Remodeling project has historic walls talking in Gettysburg

The walls of a historic building overlooking the Gettysburg battlefield are talking after a renovation project uncovered dozens of artifacts that had been hidden away since the Civil War.

The relics were recently discovered within the walls of Schmucker Hall on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary, a former dormitory that not only withstood some of the heaviest fighting during the bloody battle but was also a makeshift hospital for wounded soldiers, as work began to turn the building into a museum.

“It's interesting because, in the beginning, we were talking about how the walls were within the walls of this historic building and we had no idea actually the walls themselves would talk to us,” said Barbara Franco, Director of the Seminary Ridge Museum.

While the artifacts may not be of great monetary value, the find is a virtual treasure trove for historians. Shoes left behind by construction workers for good luck, medicine bottles such as “Dr. Pretzel's Genuine German Bitters,” and letters to soldiers who fought at Gettysburg were discovered throughout the building.

Franco said the relics could provide researchers with more information on the history of the seminary and the battle.

“History is like a puzzle,” she said. “Sometimes you just get one piece and then you want to see how does it fit in with another piece.”

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