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Historic map sells despite asbestos concerns

A once-popular tourist attraction at the Gettysburg battlefield has reportedly sold to an unnamed buyer for just over $14,000. The buyer will now take on the significant and most likely expensive tasks of relocating the four-ton structure and removing the asbestos with which it was constructed.

According to media reports, it was those asbestos concerns that motivated the sale of the electric map of the Gettysburg battlefield. By selling it, the National Park Service has reportedly saved more than $32,000 in asbestos removal fees. Now, those costs will become the responsibility of the new buyer.

The 30-by-30 foot map, which is currently in four parts and weighs a reported 12 tons, was once featured in an auditorium in the visitor center of the Gettysburg National Military Park. It used blinking lights to demonstrate to park visitors where key parts of the Battle of Gettysburg took place, including key landmarks, the advancement of armies and other important details about the most deadly battle of the U.S. Civil War.

The recently-sold map is actually the second version of the attraction, which was created in 1963 for the Gettysburg centennial. It soon began to draw fewer visitors, and became entirely obsolete when a new visitor center was opened in 2008.

Now, however, the new owner will presumably reopen the attraction in time for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which will take place next July. Hopefully, all of the asbestos fibers are safely removed from the map at that point in order to protect site visitors from their harmful effects.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Gettysburg map sold for $14,010," Sept. 15, 2012

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