View Full Version : Fort Donelson's New Addition!!
03-19-2004, 11:40 PM
Over the past few years Fort Donelson has made many great changes to the water battery area of this National Battlefield Park. They acquired new carriages to mount cannons in both the upper and lower batteries and spent a lot of time and effort to return the the batteries to their 1862 appearance. However, as of this month, a new modern change has been added that is both instrusive and extermely anachronistic. They have built a huge wooden observation deck right above the lower battery!! This deck now dominates the scene. It's purpose, supposedly, is to help people in wheelchairs view the site. However, the existing walkway has served the same purpose for many years and the view from the top of the battery is just as good as that from the new ramp. We have published a website with many views of the new ramp as it appears today. We invite you to come and see for yourself how this ramp affects the vista of the water batteries at Fort Donelson.
Please visit: http://www.cantrelluniforms.com/Donelson.htm
Chuck & Ann Cantrell
03-20-2004, 12:22 AM
03-20-2004, 09:14 AM
I had no idea. Further, I am appalled! I bet they could have installed an elevator from street level down to the water battery elevation that would have been cheaper and less an eyesore than that poopdeck monstrosity!
I reckon this is more uninitended consequences of the good 'ol "Americans With Disabilities Act" which mandates things like handicapped restroom stalls in military barracks and wheelchair ramps leading to running tracks, etc.
Can you imagine the visitors' questions to the park staff..."Um, yes, I have a question. Wouldn't soldiers on the observation platform have been remarkably vulnerable to fire from the Union gunboats below?"
Finally. I spent many a weekend at that park. Don't recall ever seeing any wheelchair-bound visitors looking forlorn because they couldn't get down there. BTW, are there plans to build one at the site of the CS camp where the huts are. You know, that ravine is a bit steep...
Maybe someday the poopdeck will be torn down like that goofy and anachronistic observation tower was at Gettysburg.
Thanks for the pics,
03-20-2004, 10:04 AM
Chuck and Ann,
Does the park offer any explanation for needing this structure?
03-20-2004, 10:49 AM
I'd venture a guess. ADA- The Americans with disability acts. This structure is an absolute travesty . No matter why or who it was built for.
It needs to be taken down.
03-20-2004, 11:02 AM
Gentlemen - From what we've heard Mr. Dusel is correct. Federal monies were available to construct the ramp to comply with the Handicap Act. However, we do not see how this ramp makes the batteries any more accessible than they were before. In one of the photos we posted, you can see the old walkway right next to the new ramp. The old walkway allowed people in wheelchairs to go just as far into the batteries as the new ramp. And, from the top of the hill, where most people park, wheelchair bound visitors had a better view of the batteries BEFORE the ramp was installed and blocked the view.
Fort Donelson is the middle of a change of command. A new superintendent is due to take over as of the first of April. Dare we hope that the new boss has the same feelings about the new addition as we do?
03-20-2004, 02:42 PM
As a afterthought to what I wrote earlier. I think that all of us should pay attention to this one action at Ft. Donelson. To wit. How long will it be until observation platforms are built on Little Round Top? What about sidewalks to the Angle? I forsee the day that ADA, unless reigned in, will destroy the view at so many historic sites. That is unless we do something today. I've already fired off letters to my Senators and Congressmen
03-20-2004, 06:53 PM
Tear Down The Poopdeck!
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