17 August 2010 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 58 comments

With thanks to regular reader Barry Dussel for bringing this horrifying news to my attention….

Once upon a time, the Gettysburg Battlefield Protection Association really stood for battlefield preservation. It fought long and hard against the loss of the railroad cut on the first day’s battlefield–I even offered my professional services to help in that fight as a young lawyer–and it saved the Daniel Lady Farm, which although little fighting took place there, was an important spot linking the Benner’s Hill area to the Culp’s Hill sector of the battlefield. The organization did great work then.

That, however, was then. This is now. And now, the GBPA has sold its soul to the devil by coming out in favor of the casino proposal. Here’s the horrifying press release:

Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association Endorses Mason-Dixon Resort Project

Gettysburg – The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association (GBPA) today announced its support of the proposed Mason-Dixon Resort project.

The GBPA is the oldest Civil War preservation group in the nation. Since its inception 50 years ago, the land the GBPA has secured over the years now constitutes one-third of the present day Gettysburg National Military Park, a park visited by nearly two million visitors a year.

Brendan Synnamon, GBPA president, said the group’s board of directors initially determined to take no position on the project last January but, after months of learning project details, voted to support it.

“The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association would not support a commercial project that would use or impinge upon the battlefield. This has been a longstanding Association policy and this has not changed,” Synnamon said.

“In this case, the Eisenhower Conference Center, located well south of the Battlefield and which would be converted into the Mason-Dixon Resort, already exists as a commercial facility and the resort would not go beyond its already existing boundaries. This is a far different circumstance than taking open, undeveloped space near the battlefield and building all new structures. The existing Eisenhower Conference Center has never interfered with nor detracted from the Gettysburg Battlefield and its reuse as the Mason-Dixon Resort likewise will not interfere nor detract from the Gettysburg Battlefield,” Synnamon stated.

“Our primary mission and focus are on preservation,” asserted Synnamon. “We find, after very thorough review, that the proposed Mason-Dixon Resort project does not represent a preservation issue. The property site under discussion played no significant role in the three-day engagement.”

“The Board of Directors of the GBPA regard the proposed project as a local issue. The board is aware that the economy of the Gettysburg area and Adams County is hurting. We need jobs. We need more private investment. We could use additional visitation. The Mason-Dixon Resort offers all these things and would do so without one square inch of battlefield or nearby undeveloped open space being developed,” Synnamon said.

He added: “A stronger local economy is helpful to the cause of preservation. Preservation does not exist in a vacuum. Our local preservation work cannot thrive absent a local economy that helps induce and support it.”

“What is more, the proposed project is not on the scale and scope of what exists at large casinos. The Mason-Dixon Resort would have no more than 600 slot machines and 50 table games, which is considerably smaller than attractions at the large casinos.”

Synnamon said “It is the GBPA board’s belief that the Resort will draw more people to visit the Gettysburg area and encourage them to stay longer because there will be more to see and do here, not only with the resort but with the non-gaming components of the resort and the surrounding region from Biglerville south to the Mason-Dixon Line, and from Cashtown east to Wrightsville.

“In addition to the direct positive impact on jobs, the added visitors and visitor hours the resort will encourage will also bring in new tax and other revenues to the local communities and county.”

On the question of whether the proposed project would affect heritage tourism, the GBPA Board strongly believes the Gettysburg Battlefield has a unique position among all Civil War-related sites. It is considered the place where the tide of the war changed. It is considered the most significant battle of the War, and led to President Lincoln’s defining the Union cause in honoring the dead at Gettysburg.

“Our heritage-based tourism exists because of this and this does not change,” added Synnamon. “The battlefield, this hallowed ground, will always be here, and so should economically sound communities around it .” Synnamon stated.

This statement from casino opponents sums it all up: “This is the second time that the GBPA’s stance contrasts with the stance of every national and statewide battlefield preservation organization,” said No Casino head Susan Star Paddock. “Their statement contrasts with world-renown historians and they are the smallest preservation group by far.”

She quite correctly added, “I don’t understand what the GBPA is hoping to accomplish by courting favors for casino investors.” Precisely. It’s called selling one’s soul to the Devil.

Let’s examine the hypocrisy of that, shall we?

The Lady Farm, which saw little fighting, and is more than a mile from Culp’s Hill is worthy of saving, but actual battlefield land half a mile south of the park boundary isn’t? Say what?

I can’t help but wonder whose palm got greased here, what unholy deal was cut by the board of the GBPA to sell its soul to the devil.

I can tell you this, though: I will NEVER support the organization again, and bringing it down is now one of my prime motivations. What’s more, I vigorously encourage every one of my readers to let these Judases know precisely what you think of their sell-out. Withdraw your support. Turn off the funding spigot, and instead send those funds to a REAL battlefield preservation organization, the CWPT.


Scridb filter


  1. Barry Dussel
    Tue 24th Aug 2010 at 8:56 am

    Please remember it is just not the GBPA that did this. it’s their Board. Keep this in mind. Do some research. Find out who those board members are, how they stood on this. Then of those who stood Pro Casino / Anti-Preservation find out how they make their Livlihood, where they work, etc. If they own a business such as Brendan & Bill Synnamon . Boycott their business . It’s time to wage economic warfare against those that would steal our heritage . It’s time to hit those that prostitute the lives and memories of the B’hoy’s of 61 in the only place that they care about. It’s time to spread the word amongst our community. No more donations for GBPA, No more business for The Union Drummerboy, The Union Cigar shop , and Café Saint-Amand when in Gettysburg . If you are from the region boycott LeVans BFHD if you are contemplating a scoot. There are plenty other Motorcycle shops that would welcome the business . Granted the Synnamon’s and Levan , GBPA aren’t the only ones to target but they are the most prolific currently . As others come to light they to need to be boycotted .

  2. Tue 24th Aug 2010 at 11:56 am

    Thanks so much for posting about the money slipped to the GBEA (Gettysburg
    Battlefield Exploitation Assoc) under the table by LeVan. Members never knew about this. It makes the entire organization stink like 5,000 corpses on a battlefield. What I regret is that I’ve eaten at Brenden’s bistro a couple times, and now I’d like to go throw up.
    The GBEA should be disbanded, and I also regret saying good words about them in my latest book “The Complete Gettysburg Guide” – rest assured I will be removing that verbage in future editions. I’ve been swindled by them like everyone elso who treasures the battlefield. It won’t happen again.


  3. Barry Dussel
    Fri 27th Aug 2010 at 10:31 am

    A bit of Good News from Adams County …
    It has become Public knowledge that the NPS will accquire 95 acres of the former Gettysburg Country Club. 15 acres of the site, to include the Club House, Tennis Courts will remain as is for the foreseeable future.

  4. George Long
    Mon 30th Aug 2010 at 9:34 pm

    This is about the worst representation of a group of people that I have seen. Perhaps they have forgotten their name. Let us hope and pray that this doesn’t continue, especially for the fight at the Wilderness against WalMart. Our battles seem to be mounting to preserve the ground our relatives fought so hard to gain in battle. As a member of the CWPT, this is really very upsetting and disturbing news to me, as well as other members. We must stand our ground.

  5. Linda L.
    Wed 01st Sep 2010 at 12:52 pm

    If you know who funds and manages that “preservation” organization, please let us know. The organization’s failure to list the information on its website suggests they may be hiding conflicts of interest

    Our news media should be reporting details like those when they write about the organization; instead, they leave us all in the dark.

  6. Barry Dussel
    Wed 01st Sep 2010 at 4:29 pm

    In the past goodly amounts of cash, etc have been put into the “GBDA” coffers by Mr. LeVan. I’m certain if the books were ever open there would be links to Mr. LeTorre and of course the Synammons.

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