Gettysburg Farms & Buildings • Thompson House • Thompson House Interpretive Trail


The Restoring Seminary Ridge wayside marker is one of five on the grounds of the Thompson House, known as Lee’s Headquarters, on the north side of Chambersburg Road (US 30) on Seminary Ridge. (39°50’05.7″N 77°14’41.8″W; map)Restoring Seminary Ridge wayside marker on the Gettysburg battlefield

From the marker:

Lee’s Headquarters at Gettysburg

Restoring Seminary Ridge

“This is without a doubt the most important preservation effort we’ve yet undertaken.”
—Jim Lighthizer, President, Civil War Trust

In the decades after the battle, the Thompson House became a popular attraction among visitors interested in Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. In 1913, the Chambersburg Pike became part of the famed Lincoln Highway, which significantly increased automobile traffic and tourism to Gettysburg. A museum and gift shop were opened in the stone house with an adjacent campground on the property, followed by a boarding house and tourist cabins. By 1967, a large motel complex and restaurant surrounded the Thompson House.

In 2014, the Civil War Trust announced plans to purchase the entire complex and restore the site to its Civil War appearance. Restoration work began early in 2016 with archeological surveys followed by the removal of the restaurant, swimming pool, non-essential parking lots, and the motel complex. The Trust meticulously restored the 1863 landscape and Thompson house exterior. A non-historic structure atop the original Dustman barn foundation was removed. In the fall of 2016, the historic fences and the trail on which you stand were completed, all thanks to the generosity of the members and supporters of the Civil War Trust.

From the caption to the photo on the left:
The Thompson House, February 2013, before the Civil War Trust undertook landscape restoration. You are standing in the kitchen of the restaurant at right. – Courtesy Civil War Trust

From the caption to the photo in the center:
The museum and gift shop at Lee’s Headquarters was a popular attraction for almost a century. Courtesy Timothy H. Smith Colleciton

From the caption to the photo on the right:
This aerial photo shows the motel complex long before restoration. – Courtesy Adams County Historical Society

Closeup of the Restoring Seminary Ridge wayside marker on the Gettysburg battlefield