Robert E. Lee’s Gettysburg HQ gets $6M facelift

Over the decades, the stone house and grounds that served as Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s headquarters at Gettysburg sprouted a motel, restaurant and other modern structures that dismayed preservationists and Civil War buffs keen on historic authenticity.

Now, after a $6 million restoration that erased decades of development at the 4-acre site in Pennsylvania, the property looks much as it did in July 1863, when Lee suffered defeat in a bloody three-day battle that turned the tide of the war.

“If Robert E. Lee rode up today on his horse, Traveler, he’d know where he was,” James Lighthizer, president of Civil War Trust, said Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site, which now includes a walking trail and interpretive signage.

Civil War Trust bought the house and grounds from private owners and completed the restoration of what Lighthizer has called “one of the most important unprotected historic buildings in America.” The nonprofit plans to turn the site over to the National Park Service.

The area around the circa-1830s house was the scene of heavy fighting on the battle’s first day, and its strategic location atop Seminary Ridge made it an ideal spot for Lee’s battlefield headquarters.