Does any one have photos to share of Gettysburg’s old Fort Defiance?

The old Fort Defiance tourist trap at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is shown in this 1972 photograph provided by Mike Waricher. In the summer of 1968, my parents took my sister and me to Gettysburg for our first overnight trip to Pennsylvania (little did I know then I would be living in the Keystone State as an adult and writing books on Gettysburg!). I remember that trip from southern Ohio with fondness! My sister Peggy and I enjoyed riding through the tunnels, and we stayed in a TraveLodge in Chambersburg. The following morning, we drove eastward on Route 30 to Gettysburg, and I will never forget the mystical experience of seeing the first monuments peering through the morning fog! I think that was the moment that I knew I was hooked.

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After touring the fort, my parents bought me a boxed set of Wm. Britains “Eyes Right” Swoppets 54mm Civil War figures (the Union set), with IIRC eight or so plastic figures with moveable arms, heads and waists. The body parts could readily be swapped between figures, adding variety for those hundreds of mock battles I later played in the sandbox in my Dad’s orchard.
Unfortunately, after my Dad passed away and we were sorting through old family photographs, we never found any from this first ever Gettysburg trip. Apparently we either did not bring along a camera, or the photos did not turn out. I seem to recall vaguely that Mom did take pictures, but the camera was left in the car’s window and the summer heat took care of exposing the film.
I still have the soldiers from that long ago vacation, and they bring back memories of happy times. Many of the old warriors are now missing arms, heads, rifles, and backpacks, a tribute to the hours of play from when I was a child, and then when my two sons were little.
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If you have any memories to share of Fort Defiance, please leave a comment below! And, if you have old photos, please send them to me at

Sadly, here’s what Fort Defiance now looks like…
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One Response to Does any one have photos to share of Gettysburg’s old Fort Defiance?

  1. kevin a kearns says:

    i went there as a kid in 1970s it was dusty and dirty and seemed on its way out-i remember the i sheet brochures had at the bottom something like a quarter off admission,about ten years or so i asked visitor center in town about what happened to it but nobody knew anything about it-i bought a old visitors guide at a flea market from 1972 and lo and behold there was an ad for it-i thoght for a while it was furthur south on taneytown road but right across from meades hq i didnt remember that-i go up steinwher ave whenever i go to gettysburg and saw the sippy dippin but had no idea that was the fort-thanks for pointing that out on this blog

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