Monday, Apr 3, 2006
NCR Regional Director Joe Lawler, Superintendent Susan Trail, Senator Paul Sarbanes (MD), representatives from other federal organizations, and local elected public officials broke ground on Friday, March 24th, for a $3.5 million interpretive facility that, when completed, will allow visitors to experience a ?low-tech? exhibit where artifacts and theatrical vignettes intermingle.
Information in the long-anticipated visitor center will be provided from a variety of perspectives, including that of six-year-old Glenn Worthington, who witnessed the July 9, 1864 Battle of Monocacy, also called the ?Battle that saved Washington.? Worthington later wrote a book-length account of the event and was instrumental in obtaining Congressional support for the establishment of a national park to commemorate the battleground.
?Glenn Worthington?s vision for remembering the Battle of Monocacy and what audiences it might reach helps us to become better public stewards of this, an important battle in the defense of our nation?s capital during the height of the Civil War,? said Lawler. ?It reminds us that one person can make a difference.?
When completed, the visitor center will follow a number of tracks and will not focus solely on the 1864 battle. In fact, the interpretive concentration will include what happened before, during and after the battle, thus providing a broader context for the one-day battle in the continuum of the entire Civil War.
Since 1991, visitors to the park have been greeted in an interim contact station housed in the lower level of the modified Gambrill Mill. That site serves approximately 17,000 visitors annually. The new visitor center will be located just off of Maryland Route 355 on the northern approach to the battlefield and will enable the park to increase the number of visitors it serves and expand opportunities to educational groups as well as to professional researchers. A museum shop and interpretive support offices will also be housed in the structure.
SouthEastern Construction of Pineville, West Virginia, will build the new facility. They have extensive experience with the National Park Service, including the exterior rehabilitation of the Worthington House on Monocacy National Battlefield. Completion of the visitor center is anticipated in the spring of 2007.