Welcome to Constructing the Past. This project shows how buildings reflect changes within a community. This can be seen in three specific buildings at Gettysburg College: Brua Hall, 227 Carlisle Street, and 250 Carlisle Street. 227 Carlisle Street and 250 Carlisle Streets are both residences that housed people who are very connected with the college’s history, and Brua Hall served as the Campus Chapel from 1890-1953.
These buildings were chosen because they each had a very different way of being used by the College and a different relationship with the College. 227 Carlisle Street belonged to Professor Edward Breidenbaugh, who taught at Gettysburg for 50 years and lived there with his family. He had a lasting impact on the college, from his commitment to the science department to his tenure as curator of the college museum. But once the last of the Breidenbaugh’s passed away, 227 Carlisle Street was still connected to the college in a newly chartered fraternity, Alpha Chi Rho, bought the house in 1964. Once the “grandest Victorian Mansion” in Gettysburg, when built for the Breidenbaugh family in 1875 it now serves as student housing.
250 Carlisle Street housed the McPherson family, which had many important politicians, like Edward McPherson, who was the clerk of the House of Representatives during the Civil War and was the one who counted the votes ratifying the new amendments added after the Civil War. He also served on the Gettysburg College board of trustees. Many members of the McPherson family attended Gettysburg College, at the time named Pennsylvania College, and went on to be involved in local and national politics. However, they always came back to 250 Carlisle Street as their home. In 2018 Gettysburg College bought the house, bringing closer the connections between the McPherson family and Gettysburg College.
Lastly, Brua Chapel was built as a memorial chapel in honor of Colonel John Brua’s parents. He served in the Civil War as a payroll master. He had heard that Gettysburg College wanted to build a chapel but could not afford it, so he donated $15,000 to build Brua Memorial Chapel. This chapel has served the campus community since 1890 and has since been used for a variety of activities other than chapel like commencement, guest speakers, and as the theater before it was the Theater Arts building.