Background post: My summer vacation in 1968 to Gettysburg and Fort Defiance.
Fort Defiance Museum and Frontier Town, built in 1962, was located on Taneytown Road south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. An old Fodor’s Civil War Sites stated in 1979, “Fort Defiance Museum, Rt. 134 just south of the Visitor Center, offers views of 1863 Gettysburg with the battle in progress, in miniature.”
Owned by a man named Clyde G. Culver, it ceased operation in the early 1980s. The fort soon was disassembled and moved to its present location on Emmitsburg Road south of where Boyd’s Bears is located.
The old fort once hosted thousands of starry-eyed kids, including me in the summer of 1968 during my family’s first and only vacation to Pennsylvania. It was kind of sad this afternoon to see it in such poor condition.
A water slide was added to the amusement when it reopened. The old concrete flume is still quite evident in this photo from March 22, 2009.
Slippy Dippin was the name of the reopened fort; it closed in the early 1980s, long before I returned to the battlefield in 1985 after a 17-year absence.
The outbuildings, including the employee’s shack, are also deteriorating rapidly. No trespassing signs abound, so I chose not to move onto the property for a close look.
Another view of the old water slide. More than two decades ago, happy children splashed down this curved structure from its origin inside the old Fort Defiance.
Here is the obituary of the owner, Clyde Culver, who retired to the area where I lived, greater metro Cleveland.
Clyde G. Culver, 84, of Cuyahoga Falls, died July 17, 2007 of pneumonia at the Palliative Care Unit of Akron City Hospital.
He was born Oct. 22, 1922 in Warren to the late Marguerite (Goldner) and Clyde A. Culver. He graduated from Warren G. Harding High School and attended Kent State University and the University of Alabama, Birmingham. He was a WW II veteran, having served in the US Army.
While still in his 20s, he began collecting antique firearms, and had a special interest in the Civil War era. His love of early US history shaped his career path as he began to sell and trade antique weapons and period artifacts. He moved to Gettysburg, Pa. in 1960, where he lived for 38 years. In 1962 he built and opened Fort Defiance Museum there, where he also later owned the Blue and Gray Museum and School House Antiques. He was a respected appraiser and dealer who was known in the gun business for his integrity and honesty.
He is survived by former wife of 40 years, Vera Lee Culver of Gettysburg; daughter, Patricia Culver Morton (Jeff) of Kent; sons, Lynn Culver (Kenna) of Bedford, Lee Culver of Miami Springs, Fla. and Ray Culver of Gettysburg; seven grandchildren: John Kostraba, Paul Kostraba, Julie Kostraba Richer, Kyler Culver, Mitchell Culver, Jackson Culver and Wyatt Culver; four great-grandchildren; and sister, Betty Culver Campbell of Kalamazoo, Mich.