The National Tower
The National Tower

Implosion Video
Implosion Video 2

Visitor Center
Union Army
Confederate Army
Copse of Trees

The National Tower 1974-2000

View of Big Round Top From National Tower

National Tower viewed from Culp's Hill

National Tower Falls

National Tower all Gone 12/00

To the joy of historical preservationists, a steel tower that stood over the location of the Civil War’s most famous battle was demolished on July 3rd 2000 in an effort to restore the battlefield to its war-era appearance. The explosion lasted for only eight seconds. The Gettysburg National Tower, which a private company opened in 1974 over the objections of park officials, fell on the 137th anniversary of Pickett’s Charge, the climactic standoff of the three-day Battle of Gettysburg. In that battle, Union forces turned back the charge of Confederate troops under the direct command of Gen. George Edward Pickett. The bloody battle took place along Cemetery Ridge, a short distance from the tower site and many historians see it as the turning point of the Civil War. Although there were casualties of nearly 60 percent, Pickett’s rebel troops broke the line but were unable to hold their position. Demolition of the tower was part of a National Park Service campaign to remove modern structures built on the battlefield. In June, a federal judge ruled in favor of the government in a lawsuit seeking permission for control of the site and took the tower away from its former owners, Overview Limited Partnership. According to Overview Limited Partnership, the tower measured 393 feet from its base to the tip of an antenna at its top. .

Before the tower’s fall, National Park officials and preservationists called the demolition the first step towards restoring a sacred land in United States history . “This is truly a great day for everyone who cares about our nation’s sacred ground,” said park superintendent John Latschar. Preservationists said the historical importance of Gettysburg required the correction of past “mistakes” by the government that allowed the modern intrusions. “To a preservationist, demolition is almost always an ugly word,” said Richard Moe, the president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “But not today. Today, we’re doing something right.” Controlled Demolition Inc., a family-run company, performed the demolition. The company offered to perform the demolition for free, prompting the park service to press for condemnation of the tower by the company’s July 3 deadline. The government set aside $3 million to compensate the former owners of the tower and the land it sits on, although the precise amount will be determined later by a judge. The company said its demolition work for the project would normally cost about $75,000, although the park service claimed in a court filing that the work would save the government $1 million. Park officials said the higher cost referred to the cost of disassembling the tower piece by piece.

The tower Falls into eternity
July 3, 2000 5:03PM.
Frank P Marrone Jr.

Beyond demolishing the tower, the park plans to restore fences, orchards and lanes that were present in 1863 and remove modern buildings that sit on the battlefield. Although welcomed by historic preservationists, the demolition is not without its critics, most notably the engineer who designed the structure. Joel H. Rosenblatt told The Baltimore Sun that destroying the tower was “criminal vandalism.” “This thing is more than just another tower,” he said. “It is unusual engineering design, and it’s worth saving. It deserves attention for itself.” Rosenblatt said the tower was unusual enough that he took out patents on its shape and construction. The tower, which consisted of a four-level viewing area in the shape of an octagon, was supported by a latticework of battleship gray steel.

A heap of rubble
July 4, 2000

Frank P Marrone Jr.
This Tower which was built in 1974 was a constant issue of debate. Many Battlefield Preservists felt that the tower was an eyesore and that it not belong on the battlefield. Many others felt that it served as an educational tool and that it was the only true way to get a birds eye view of the Battlefield. It was also the only Handicapped accessable tower on the battlefield making it easy for disabled people to view the Battlefield. As of Christmas 2000 you can see by the picture above that the ground is being brought back to its "Civil War Era" look. the tower and Gift shop are gone, the parking lot pavement has been ripped up and the ground is being readied for grass to grow once again.Now that its gone many local residents feel that thier taxes will go up to make up for the lost revinue.The battle continues........

The Gettysburg National Tower

Weighing nearly 2,000,000 lbs. with 5 miles of steel connected by 14,000 bolts, the Gettysburg National Tower was anchored into granite with 15,000 tons of concrete. It rose 393 feet to the top of its flag pole in a patented, hyperbolic hourglass shape of 94 ft. base, 33 ft. waist and 70 ft. top. Certified against lightning damage and computer analyzed for safety, the carpeted, air-conditioned and heated capsule, holding 750 visitors, was reached by two elevators or 508 screened stairs. The breath-taking view was 307 feet above the historic terrain where Union and Confederate armies fought the largest battle on American soil in July 1863. There was a exciting dramatization of the most important Civil War battle.Some of the features were...

*Snack Shack, restrooms, free parking, picnic area

*High powered telescopes

*Foreign translations

*Accomodates the physically challenged




NOVEMBER (Friday thru Sunday) 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

PHONE/FAX: (717) 334-6754




999 Baltimore Pike

Gettysburg, PA 17325

PHONE/FAX: (717) 334-6754 ."

Tower all Gone
The Ground where the National Tower stood
December 2000.

National Park Service

Associated Press

Last Updated: July 4, 2000 at 5:40:04 p.m.

GETTYSBURG, Pa. - An observation tower that for years dominated the hallowed ground of Gettysburg was reduced to a crumpled heap of steel as part of a federal effort to return the site to the way it looked in 1863. The 393-foot Gettysburg National Tower was blown up with about 10 pounds of explosives on Monday, 137 years to the day of the battle that saved the Union. The battle of public opinion continued well after the fall of the 1970s structure hated by historic preservationists. ``I thought it was a joke for them to tear it down because it wasn't hurting anybody,'' said Jeffrey Gastley, a lifelong resident of Gettysburg. But Frank Marrone, a history buff and Civil War re-enactor from Pitman, N.J., called the tower an unwelcome sight, comparing it to ``building a tower on the pitcher's mound of Yankee Stadium.'' Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt led the countdown Monday while Civil War buffs staging an annual war reenactment fired off two artillery pieces, one Union and one Confederate, that were pointed at the tower. A moment later, as smoke from the cannons swirled, the explosives at the base of the tower were detonated, and the structure collapsed to cheers and shouts from spectators. The demolition came on the anniversary of the day after Union forces turned back a desperate assault by Confederate forces under the direct command of Gen. George Edward Pickett. For preservationists, the destruction of the tower was a fitting end for a structure many considered an abomination on a landscape that was dedicated by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address. ``To a preservationist, demolition is almost always an ugly word,'' Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. ``But not today. Today, we're doing something right.'' The $2.5 million tower, originally erected on private land on the edge of the national park, opened to tourists in 1974 after a legal tussle with park officials. Last month, a federal judge ruled the government could seize the site. The government set aside $3 million to compensate the owners. The tower consisted of a four-level viewing area in the shape of an octagon, supported by the latticework. Many of Gettysburg's nearly 2 million visitors a year took an elevator up the tower to get a bird's-eye view of the battlefield. The park service also plans to restore fences, orchards and lanes that were present in 1863 and remove modern buildings that sit on the battlefield. The demolition was opposed by the tower's designer and its former owners. ``It's not warranted,'' said Irwin Aronson, a lawyer for Overview Limited Partnership, which owned the tower. ``The tower was a classroom in the sky.'' .

The Explosives are set!
Inside the tower moments before its implosion.
Friends of Gettysburg
Now that the National Tower at Gettysburg is gone , we will dedicate this page to this highly contriversial landmark. If any one has photos of the tower from its beginning in 1974 til its removal in July of 2000 that you would like to share, send them in and I will post them on this page.

What are people saying about This site!

"I cant believe The Goverment knocked the National Tower Down.It just goes to show if they want it....they will find a way to get it"Miriam Jones--Wadesworth,FL

"Im glad the Tower is down. It did not belong there. We need to cut development of historic land"Andrew Marrone--McChord AFB,WA.

"Hooray the Tower is Gone!!!! "Jim Pegg--Tuska,AL

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