ALBUMEN PHOTO OF AN EARLY AUTO TOUR OF THE GETTYSBURG BATTLEFIELD AT DEVILS DEN

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Item Code: 1054-267

A rather charming photo of two cars of tourists paused at Devils Den probably about 1929. Each car holds a driver and six passengers: a mixed group of men, women, and children. The cars seem to be a Model T Touring Car (perhaps 1925 or 1927.) The drivers both wear the same type of cap and are likely early licensed battlefield guides. Starting in the 1880s improved rail service had brought in increasing numbers of visitors, which the advent of the automobile only added to. Guiding them around the field was something of a free-for-all until 1915 when a “guide school” was established under the park commission and War Department, badges were introduced for licensed guides, and unlicensed imposters might have the opportunity to learn about the local jail.

Guide badges were replaced by numbered wreath hat insignia in 1929, which might help date our photo since the drivers wear similar caps, pushed back somewhat on their heads. In the rear vehicle the driver seems to have courteously offered to hold a baby for the photo. A fellow in the rear seat of the vehicle wears a hat similar to the drivers’ and may be part of the guide operation as well. In the background are the large boulders of Devil’s Den, always an attraction as a natural wonder as well as marking the left of the advanced Union line on July 2.  [SR]

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