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Wal-Mart Wants To Build Near Major Civil War Site

January 3, 2009



Preservationists today hailed the decision by Wal-Mart to drop its plans to build a supercenter within the original boundaries of the Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia. In an unexpected move early Wednesday in Virginia’s Orange Circuit Court, Wal-Mart revealed it was abandoning its proposal to construct a store on the property. The retailer said it was withdrawing from a legal case in which preservationists and some local residents were fighting its plans, a Circuit Court official confirmed.

Wal-Mart has always been a soulless corporation.  The actual harm they do to the towns they settle in, and the way they undermine smaller ‘mom and pop’ businesses has long been documented.  Why people even work at Wal-Mart, or shop at one of those stores, is a complete mystery to me.

There is of course a long list of Wal-Mart apologists that rationalize all the actions of this major business.  But how will they spin the desire of Wal-Mart to build a super-center right across from the famed Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia, the first site where Ulysses Grant and Robert Lee joined in battle in 1864?  The site where 24,000 soldiers were killed or wounded.  This battle was important as it started the famed Overland Campaign that in less than a year would end the Civil War.  I know that most workers at Wal-Mart might not know or care for these important pieces of history.  But thankfully many readers of history do care.

To say that historians and scholars are outraged over this building plan would be an understatement.  The total disregard for the historical import of the area, and the fact that many thousands lost their lives there is just maddening.  And yet this soulless corporation thinks they have more a right to build a store there, than our country has a right to say there are definite limits on the gross expansion of greedy businesses.

While the actual proposed Wal-Mart super-center (these things are just obscene to even look at) will not be on the actual battlefield, one of the realistic fears is the never-ending sprawl that will accompany such a business.  The desire of scholars to see Wal-Mart find someplace else…..anywhere else….is understandable.   The historic landscape should not be marred by the box store that sucks the very life out of a community.  The Civil War writers and thinkers that line my bookshelves, such as James McPherson, Ken Burns, and my favorite David McCullough, are among those who are fighting this idea by Wal-Mart.

Historical preservationists have been successful with such nonsensical ideas as that proposed by Wal-Mart in the past.  Pressure must be applied now to make sure Wal-Mart is stopped with this plan.


This blog will be a source for more on this story.

One Comment
  1. willis leonard permalink
    September 29, 2009 1:19 PM

    Why dosent someone urge the president to inact the antiquitys act and declare the site a national monument?

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