Next week, Gettysburg celebrates Remembrance Day, commemorating Pres. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. When you’re in town for the event, why not stop by the David Wills House, which will be open for select days and times.
David Wills was an attorney at the time of the battle. During the aftermath, as the townspeople discussed what to do with the thousands of soldiers killed and how to see them properly buried, Wills designed the cemetery that would become the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. His design was carefully planned. Arcs of graves extend from a center monument. The rings are divided into wedges, one for each Union state, giving equal weight to each state, whether big or small. That way, no one state could say their dead were closer to the monument in the center. All were equally important.
When Pres. Lincoln came into Gettysburg on the evening of November 18, 1863, he spent the night at the Wills house. The next day at the dedication of the Cemetery, his gave his speech that we now know as the Gettysburg Address. When you visit the Wills House today, you can see the room where he stayed, restored to its 1863 appearance.
The house will be open 11/18, 11/19, and 11/20 (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), from 1:00-5:00 p.m. Please note: due to COVID guidelines, occupancy is limited, so you probably want to call ahead and see if they require reservations. Also, because it is a National Park Service building, masks are required.
It’s been a while since the Wills House was open (pre-COVID), so this coming weekend is a great chance for you to finally visit! While we’re on the topic of historic houses, don’t forget the Shriver House and the reopened Eisenhower Farm!