Two new actions in the last week recognized the importance of Thaddeus Stevens to Gettysburg: a Stevens display in the Gettysburg borough building and the installation of “Stevens Run” signs on Constitution Avenue.
The newly arranged display is outside the mayor’s office in the borough building and consists of a bust of Stevens on a small oak table with flyers about Stevens’s life. On the walls behind the bust are a painting of Stevens and a plaque listing his accomplishments. The painting, plaque, bust, and table were given to the borough by the Thaddeus Stevens Society over the last few decades.
“Thaddeus Stevens was a major figure in Gettysburg history and deserves this recognition,” said Gettysburg Mayor Rita Frealing. “I hope these tributes will spark interest in Stevens among local residents.”
The borough installed two new “Stevens Run” signs on Constitution Avenue last Friday, August 25. They are on both sides of the small bridge that is just east of a Gettysburg College parking lot. The 2.2-mile stream is a tributary of Rock Creek and is part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Its name dates back to the early 1800s when it ran through land owned by Thaddeus Stevens, who sold 6 acres of the property to the college for its initial campus.
Stevens lived in Gettysburg from 1816 to 1842 and was a prominent lawyer and politician. He moved to Lancaster in 1842 and became the most powerful congressman during and after the Civil War and was instrumental in the destruction of slavery. He is also the father of the 14th Amendment, the single most important amendment to the Constitution requiring equal treatment under the law and extending civil liberties to the state level.
“We are extremely happy to see these new reminders of Stevens’s importance to Gettysburg,” said Ross Hetrick, president of the Thaddeus Stevens Society. “Along with the statue of Stevens in front of the courthouse on Baltimore Street, these additional tributes show that Stevens deserves to be included with such local luminaries as Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower.”
Featured image Caption One of the new “Stevens Run” signs on Constitution Avenue on a small bridge east of Gettysburg College
Ross Hetrick is president and founder of the Thaddeus Stevens Society, which is dedicated to promoting Stevens's important legacy. Hetrick was a business reporter for 18 years in Baltimore and owned Ross's Coffeehouse & Eatery in Gettysburg from 1996 to 2004.