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     LOOKING FOR GODS AND GENERALS IN GETTYSBURG
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STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS POH

Colonel Patrick Henry O’Rorke perished on July 2nd 1863 while commanding troops from the 140th New York Infantry during action on “Little Round Top” at the battle of Gettysburg. He graduated first in his class from West Point in 1861, and was 26 years old at the time of his death.
O’RORKES EATERY AND SPIRITS is so named in tribute to his gallant service to the cause of the Union and in recognition of the contributions that he, along with countless other Irish immigrants, made to this country.

Since 2001 I have made a point of returning to Gettysburg at least once a year. It a place that strongly reinforces my personal philosophy, “That one has no idea of where they are or where they are going, until they know where they have been.” Gettysburg offers us the chance to fully understand who we are as a people and as a nation.

To an outsider the town presents itself as a unique mix of patriotism, tourism, and spiritualism; that strange dichotomy that often occurs when commercial interests come to bear on the protection of any sacred or historical site. There is something humorous about watching the tour buses ferrying people between outlet stores, miniature golf, all you can eat buffets and the high watermark of the Confederacy.

On a more serious note, there are two distinct groups of people who come to this place driven by a strong sense of purpose. There are the historians and reenactors who have dedicated themselves to the affirmation and preservation of the stories of those who had fought and died on this battleground. Then there are those who walk these streets and fields in hopes of connecting with history in a somewhat less tangible manner. Like a modern day Hamlet they aspire to validate the past and divine the future by way of apparition.

As for myself, I display characteristics from both camps. While I have made an occasional attempt to conduct a scholarly study of the events of the summer of 1863, there is that part of my psyche that yearns for the appearance of some grey bearded ethereal shape in the lens of my camera. Like so many others that have scoured this countryside and combed through the attics and basements of its old buildings, I am looking for some assurance of immortality on this celebrated and tragic stage.

Gettysburg in many ways is truly great theater, and where one chooses to spend intermission may say more about who we are, than who we perceive ourselves to be in that play. All of my intermissions have been spent at O’RORKES.

There is a consistent warmth and kindness to this tavern that transcends the commercial and sometimes weighty aspects of this national monument. The staff is superb and the clientele, in or out of uniform, are always interesting and fun. In any U.S. town O’Rorkes would be a favorite gathering place; but here it is an oasis that strikes a perfect balance between all the competing interests that attempt to define the Gettysburg experience.

So whether you come here with the intent to capture a bit of the past or to unveil the mysteries of the future, it would serve you well to heed the counsel of both God and his generals. “Consider the past, hope in the future; but always live in the present.”

In other words – when in Gettysburg – be sure to raise a glass at O’Rorkes!



Gettysburg field as seen in American Public House Review
A GETTYSBURG FIELD


Painting as seen in American Public House Review
CONFEDERATE GLORY


O"Rorke's taps as seen in American Public House Review
THE TAPS AND LOVELY BACKBAR


O'Rorkes fireplace as seen in American Public House Review
THE FIREPLACE






O'Rorke himself at Ororke's Family Eatery and Spirits in Gettysburg, PA as seen in Americasn Public House Review
O'RORKE HIMSELF





O'RORKE'S FAMILY EATERY

AND SPIRITS


44 Steinwehr Avenue

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

(717)334-2333


www.ororkes.com


DIRECTIONS



O'Rorke at West Point hanging at O'Rorke's Family Eatery and Spirits in Gettysburg, PA as seen in American Public House Review
O'RORKE AT WEST POINT

AMERICAN PUBLIC HOUSE REVIEW text, images, and music © 2007-2009. All rights reserved. 
All content is subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. Email: ed.petersen@americanpublichousereview.com for permission before use.

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