The Campaign to Save Richard Neutra's
Cyclorama Building at Gettysburg

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Landscape Preservation and Interpretation:
Issues of Use, Historical Experience, and Myth at
Gettysburg National Military Park

Nathan Jefferson Riddle
(document posted with permission)

"The Gettysburg park staff tendentiously approached writing the DOE with the intention of portraying the building’s mechanical and maintenance problems as inherent design flaws. The motive of the park service was to portray the building as a lesser, pitiful example of Neutra’s work, designed when he was in poor health and at the end of his partnership with Robert Alexander. Based upon an anti-modern conceit of the park Superintendent, the analysis is slanted and misleading. Latschar’s intentions and the arguments used to support his proposals pose dangers more general than to just Neutra’s building. The National Park Service acts as a preservation mentor for the nation, and in this regard, if the argument becomes accepted that the technical failings of a structure render that work of negligible significance, then the country would lose many cherished architectural icons."

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree
Master of Science in Historic Preservation
Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation
Columbia University, May 1999

Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. History, Preservation, Landscapes, and the Present

  • A) Public Memory.....4
  • B) Problems Associated With Landscape Preservation.....14
  • C) Purposes of History and Landscape Preservation.....17

III. Landscape Theory

  • A) Landscape and Narrative.....20
  • B) Naturalization.....25
  • C) Visualism.....29
  • D) Interpretation.....32

IV. Commemorative Landscapes

  • A) General Theory.....35
    • 1) Authorship.....35
    • 2) Naturalization.....38
  • B) Brief History of Landscapes Commemorative of the Civil War.....41

    • 1) The Nineteenth Century.....42
    • 2) The Turn of the Century to World War II.....47
    • 3) 1945 to 1999.....51

V. Gettysburg National Military Park

  • A) History of the Park After July 1-3, 1863.....57
  • B) The Management Plan.....75
  • C) Richard Neutra’s Cyclorama Building.....78
  • D) Landscape Restoration.....103
  • E) The Commemorative Landscape.....115

VI. Conclusion.....135


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This site composed and administered by Christine Madrid French 2004.