|United States v. Gettysburg Electric Ry. Co.|
|Argued January 8–9, 1896|
Decided January 24, 1896
|Full case name||United States v. Gettysburg Electric Railway Company|
|Citations||160 U.S. 668 ( more )|
16 S. Ct. 427; 40 L. Ed. 576
|Eminent domain for historic preservation "seems" to be "a public use".|
|Majority||Peckham, joined by unanimous|
|Appropriation Acts of 1893 (March 3) & 1894 (August 18), 1895 "Sickles Gettysburg Park Bill" (28 Stat. 651)|
United States v. Gettysburg Electric Ry. Co., 160 U.S. 668 (1896), was a case to prevent trolley operations on the Gettysburg Battlefield. The dispute began in August 1891 when the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association's board approved attorney Samuel Swope's motion to deny trolley right-of-way along GBMA roads.Despite the 1896 US Supreme Court ruling that the railway could be seized for historic preservation, as well as earlier legislative efforts to appropriate federal acquisition funds, create a War Department commission, and form the Gettysburg National Military Park; the trolley continued operations until obsolete in 1916.
Near the end of the 19th century, tourists to the 1863 Gettysburg Battlefield typically arrived at the borough by train and paid fees for horse-drawn jitney taxis to travel over the battlefield on primitive wagon roads of the private Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association. The GBMA owned less than 600 acres (240 ha) of the battlefield's much larger area, and nearly all military engagement areas were privately owned and had twelve small GBMA-owned monument plots of 25 ft × 25 ft (7.6 m × 7.6 m). Some owners rented land for camping, sold souvenirs/refreshments, and by 1894 required top dollar prices for real estate purchases. :'93 Similarly, the original battlefield roads had fallen into disrepair after the GBMA funds had become nearly exhausted by late 1882. :4 Despite the preceding 1884 Round Top Branch steamtrain railroad that operated across the field of Pickett's Charge and Hancock Avenue to Round Top Station, an 1892 meeting next-door at the Round Top School formed an opposition committee of Cumberland Township voters (William H. Tipton was the only attendee favoring the trolley, and the township subsequently granted road right-of-way.)
The Gettysburg Park Commission (GPC) was established by the United States Department of War on March 3, 1893, '93 The Appropriations Act of 1893 on March 3 had funded $25,000, a June 9 supplemental act directed "acquisition and designation by tablets of the lines of battle", and the battlefield survey "was at once commenced" after topographer Emmor Cope was selected at the first commission meeting on July 1. :'93 Federal acquisition of land that would become the 1895 Gettysburg National Military Park began on June 2, 1893, with a tract of 0.387 acres (0.157 ha) from John H. Miller & wife. :315 By July 1893, GPC commissioner John B. Bachelder reported to the Secretary of War about battlefield railbed construction (notably planned along the west of The Angle's historic stone wall), and acting secretary Lewis A. Grant referred the complaint to the acting Judge Advocate General. [ who? ]for "ascertaining the extent of...the trolley" (trolley track construction began April 1893). :
Trolley right-of-way over the private 900 sq ft (84 m2) 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument tract at The Angle was denied by June 13, 1893; and the route was changed to instead use the Emmitsburg Road. During the July 2–3, 1893, New York Monuments Commission visit for dedicating the 44th New York monument with observation deck on Little Round Top, two altercations against photographer Tipton resulted in a writ by local judge McClean against General Daniel Sickles, General Daniel Butterfield, and two civil war colonels. The writ was followed by an August 2, 1893, trolley complaint to the commonwealth by the GBMA, Edward McPherson, and thirty-nine other citizens; and a counter petition by 268 Gettysburg and 58 Cumberland township citizens favoring the trolley. The PA Attorney General denied action after the subsequent hearing: "the right of owners of private property—whatever public interest may attach to it—to dispose of it to passenger railway corporations, cannot be disputed. ...the line itself...has been chosen with a view of affording tourists the best possible means of visiting and viewing this great battlefield and doing the least possible injury to its natural conditions".
Despite a lack of funds that halted construction in August 1893, 8.5 mi (13.7 km). The trolley system had been sold to a new owner in the month prior to passage of the February 11, 1895, "Sickles Gettysburg Park Bill" that authorized federal land acquisition to form the Gettysburg National Military Park. Also during the federal suit, the railway company became insolvent and Judge Dallas had placed it into receivership by September 1895.the railway began operations as early as September 1893 and was completed to Tipton Park and Round Top Park in 1894. Also despite the lawsuit, a new trolley powerhouse was built to replace the original in the borough that had burnt down by January 22, 1895, and by October 1895 total trackage was
US v. Gett. Elec. Ry. Co. began with the GBMA's April 7, 1894, bill in equity to block trolley use of a particular railway section over Hancock Avenue [ where? ] of 7.02 acres (2.84 ha) of land on May 3, 1894; and the trolley company responded with a bill in equity to stop the US eminent domain acquisition c. June 11. The US motion to stop construction was dismissed c. June 20 by Judge Dallas of the United States Circuit Court: "powers of congress are distinctly enumerated in the constitution, and in that enumeration none is included to which the uses for which it is proposed to condemn this land can be related, without, in my opinion, enlarging the constitutional grant by grafting upon its express terms a construction so lax and comprehensive as to be subversive of its limited character."as recommended by the 72nd PA Infantry committee in 1893: "set aside spots right in the route of the trolley". Likewise, the US District Attorney of a strip
Judge Dallas swore in the jury of Adams County residents on June 29, 1894; '94 On November 3, 1894, the jury identified $30,000 "as the measure of damage that would be done the Trolley by the proposed change".The Star and Sentinel - Google News Archive Search Both parties appealed the jury amount as too high/low (the company on November 12, 1894), :'94 and the company agreed on November 13 to move tracks from the vicinity of Devil's Den and Tipton Station if the expense would be paid (refused c. December 4). The US attorney Ellery P. Ingham filed an additional petition for condemning a second tract[ where? ] in January 1895, which along with his June 7 petition were denied by the Philadelphia federal court. The 1896 reversal by the Supreme Court of the United States ruled historic preservation "seems" to be "a public use".and the local hearing in front of the jury was September 11–15 after which "they adjourned for argument in Philadelphia." :
"The impression in the town" was the Secretary of War would not pay the $30,000 nor "take further steps" to acquire the railway, '01—acquired 2 William H. Tipton tracts of 14.2 acres (5.7 ha) on December 31, 1901. :321 In 1908, Borough of Gettysburg vs. Gettysburg Transit Co. required trolley payment of "car tax" assessed after the company failed to perform agreed maintenance of borough streets (reversed August 1908). In 1909, C. Taylor Leland vs. The Gettysburg Transit Company ordered a trustee's auction in the foreclosure of the 1898 mortgage (purchased in September), and an injury lawsuit was initiated for trolley cars colliding on August 15 near Devil's Den. Trolley operations ended in November 1916 when the railway had become obsolete with disrepair and increased use of battlefield avenues that had been improved with War Department Telford piking.and the trolley operated even after the Commission—following a May 7 federal hearing :
Congressional funding for the seizure failed in an attempted amendment on February 26, 1917.After annual trolley operations on the battlefield hadn't commenced in the spring, the First Army Appropriations Act of 1917 funded $30,000 on May 9 for the "practically abandoned property". Instead of paying damages to the trolley company, the funds paid for removing the tracks and acquiring the associated landowners' tracts (most had been deeded to the US years earlier).
Remnants of the trolley were entered-documented in 2004 as historic contributing structures of the Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District.Similar eminent domain acquisitions include the 1904 United States v. Five Tracts of land that seized land near Reynolds Grove and, on September 18, 1905, Cunningham Grove. The 1974 Gettysburg National Tower, which was on private land not used for military engagements and which had been granted use of federal land, was seized in 2000 and demolished due to its appearance.
Gettysburg National Cemetery is a United States national cemetery created for Union/Federal casualties of the July 1 to 3, 1863 Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War (1861–1865). It is located just outside Gettysburg Borough to the south, in Adams County, Pennsylvania. The land was part of the Gettysburg Battlefield, and the cemetery is within Gettysburg National Military Park administered by the National Park Service of the United States Department of the Interior.
The Gettysburg Battlefield is the area of the July 1–3, 1863, military engagements of the Battle of Gettysburg within and around the borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Locations of military engagements extend from the 4-acre (1.6 ha) site of the first shot at Knoxlyn Ridge on the west of the borough, to East Cavalry Field on the east. A military engagement prior to the battle was conducted at the Gettysburg Railroad trestle over Rock Creek, which was burned on June 27.
The Gettysburg National Military Park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the park is managed by the National Park Service. The GNMP properties include most of the Gettysburg Battlefield, many of the battle's support areas during the battle, and several other non-battle areas associated with the battle's "aftermath and commemoration", including the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Many of the park's 43,000 American Civil War artifacts are displayed in the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center.
Devils Den is a boulder-strewn hill on the south end of Houck's Ridge at Gettysburg Battlefield, once used by artillery and infantry on the second day of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. A tourist attraction since the memorial association era, several boulders are worn from foot traffic and the site includes numerous cannon, memorials, and walkways, including a bridge spanning two boulders.
The Brian Farm is an American Civil War area of the Gettysburg Battlefield used during the Pickett's Charge. On January 23, 2004, the farm's buildings, Boundary Stone Wall, and ID tablet were designated historic district contributing structures after the tract was used for the 1918 Camp Colt and other postbellum camps.
The Gettysburg Battlefield Historic District is a district of contributing properties and over 1000 historic contributing structures and 315 historic buildings, located in Adams County, Pennsylvania. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 19, 1975. Most of the contributing elements of the Gettysburg Battlefield are on the protected federal property within the smaller Gettysburg National Military Park.
Round Top is a populated place in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, near Little Round Top. It is notable for two Battle of Gettysburg hospitals, the 1884 Round Top Station, and several battlefield commemorative era attractions such as Round Top Park and the Round Top Museum. The unincorporated community lies on an elevated area of the north-south Taneytown Road with 3 intersections at Blacksmith Shop Road to the northeast, Wheatfield Road, and Sachs Road.
The Gettysburg Electric Railway was a borough trolley that provided summer access to Gettysburg Battlefield visitor attractions such as military engagement areas, monuments, postbellum camps, and recreation areas. Despite the 1896 Supreme Court ruling under the Takings Clause against the railway, battlefield operations continued until 1916. The trolley generating plant was leased by the Electric Light, Heat, and Power Company of Gettysburg to supply streetlights and homes until electricity was imported from Hanover.
The Angle is a Gettysburg Battlefield area which includes the 1863 Copse of Trees used as the target landmark for Pickett's Charge, the 1892 monument that marks the high-water mark of the Confederacy, a rock wall, and several other Battle of Gettysburg monuments.
The 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument is an 1891 statuary memorial on the Gettysburg Battlefield. It is located on Cemetery Ridge, by The Angle and the copse of trees, where Union forces – including the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry – beat back Confederate forces engaged in Pickett's Charge.
Emmor Cope was an American Civil War officer of the Union Army noted for the "Map of the Battlefield of Gettysburg from the original survey made August to October, 1863", which he researched by horseback as a sergeant after being ordered back to Gettysburg by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade. Cope is also noted for commemorative era battlefield administration and designs, including the layout of the 1913 Gettysburg reunion. Cope had enlisted as a Private of Company A,, temporarily detached to Battery C, 5th U.S. Artillery, and mustered out as a V Corps aide-de-camp of Maj Gen Gouverneur K. Warren.
The Wheatfield Road is a Gettysburg Battlefield crossroad from the Peach Orchard east-southeastward along the north side of The Wheatfield, north of the Valley of Death, and over the north foot of Little Round Top. In addition to modern tourist use, the road is notable for Battle of Gettysburg use and postbellum trolley use associated with the 1892-1896 US v. Gettysburg Electric Ry. case of the US Supreme Court.
Tipton Station was a Gettysburg Battlefield trolley stop of the Gettysburg Electric Railway for passenger access to Crawford's Glen to the north, Devil's Den (west), and Tipton Park (east). The station was established during the 1894 construction of the end of the trolley line and was near the Devil's Den trolley siding, south of the trolley's Warren Avenue crossing, and northeast of the Plum Run trolley bridge. An uphill trail led southwest to Big Round Top with its 1895 Observation Tower, and the "Slaughter Pen Path and Steps" were built to Devil's Den.
The Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association (GBMA) was an historic preservation membership organization and is the eponym for the battlefield's memorial association era. The association was chartered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on April 13, 1864, after attorney David McConaughy recommended on August 14, 1863, a preservation association to sell membership stock for battlefield fundraising. McConaughy transferred his land acquired in 1863 to the GBMA, and the association's boardmembers were initially local officials. The GBMA sold stock to raise money, hired a superintendent at $1000/yr, added to McConaughy's land holdings, and operated a wooden observation tower on East Cemetery Hill from 1878–95.
Round Top Station was the southernmost station of the Gettysburg and Harrisburg Railroad and was located west of a blacksmith shop along the Taneytown Road that was in operation in 1880.
McPherson Ridge is a landform used for military engagements during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, First Day, when the I Corps had a headquarters on the ridge and was defeated by the Confederate division of Major General Henry Heth. The ridge has terrain above ~530 ft (160 m) and is almost entirely a federally protected area except for township portions at the southern end and along Pennsylvania Route 116, including a PennDOT facility. The northern end is a slight topographic saddle point on the west edge of Oak Ridge, and summit areas above 560 ft (170 m) include 4 on/near the Lincoln Highway, a broader summit south of the Fairfield Road, and the larger plateau at the northern saddle.
Round Top Park was a Gettysburg Battlefield excursion park of 15 acres (6.1 ha) east of Little Round Top near the end of the Round Top Branch and owned by the Gettysburg & Harrisburg Railroad. In addition to amusements, the park provided services during the memorial association era for steamtrain and trolley tourists visiting nearby military sites of the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Gettysburg Springs Hotel was a Gettysburg Battlefield tourist site in the area of the first day of combat. The hotel was on the east side of Herr Ridge at the western terminus of the Gettysburg Spring Railroad and near the Katalysine Springs.
Rose Woods is a Gettysburg Battlefield forested area that is an American Civil War site of the battle's Hood's Assault, McLaws' Assault, and McCandless' Advance. "Scene of the first line of Union defenses" on the Battle of Gettysburg, Second Day; the 1st Texas Infantry and 3rd Arkansas Infantry Regiments attacked Ward's 2nd Brigade line in the woods. The last combat on the Battle of Gettysburg, Third Day, was "in the early evening. Colonel William McCandless's brigade of Pennsylvania Reserves advanced across the Wheatfield into Rose's Woods where they managed to inflict heavy losses on the 15th Georgia" which had failed to retreat to Warfield Ridge after Longstreet's Assault. Two days later Timothy H. O'Sullivan photographed corpses moved for burial to the edge of Rose Woods and which were subsequently reinterred in cemeteries.
Gen. Gobin and W. C. Sheely Esq. representing the Gettysburg Electric Rail Way Company appeared before the Board and asked the right of way over the Association's grounds and along the several Avenues marking the lines of battle. On motion of S. Mc. Swope Esq the request was not granted and the secretary was directed to so notify said Company.(cited by Unrau p. 64) NOTE: In 1894 during the trolley suit, Swope became a judge.
land sold on what is now the battlefield has sold within my recollection from $40 to as high as $300 per acre, and that the value incident to improvements brought about by the battle, has no doubt enhanced the value of all the land on the field, and there is no just reason why the owners who suffered should not be paid a full value for its appropriation by the Government.
Theodore McAllister was chosen Prest.; Levi Plank, Vice-prest., and John C. Shriver, Secretary. ... Speeches were made by James Hersh, Harvey D. Bream, John C. Shriver, David Mehring, Robert Bream, Levi Plank and Wm. H. Tipton. ... Messrs. Hersh, Harry D. Bream and Theodore McAllister were chosen the committee. ... N.M. Horner [and] Nicholas Reddingalso attended (1892 Gettysburg Compiler, 1942 Out of the Past articles)
refusal of the Seventy-second Pennsylvania Regiment Association to allow the railway to pass over a small plot of ground owned--but not used--by this association ... 'general operations act' of 1874(published in Gettysburg Times, August 15)
The commission held its first meeting at the Eagle Hotel in Gettysburg Wednesday evening
"said act of Congress was simply to indicate by means of tablets the lines of battle and the general positions occupied by the two armies. It was not intended to mark each and every position assumed by each and every part of the two bodies throughout the three days of the battle. Such an attempt would be impracticable, confusing and valueless.(Attorneys Hart, Hebner, & David Wills)
Mr. W. H. Tipton, President of the Town Council,... As for Little Round Top it was bare of timber at the time of the battle and the Association has simply removed the growth of almost 30 years. ... The regiment has declined to sell... The following is the route of the road... The Reading's Round Top Branch, taken with the power of eminent domain ... have to...persuade the authorities of Cumberland township to grant them the Taneytown road.
Work is about to be commenced on Little Round Top. From the [Round Top Park] dance house... Acting Secretary Grant referred this report...to Col. Lieber ... Attention is invited to the act of the Pennsylvania Legislature of two years ago giving the authority to condemn land etc., and also to the general authority by Congress to the War Department to condemn lands for National Cemeteries. ... The trolley people propose to build a station just where Hancock was wounded. ... Seven hundred to a thousand tents will be pitched on East Cemetery Hill
has made embankments and laid its tracks along the Valley of Death and up a part of the slope of Round Top itself. It connects with the Round Top railroad at a point immediately in rear of the warehouse at Round Top station.
owing to sundry misfortunes and the embarrassment brought about by litigations, the company has become insolvent and has a floating indebtedness of upward of $10,000, which it is wholly unable at present to pay.
Common Pleas List....William H. Tipton vs. Daniel E. Sickels. [sic]--Trespass
May 3 ... District Attorney presented a petition ... asking for the condemnation
The land described in the petition is adjacent to the Gettysburg National cemetery. ... This battle-field is of transcendent national interest. The ground is hallowed and made sacred by the blood shed upon it at the most important epoch in the nation's history--in the supreme hour of its life.(dissenting opinion, PA Judge Butler)
George Stonesifer of Littlestown; David Rhoads, Freedom township; Alexander S. Hines, New Oxford; David P. Forney, Conewago township; Thomas G. Neely, Huntingdon township; Peter Kready, Hamilton township, and A. Fleming White, Freedom township.
the Company will very gladly agree to the changes desired, approximately as indicated on the blue prints hereto attached
The impression in the town is that the Secretary of War will be both unwilling and unable to accept this award and that he will decline to take further steps
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania...reversing the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Adams county.
Amos Leister tracts ['96,'02, 0.14 acres], the F. G. Pfeifer tracts [tbd], the Jacob Benner estate tract [tbd], the Simon J. Godori tract ['94, 0.55], the Jacob Masonheimer tract ['93, 0.59], the Annie E. Beecher tract [tbd], the Rosanna E. Wible tract ['09, 15.48], the James W. Timbers tract [tbd], the S. W. Crawford tracts [tbd], the William H. Tipton tract [tbd], the Calvin P. Krise tract ['04, 3.85], the George Bushman tract [tbd], and the Peter D. Swisher tract ['01, 9.2]
[rail] trail along Plum Run at Devils Den, runs N through Rose Farm & stops near The Loop. Pair of cut stone block abutments over Rose Run, 5' high, 25' long & approx 10' apart.
...John C. Group, of Idaville, and David Maring, of Cumberland township, have been appointed a jury of viewers to condemn five tracts of land on the battlefield, ten acres owned by Mrs. Cunningham near Round Top and four tracts belonging to the Land Improvement Co. near Reynolds Grove along Chambersburg. pike.