Andrew Banasik selected as superintendent of Antietam National Battlefield

News Release Washington: April 16/24

SBPA congratulates Andrew Banasik on achieving this position and wishes him well in his new role. Read the full announcement here: https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1465/andrew-banasik-selected-as-superintendent-of-antietam-national-battlefield.htm

EXCERPT: “As a long-time Civil War history enthusiast, I’m humbled to be chosen to care for such a consequential treasure of American history,” Banasik said. “I’m excited to bring my passion for caring for park staff and resources, serving our visitors, and partnering for the future.”

NPS Photo/ Kelsey Graczyk

Battle of Shepherdstown Tour

Saturday April 6th, as part of our Spring Fling Weekend

Record attendance at the Shepherdstown Battlefield Tour led by Author Thomas McGrath. Starting from the Osborn Farmhouse we experienced the battle in this 3.5 hour tour. Pictures by Mike Nickerson, SBPA President.


Battle Lecture by Author Thomas McGrath

Friday April 5th, as part of our Spring Fling Weekend:

About 50 people attended a lecture about the Battle of Shepherdstown given by Author Thomas McGrath at the Shepherdstown Opera House.

Bay State Blood and Valor: Massachusetts at the Battle of Shepherdstown “…the dramatic and often overlooked actions of the 18th & 22nd Massachusetts in the fighting during the Battle of Shepherdstown.”

Thanks to our co-sponsors the Historic Shepherdstown Museum, the George Tyler Moore Center and the Opera House.

Saturday April 6 is Park Day 2024

Join us this Saturday, April 6 to volunteer at a battlefield or historic site near you for Park Day 2024.

Since 1996, volunteers from across the country have joined forces with the American Battlefield Trust to help their local parks and historic sites tackle maintenance projects both large and small — from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and building trails. It’s a fun and meaningful way to lend a hand, and — in many cases — see the land that YOU have helped save.Since 1996, volunteers from across the country have joined forces with the American Battlefield Trust to help their local parks and historic sites tackle maintenance projects both large and small — from raking leaves and hauling trash to painting signs and building trails. It’s a fun and meaningful way to lend a hand, and — in many cases — see the land that YOU have helped save.

New Tour Brochure

We have just completed our NEW 2024 Self-Guided Tour Brochure with 20 stops! Much of this is a distillation of what the SBPA has accumulated over the many years of study of the battle, tours, comments from visitors, artifact identification, etc. 

The tour will enable us to have people physically visit the battle sites with limited investment of signage and time by us (though we are hoping to increase the signage this year).  Hopefully it will increase visitor numbers to the Battlefield and Shepherdstown.

Thanks to a strong and diligent SBPA editorial team, and exceptional graphics from Sean Maher of Attic Light Studios, Shepherdstown, we have a very nicely informative addition to further our efforts to get the word out for this to become a NPS National Battlefield. 

I would like to extend a sincere THANK YOU to Tom McGrath, Tom Clemens, Kevin Pawlak, Jim Broomall, Jerry Bock, Steve Alemar, Terry Lindsay and Sean Maher for their extended patience and attention to detail. 

New Maps of the Battle

Visit our Maps of the Battle of Shepherdstown page to see our NEW battle maps. There are 3 maps of the Battle of Shepherdstown: September 18-19, 1862; September 20 early morning; and September 20 late morning. 

Please take a moment and download this map file for your records. President Mike Nickerson will be presenting the new maps and tour in his Introduction to Tom McGrath for his talk at the Opera House on April 5 at 7 pm.

The page still contains our Maps from 2017 as a reference showing the historical progression as we learn new details.

Shepherdstown Battlefield Spring Fling Weekend on April 5 & 6/24

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Sponsored by the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association,
Historic Shepherdstown Museum, Jefferson County Historic Landmarks Commission,
and the Shepherdstown Opera House.

Battle of Shepherdstown History Talk

Friday, April 5, 2024 at 7 pm Shepherdstown Opera House

Author Thomas A. McGrath
Bay State Blood and Valor: Massachusetts at the Battle of Shepherdstown
Co-sponsored with the Historic Shepherdstown Museum and The Opera House

This is a great opportunity to learn about the dramatic and often overlooked actions of the 18th & 22nd Massachusetts in the fighting during the Battle of Shepherdstown. Reference: T.A. McGrath (2007) Shepherdstown: Last Clash of the Antietam Campaign.

Battle of Shepherdstown Clean-up Day

Saturday, April 6 from 9 am – noon at Riverside Park

Meet at the Riverside Park next to Boteler’s Cement Mill at River Road and Trough Road by 9 am. We will form 2 groups to clean up the Cement Mill (Union) and the Osbourn Farm (Confed-erate). At 11 am, competitive trash pickup by each group will converge at the crest of the fighting on Trough Road. Snacks and water will be available at lunch at the Osbourn Farm.

Battle of Shepherdstown Tour

Saturday, April 6 from 1 – 3 pm at the Osbourn Farmhouse lawn

Meet at the Farmhouse lawn at 1901 Trough Road by 12:30. Bring lunch or have light snacks. And be prepared for an epic Battlefield Tour by Professor McGrath. If you’ve ever thought about it, IT IS GO TIME to experience the battle. The Author for several hours, several miles and several hundred feet in elevation. Totally worth it! Dress appropriately.

See you April 5 and 6!
Reserve a spot by contacting the SBPA by text, 304-995-6975; email, [email protected]; mail, P.O. Box 1695, Shepherdstown, WV 25443; @ shepherdstownbattlefield.org;
Facebook @SBPA or just show up!

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Jefferson County Welcomes 57th and 58th Farms to Farmland Protection Program

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
Date: January 24, 2024

Contact: Elizabeth Wheeler, Director, Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board
email: [email protected]
web: www.wvfp.org/jefferson
(304) 724-1414 (office)
(304) 283-3129 Mobile

Jefferson County Welcomes 57th and 58th Farms to the Farmland Protection Program

On January 24, 2024 the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board completed conservation easements on Aspen Pool Farm and Cedar Cottage Farm, adding 303 acres to the county’s protected lands, bringing the total to 6,846 acres on 58 farms. The owners of the two farms voluntarily established the conservation easements on their property that maintain working lands, natural habitat and historic and rural open space in perpetuity.

The owners of the 150-acre Aspen Pool Farm received $486,234 from the Farmland Protection Board and $486,234 from the Department of Interior’s American Battlefield Protection Program for permanently retiring their development rights and donated $335,514 of the conservation value of their land.

Charles F. Printz Jr., owner of Aspen Pool Farm, remarked, “Our family is grateful that the protection of this beautiful farm, a process started by [my father] C. F. Printz, is now complete. Equally important, this is productive farmland – a diminishing county asset. Only the commitment to conserve land for future generations will honor the County’s past and sustain our vigilance for its future.”

Bordered by Trough and Engle Moler Roads in Shepherdstown, the newly protected 1and straddles Trough Road and abuts a protected farm on its eastern border. The majority of the property is open hayland and cropland that is actively farmed.

A portion of the property lies within the Battle of Antietam Study Area. The Battle of Antietam, known as the bloodiest day in American history, took place north and east of Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862. A. P. Hill from Harper’s Ferry took the road to reinforce the Confederate right flank, a key moment in the battle.

Aspen Pool Farm is significant for the Battle of Shepherdstown on September 19, 1862, as it was at this location that Confederate troops prepared for battle, and from which they launched the attack which drove back the Federal troops advancing south from the Potomac River. This rearguard battle discouraged Federal pursuit of Robert E. Lee’s defeated army back to Virginia and ended Lee’s Maryland Campaign. The corner of Engle Molers Road and Trough Road is marked by a Civil War Marker (#4), a stone obelisk installed by Confederate Veterans in 1910.

Administered by the National Park Service, the ABPP Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant aids in the permanent protection of hallowed battlefield land. The successful program also administers grant programs in Preservation Planning, Battlefield Interpretation and Battlefield Restoration. 

Located on Childs Road and Kearneysville Pike in Kearneysville, Mrs. Gloria Willis’ 153-acre Cedar Cottage Farm borders the Henshaw Farm in Middleway, which joined the Farmland Protection Program in 2011. Together the properties create a 226-acre block of protected farmland. Ms. Willis remarked, “I am very pleased to finally get my farm protected. Ten years ago, after my husband Gary passed, I starting noticing buildings with vinyl siding being thrown up everywhere with air guns. They are already falling apart. That beautiful land they put the houses on is destroyed, forever. There’s only so much land. They can’t make more, and if you don’t take care of it, it will be gone. My farm will continue producing grain crops as it has for many years. I may be gone tomorrow, but I am grateful to know my farm will stay a farm.” Mrs. Willis received $750,000 from the Farmland Protection Board for permanently retiring the development rights on her farm and donated $490,000 of the conservation value of the property.

Currently, the Board is working to complete conservation easements on five farms totaling 574 acres. Another two farms with a total of 277 acres are in the application process for matching funds.

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a conservation organization which landowners can use to retire development rights permanently on all or part of their land to protect its natural, agricultural, scenic and historic values. Landowners in turn receive funds for the development value of their land and retain full use and ownership of the land. Because an easement is perpetual, it is transferred with the property when it is sold or inherited, thereby protecting it forever.

Jefferson County’s commitment to farmland protection is reflected in the Jefferson County WV Envision Jefferson 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which states, “One goal of this Plan is to maintain productive farmland soils and the rural character and economy of the County by reducing the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural based uses.”

About the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board

The Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board was established in 2000 under state law (WV Code §8A-12 et seq.) that allows West Virginia counties to use a portion of the transfer tax on real estate to purchase development rights from landowners who wish to protect their land for agricultural purposes in perpetuity.

The Board partners with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, the American Battlefield Protection Program, the West Virginia Agricultural Land Protection Authority and other organizations that provide matching funds. “We also accept donations of all or part of easement sales,” said Program Director Elizabeth Wheeler, “Landowners may find a donation can allow a reduction in Federal income tax. The Board welcomes applications at any time but selects properties in November of each year for federal matching funds.”

For more information about the Jefferson County Farmland Protection Board, contact the Board at: 304/724-1414 or [email protected].