Gettysburg College and the Surrounding Area

A Short Introduction

The town of Gettysburg has been an established city for over two hundred years, but is most famous for its role in the Civil War and the Gettysburg Address. Much of the city was shaped by the Civil War and Lincoln’s role in the city. One of the key places in Gettysburg that existed both before and after the Civil War is Gettysburg College. Established in 1832, the college was founded by anti-slavery Samuel Schmucker. It served as a hospital to soldiers during the battle from July 1-3 (Hyperlink), and is within walking distance to the National Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln delivered his Address. On that day, students and faculty from the college made the short trek to the cemetery to hear the speech be delivered. [1] Throughout the whole town, there are also other sites that endured through the Civil War and felt Lincoln’s effect as there are buildings named after him and buildings remembering him.

Gettysburg College is shown here.

Lincoln’s Lasting Legacy at Gettysburg College

Though Gettysburg College was an established university prior to the 1860’s, Lincoln still made a lasting impact on the university through his naming and his participation in the city itself. No building on the campus seems to be named after Lincoln, but West Lincoln Avenue runs right in the center of campus with East Lincoln Avenue extending out of the college further into the actual city of Gettysburg. Lincoln is also commemorated with Gettysburg College’s annual First-Year Walk. This is a yearly event, walked by members of faculty, staff, and the student body at Gettysburg College which commemorates the Gettysburg Address from over 150 years earlier. The tradition stemmed from the very first time the students made the walk; the time it actually happened in 1863. The new group each year recreates the original procession that happened in November, 1863 in a walk to the National Cemetery, in an attempt to unite first years while also commemorating and celebrating Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his contribution to the city. [2] Besides the events held by the school, there are also other meaningful remembrances of Lincoln at Gettysburg College. Each year, the school gives out a Lincoln Prize, officially known as the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, which is given to a scholar who writes the finest scholarly work on Abraham Lincoln. [3] The award is given out in part by the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, an organization made to help promote the American Civil War era, especially in regards to Lincoln. Additionally, though not a yearly event, but certainly most likely a common event, the national traveling exhibition Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War was hosted at Gettysburg College in 2013. [4] These exhibits, awards, and walks show how Lincoln’s legacy lasts at Gettysburg and especially at their college over 150 years after he lived and spoke in their town.


The first-year walk is featured in the picture to the right.






Other Gettysburg Sites 

Over time, most memories tend to be forgotten, replaced, and made obsolete while new ones replace them in the processual affair of memory. However, this definitely does not occur in the town of Gettysburg when it comes to Abraham Lincoln. Part of the reason is that the town is so small, the battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address overshadow most everything Gettysburg had before that, not to mention those are two of the more famous events in and around the Civil War. Not only does Gettysburg College still remember Lincoln in different ways, the rest of Gettysburg follows suit. The center of Gettysburg is commonly referred to as “Lincoln Square”, and four buildings that witnessed the Civil War still stand: The David Wills House, one which Lincoln is remembered fondly at, probably based on the fact that it was David Wills who originally asked Lincoln to come speak at Gettysburg [1], and three others including the Maxwell-Danner House, the Arnold-Spangler House, and the McConaughy-Stoever House. [5] Another common theme in Gettysburg related to Lincoln is trains. The station, now named the Gettysburg Lincoln Train Station, became an army hospital on July 1, 1963, and the trains in Gettysburg ended up transporting wounded soldiers and eventually brought Lincoln to Gettysburg on the day he delivered his address. Now, the Station still stands and the Lincoln Train Museum also exists in the southern area of Gettysburg. Also, adjacent to Lincoln Lane and Long Lane is the Lincoln Cemetery, established in 1867 as a burial site for the African-American community. Lastly, U.S. route 30 going through Gettysburg was renamed to be the Lincoln Highway in 1913. [5]

A statue of Lincoln in Lincoln Square, Gettysburg.

What Makes Lincoln So Special?

Gettysburg and Abraham Lincoln go hand in hand. Logically, it would make sense for a town to celebrate its most famous contribution to American history, but it could do just as much with the Battle that was fought in the city. Abraham Lincoln represents more than a battle though. He is remembered as one of our greatest presidents and delivered one of the most widely recognized speeches in American history, and it was spoken in the small town of Gettysburg. The town can hold this fact high and can commemorate Lincoln like few other places can.


[1] “College History.” Gettysburg College. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2015. “”

[2] Walters, Mark. “Gettysburg College Students to Recreate 1863 Walk.”Proquest. N.p., 20 Aug. 2013. Web.


[3] “Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize.” Gettysburg College –. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.


[4] “Musselman Library.” Gettysburg College. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2015.