- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 29, 2003

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — It’s a charming, two-story pre-Civil War home with original pine-board floors, circular driveway with iron gates and an unparalleled view — 6,000 federally protected, rolling green acres where the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg was fought.

The price: $3.2 million.

With little precedent on how to sell such a home, real-estate agents marketing the two-acre property say they are targeting discriminating buyers who would be attracted by the house’s unique history.

“You’ve got to find someone who can appreciate the history to appreciate what the house is worth,” said Jody Gavin, who is selling the home on behalf of three daughters of a late Colombian diplomat and naval officer who raised them there.

The problem with setting the asking price for the home is that few comparable homes have ever gone on the market. Most homes surrounded by the battlefields of Gettysburg National Military Park are owned by the federal government, and those that aren’t have not been for sale in recent memory.

“It’s definitely an unusual situation that a property like this would come on the market,” said Katie Lawhon, a spokeswoman for Gettysburg National Military Park.

The real-estate agents said they analyzed sales of homes near other national military parks in South Carolina and Virginia for guidance, but the final determination remained subjective.

The home was built around 1840 by David McMillan and owned by members of his family until it was sold in 1953. During the July 1863 battle, the home was in the middle of the fighting.

The McMillan family fled before “Pickett’s Charge,” the last Confederate attack of the battle. That’s when the McMillan home was torn apart by cannonballs and ransacked by Confederate troops, and trenches were dug in the yards, according to real-estate agents who cited a McMillan family history.

The family returned to find the bodies of soldiers in the fields and basement, they said. A lead slug said to have been fired during the battle remains stuck in a white-plank interior door.

The six-bedroom home received a sizable addition in 1890 and today has aluminum siding, an enclosed porch, a new roof and modern appliances.

According to county records, the home was purchased on Jan. 1, 1953, by the Colombian diplomat and naval officer, Guillermo Barriga, for $14,500. County records say the home’s market value was appraised in 1990 at $163,200, a value that would have risen to more than $200,000 today.

Before the home went on the market five months ago, the national military park made an offer based on its own appraisal, but the family wasn’t interested, a park spokeswoman said.

Last year, a Civil War-era home and barn on 13 acres at the edge of the battlefields sold for $525,000, more than the $323,580 fair-market value as appraised by the county.

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