December 27, 2008
Wal-Mart wants store near battlefield
Preservationists say Wal-Mart faces a fight over its plans to put a huge store next to the Civil War Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia.
The proposed 138,000-square-foot Wal-Mart and its grounds would occupy nearly 50 acres adjacent to the battlefield in Orange County, The Washington Times reported Saturday.
National parks are fragile entities. Putting development right up next to a park is a recipe for disaster, said Jim Campi, a spokesman for the Civil War Preservation Trust.
The proposal has prompted 253 historians to write and ask the Arkansas corporation to
move your store farther away from this historic site and national park.
Those who signed the letter include Emmy-winning documentarian Ken Burns and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David M. McCullough and James McPherson.
Wal-Mart spokesman Keith Morris said the company intends to build on land that is zoned commercial and hopes to work with opponents to assuage their concerns.
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought in May 1864 between the troops of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, had nearly 29,000 casualties.