Demolition work has begun on the landmark building that once housed the famous Cyclorama painting at Gettysburg National Military Park.
The Cyclorama building is being torn down in order to rehabilitate North Cemetery Ridge on the Gettysburg battlefield to its historic appearance.
“I think it's long overdue,” said Barry Ridel, a Civil War re-enactor who stopped by to see the demolition work. “It needed to come down. Too much money to repair it. They never could put anything in it.”
The 50-year-old building was once a landmark of the park and was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but was built near the center of the Union battle line where forces repelled the infamous Confederate infantry charge named after Maj. Gen. George Pickett.
“The design and all, it really is not the facility, not the place for it, especially in this hallowed ground,” said Bob DeFayette, who lives next to the battlefield. “This is out of place.”
The restored mural of Pickett's Charge was relocated to the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center in 2008.
The Cyclorama building was slated for demolition years ago, but a U.S. District Court in March 2010, in response to a lawsuit filed by a group seeking to save the building, directed the National Park Service to look at alternatives, including a new use for the building at its current site or moving the building to a new location.
The Park Service said public comments gathered after the court order did not warrant any change in plans, and decided to move forward with the demolition once again in January.
Funds for the work were provided by the park's non-profit partner, the Gettysburg Foundation.
The demolition work is expected to be completed in time for events marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle.