Scenic USA - Maryland

Dunker Church

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Dunker Church - Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Ben's Panoramio Gallery

     The Battle of Antietam in western Maryland has been labeled the bloodiest battle in the history of the Civil War. For area residents, the battle was more than just bloody, it was a shocking view of war and the end of their cozy little corner of the world. Holding church services three days before the armies met at Antietam, the Dunker Church congregation heard the battle thunder in the distance, and unknowingly, they were soon to be caught Antietam Battlefield in its midst.
     Afterward, the 10 year old church was heavily scarred, receiving damage to the roof and its walls. Although in a few years the church building was rebuilt, things were never the same. Lives changed, folks moved away and congregation members favored a fresh start in nearby Sharpsburg. Once the majority of the congregation moved away the old church fell into disrepair. Over time, the church became a battlefield shrine for returning veterans. Interior - Dunker Church Building bricks became souvenirs. Weakened by neglect, the old church was reduced to rubble in a violent storm in 1921. The property changed hands several times, until it was purchased by the Washington County Historical Society. Later, donated to the National Parks Service, reconstruction of the prominent battlefield landmark became a long term goal. With an unbelievable stroke of luck, the Park Service was able to locate a large portion of 100 year old material salvaged from the original church.
     Today's visit is a step back in time. The fully restored Dunker Church has retained its plain windows, unforgiving wooden benches and a simple table in front for church leaders.

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