According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, a businessman in Hanover, Pa., has purchased a 50-year-old electronic map illustrating the Battle of Gettysburg from the U.S. General Services Administration for $14,000.
The National Park Service sold the 12-ton, steel-and-plaster topographical map in an online auction. It had been part of a former visitors’ center that has since been razed, but was not included in a new center that opened in 2008.
The map had become something of a white elephant for the National Park Service because of a hazardous asbestos coating that was added in 1963. Because of the asbestos, the map could not be put back on display.
Breathing asbestos fibers is linked to an increased risk of lung cancer; mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the chest and the abdominal cavity; and asbestosis, in which the lungs become scarred with fibrous tissue.
Park officials said it would have cost them $32,000 to dump the map in a landfill, so they were pleased that developer Scott Roland consented to buy it. Roland intends to display it in Hanover as part of a heritage and tourism revitalization project.
According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, the asbestos on the surface of on the 29-foot by 29-foot map will have to be covered when the map is reassembled from the four pieces the park service cut it into for storage.
A Philadelphia Inquirer story about the map speculated that it will likely cost thousands of dollars to remove the asbestos from the plaster.
The map was created to mark the 100th anniversary of the historic battle of Gettysburg, considered the turning point against the Confederacy in the Civil War. It used electrical lights to show the key events of the battle.
If you or a loved one have contracted mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure, contact Lopez McHugh for a free consultation.
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