New Opportunity for Preservationists (3/16)

BY DOUG COOKE / March 2016

In February, Carly Marshall of the Adams County Office of Planning and Development wrote an article in the Gettysburg Times describing the importance of historic preservation in Adams County. She presented a program on March 7 at the quarterly Cumberland Township Historical Society (CTHS) public meeting. The CTHS Preservation Committee learned from Marshall several months ago about the Adams County Historical Sites Survey, which is on their web site. Although it is intended as a survey for all of Adams County, for CTHS it has become an important interactive map tool for identifying, pinpointing and documenting important historical sites in Cumberland Township.

The CTHS Preservation Committee previously developed a list of important historic sites in the township, which we maintain and continue to update. We have now input most of these sites into the survey. In fact a majority of the sites identified on the survey map at this point are Cumberland Township sites. The survey consists of sites in categories: “Native American and Prehistory,” “Early Settlement,” “Agricultural,” “African American and Underground Railroad,” “Civil War,” Early Tourism and Lincoln Highway,” and “Eisenhower.” Of course there are sites related to the Battle of Gettysburg, including Union and Confederate hospitals. Many of the CTHS sites relate to “Early Settlement” with examples of one-room schools, early original family homesteads and farms, mills, historic bridges, early taverns and others. Some sites are no longer standing, but many do still exist.

The website is very user-friendly and provides an opportunity to learn about interesting locations in our community. For each site that is entered, it is located on an interactive map of Adams County. There is a brief description and an opportunity to add a photograph. On the CTHS web site,, we have encouraged readers to participate in the survey to help the Office of Planning and Development, CTHS, and our Preservation Committee to learn about additional aspects of our history and historic sites that we may not be aware of. The Adams County Historic Sites Survey is located at . The Adams County Office of Planning and Development created the tool to provide them with important information on the community, but it is also a valuable multi-purpose resource for the public and organizations like the Cumberland Township Historical Society.

Doug Cooke is an aerospace consultant. He retired from NASA, as associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate after 38 years at Johnson Space Center and NASA Headquarters. He is chair of the CTHS Preservation Committee. Doug and his wife Renee’ are Gettysburg residents.