|Title:||Magazine; "The Gettysburg Then and Now Companion."|
This photograph of the Gettysburg - Bonneauville Road depicts the horrendous but typical conditions of local roads during the 19th Century
This photograph is identified by William A. Frassanito as: “The Town of Gettysburg From Benner’s Hill, Tipton Plate #380, 1888, (ACHS).”
On maps of Civil War times the road is named; Bonaughtown Road, Hanover Road, Hanover Pike etc. The east to west route is now State Route 116.
For business, shopping, pleasure, visiting or accessing the railroad station, Rt. 116 is the shortest route for Bonneauville residents who needed to travel to Gettysburg, PA. This outstanding photograph preserves well, what 19th Century traveling conditions were like for citizenry of the area. The rainy Spring season; and iron clad buggy and wagon wheels on snow and ice, would have been extremely challenging. Some travelers used sleighs in winter. The body of John Burns, Bonneauville resident and “Hero of Gettysburg” was once transported on this crude roadway, from Miller’s Funeral Parlor in Bonneauville, to Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg, by a procession of sleighs.
Elderly Bonneauville citizens who yearly drove cattle to the train yard in Gettysburg in their youth recalled purposefully bypassing the covered bridge and herding the cattle through the water because the structure was so rickety they feared it would collapse. The two were young girls of the John Keiser Family.
A zigzag split rail fence lines the south side of the sunken gravel road. Undulating recesses and dips punctuate the roadway in stark contrast to the smoothly descending asphalt of today’s road surface. At the bottom of the hill Rock Creek flows under the old covered bridge. Gettysburg stands in the background and beyond it; the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains cast a narrow horizontal band of grey. The house and farm buildings at the base of the hill were razed in the mid-late 20th Century. Noticeable is the absence of trees and shrubs along the road and creek bottom that abound today.
Before St. Joseph’s Church was built in Bonneauville in 1859, Catholics of the town traveled to Conewago Chapel, Gettysburg, or Littlestown to attend Church services. Roads to those destinations would have been in the same or poorer condition.
Civil War troops who passed east to west through Bonneauville towards the Battle of Gettysburg, would likely have used this portion of road. Confederate artillery strategically occupied Benner’s Hill on July 2nd, 1863.
Note that this photograph represents the old roadway at its best. The winter and spring seasons, with their mud, snow, ice, and flooding, would have produced conditions ranging from inconvenient to very hazardous.