The Union Hotel was established
on this site in 1854. Little did the owner, Zephaniah Herbert
know that in just a few years this country would be at war.
In July 1863, 75,000 confederate soldiers and 97,000 Union
soldiers converged on this sleepy little town of Gettysburg.
What happened during those three short days changed the
course of the war, our nation's history and the town of
After the first days fighting on July 1, the confederate
troops took control of the town. All public buildings were
flooded with wounded soldiers from both the north and south.
The Union Hotel, Christ Lutheran Church located across the
street and many private homes were occupied with soldiers.
This building was used as a hospital, with the basement
serving as an operating room.
Gettysburg, a community of 2,400 was overrun with 51,000
wounded and dead soldiers. In addition thousands of family
members swarmed upon the town to see the battlefields, search
for fallen loved ones and to offer help. Gettysburg ran
out of fresh water, as it was easier to throw amputated
limbs into a well than it was to bury them. It took months
to get the community back on its feet and Gettysburg was
never the same. The hotels were never the same and literally
on July 4, 1863 Gettysburg added a new industry in town
and that was the tourism business. Many town hotes and taverns
began to expand their businesses to accommodate those travelers
coming to see our famous battlefield.