former Civil War battlefields in Frederick County.
The property, 36.6 acres total, consists of two parcels, and is part of an effort between the state Departments of Natural Resources and Transportation to protect Civil War sites.
“Maryland’s culture and history are rich with Civil War heritage,” Governor Ehrlich said. “I am proud that this property will be preserved for generations of Marylanders to come.”
One of the properties, known as the Wilson property, consists of 25.59 acres, and was the headquarters of Gen. McClellan and the Army of the Potomac’ reserves artillery and supply wagons during the Battle of South Mountain. The historic residence on the property is now used as private home.
This property is contiguous to a block of 2,500 acres of land under conservation easement through MALPF, MET and/or the Rural Legacy Program. The property may contain habitat for grassland breeding birds such as Upland Sandpiper Eastern Meadowlark, Grasshopper Sparrow, Verper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, and American Kestrel. Birds that require grasslands for breeding are rapidly disappearing from the state as well as the region.
The second property, known as the Devine property, is also contiguous to 2,500 acres of land. This property was the former staging area of Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Corps during the Battle of South Mountain at Turner’s Gap, and a historic house, which was used as a hospital during the war. The preservation of this property protects the land, which serves as grassland habitat, but further, adds historic significance to the South Mountain battlefield area as a whole by protecting the scenic views of the Battlefield, as is it located on a valley adjacent to the Mountain.
The funding for the conservation easements is from Program Open Space, The State Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancement Program, and the Civil War Preservation Trust.
The Civil War Trust is the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization with more than 30,000 members across the country. A private, non-profit organization, the Trust has committed more than $5.2 million to assist in protecting more than 6,500 acres at 27 of the most important battlefield sites in 13 states.
To date, nearly $110 million in federal funds has been awarded for 170 projects in the State of Maryland through the State Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancement Program. Some examples of projects completed by through the program are: The President Street Station in Baltimore, the trestle walk at the Western Maryland Railroad Station in Allegany County, Rail-to-Trail in Easton and the WB&A Trail in Prince George’s County.
The three-member Board of Public Works is comprised of Governor Ehrlich, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer, and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp. The Board of Public Works meets semi-monthly and exercises the powers and duties prescribed in the Constitution or delegated to it by the General Assembly. The Board must approve expenditures of all sums appropriated through State loans authorized by the General Assembly. The Board also approves the expenditures of all General Funds and other funds appropriated for capital improvements, except those allotted for State roads, bridges, and highways.
Posted March 10, 2004