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There are few more iconic images in our nation’s collective memory than that of the 1863 Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, which took place in Adams County, a rural community nestled in south-central Pennsylvania. To this day, the land remains a hallowed place where soldiers courageously fought to honor their convictions and where local residents rose to the occasion to provide soldiers with care and comfort regardless of their political and religious beliefs. Today, area businesses and community and civic leaders remain dedicated to preserving and promoting the importance of the historic event and the quality of life in the region.
With the pending 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, many observances are being planned. One of the most poignant is the restoration of Schmucker Hall, part of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (LTSG). The 180-year-old building, which some historians believe is one of the most significant structures to survive the battle, will be converted into an accredited history museum to be named the Seminary Ridge Museum (SRM), in honor of its use as a watchtower and hospital during the battle. The museum will feature exhibits describing the first day of the battle, Civil War-era medicine and battlefield hospitals, local religious life, and the African American culture in the region at the time.
PNC served as a one-stop shop — an investor and lender that had the financial expertise and commitment to bring this large-scale project to fruition in a rural area where such complex initiatives tend to be rare and, because of that, the technical experience tends to be limited as well.
From left to right are the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg’s Valentine Hall, which contains administrative offices and classrooms; Schmucker Hall, which is being restored and converted into the Seminary Ridge Museum; and a chapel, which is officially called the Church of the Abiding Presence.
This project was particularly complex because it included large capital needs, a number of supporting organizations, and a desire to link the opening of the museum to next year’s commemorative celebrations.
The total cost of the project was $16,349,428. This is inclusive of placement and professional fees and included the following partners:
The venture is expected to generate $23 million in local commerce during the construction period and $5 million annually in tourism spending. When completed, the SRM will employ 13 people and create 30 additional jobs in rural Adams County.2
“This is an example of an investment by CCG that will help preserve a building of considerable historical value while also providing an immediate and long-term stimulus to the local economy,” said Brian A. Hudson, Sr., CCG chairman and executive director of the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.
Based on its experience with this project, PNC offers four points of counsel for others pursuing the application of NMTCs for rural development initiatives:
An image circa the Civil War shows the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg’s historic Schmucker Hall, which is being restored and converted into the Seminary Ridge Museum.
Jim Hoehn, PNC regional president, central Pennsylvania, observed that “maintaining a historical icon with the added benefit of fostering economic development in a rural market provides a unique opportunity to maximize the benefits of the varying layers of the NMTC initiative. Through this effort, PNC is proud to help to safeguard the legacy and vital record of the nation’s history while sharing the story of the region’s contributions to preserving our nation.”
For information, contact Christopher Rockey, vice president of community development banking at PNC, at 717-425-7891 or firstname.lastname@example.org ; http://www.seminaryridge.org/ . Rockey served as PNC’s lead staff member on the Gettysburg project.