Gettysburg Civil War Chapel, Unwanted By City Officials, Burns To Ground

Around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning, a 4-alarm fire destroyed the Gettysburg Civil War Chapel, a building that has been under attack for some time.  Previously, the City of Gettysburg had claimed the Civil War Chapel did not have appropriate occupancy permits, did not follow “international building” codes and should use contemporary design and modern materials, even though the Civil War Chapel is a historical reproduction. The City had also threatened criminal charges against Chaplain John Wega if he didn’t close the chapel.

The Liberty Institute located in Plano, Texas has stood beside Chaplain Wega in his fight to keep the historically-accurate chapel open. Regarding the fire, Liberty released the following in a statement, “The circumstances of the fire are under investigation, but it appears that the fire may have been deliberately set. We contacted the FBI and have been told that ATF and other officials from the National Church Arson Task Force are joining the investigation. Burning down a church is a federal crime under the Church Arson Prevention Act of 1996.” According to Pennsylvania’s WGAL, the fire not only destroyed the chapel, located just one block from Gettysburg square, but also severely damaged a private residence, a coffee shop, and an Adams County Rescue Mission shelter.

Since 2006, tens of thousands of visitors have experienced an important part of our nation’s history by visiting the chapel and learning about a Civil War soldier’s life, specifically his faith and reliance on God. For more information about the chapel, or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit

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  1. dthurman said:

    Thanks Karyn for reporting on this. So much history is going up in smoke–lessons that are lost in the ashes of the past that will not help guide us into the future.

    December 4, 2010

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