In 1998 the United Methodist Church decided to dispose of Tolson’s Chapel, a very small structure built in 1866 to be an AME Church and Freedman’s Bureau School. After several other efforts failed, SHAF took title to the building and maintained it and the grounds for several years. Frankly, it was not part of our main mission, ie. preserving battlefield land, but it was certainly a part of Sharpsburg’s history. And of course the Freedman’s Bureau was a direct result of emancipation, which got its first big step as a result of Antietam with the Preliminary Announcement of the emancipation Proclamation. Soon a “friends” group was started, they used our non-profit status to get restoration grants and soon transitioned to their own non-profit organization. This past Saturday, June 11, the restored Tolson’s Chapel and cemetery were officially designated as a National Historic Landmark. There were a lot very fine people who worked hard to accomplish this goal, and SHAF congratulates Friends of Tolson’s Chapel on their success. At the dedication ceremony SHAF was mentioned frequently and we are proud to have played a part is preserving this historic place in Sharpsburg. If you haven’t seen it, stop by on your next visit, it is located on High street. It is open only once or twice a month, but there is a very good interpretive plaque out front. It’s worth your time.
Books for sale!
Several local members have donated a large number of Civil War books (and a few other topics) to SHAF, including a full set of the Official Records. While we appreciate such generosity, and are very grateful to those who donated them, and to those who purchased books at our annual membership meetings, the fact is we are not in the used book business. Storage and transporting them and a lack of venues to sell books are a problem, but we have found a great solution. A retired National Park Service superintendent is now living in the area, and has a used book store in Boonsboro. He has taken all our books and is now selling them with a significant portion of the money going to SHAF. We are very grateful for this solution and encourage all SHAF members, both local and those of you who visit, to patronize his shop. It is called Brigade Books and is located in the Boonsboro Antiques & Collectables 7700 Old National Pike just north of the town. They are open 10-5 daily. Now when you’re in the area you can satisfy your book-buying itch and help SHAF too.