No, I'm not talking about the Electric Map that once told the story of the Battle of Gettysburg and is now being rehabilitated in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
I'm talking about the electronic display telling the story of the Civil War's Battle of Chattanooga. It was built in 1957 and was once housed at a place called Confederama at the foot of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This undated brochure touts the oddly castle-like wonder that was Confederama, including its air-conditioned, walking-free environment. The reverse side of the brochure states:
"Mighty armies battled at Chickamauga and Chattanooga in 1863 in action that 'sealed the fate of the Confederacy.' See history come alive, re-created for your enjoyment.
"More than 5,000 soldiers (made especially for Confederama in South Africa)2 show where armies moved as guns flash in battle and cannon puff real smoke, accompanied by a shot-by-shot explanation of these historic conflicts."
"An intricate, electronic automation system activates more than 3 miles of electrical wiring and 650 flashing lights to make vital history real and exciting for the whole family. Our convenient location, dynamic exhibit, attractive souvenir and gift shop will, together with our helpful personnel, offer you a thoroughly enjoyable experience."
Alas, there is no longer a tourist attraction called Confederama and the electronic battlefield display is no longer at its original location.
But the electronic display still exists. It has new owners and has been moved a little further up the mountain, where it is now housed at The Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map & Museum. Here is some more about that transition from About North Georgia:
"By the early 1990's the museum had fallen into disrepair and the original owner died. Civil War enthusiasts realized what a loss it would be if the museum closed and backed efforts to save the famous landmark. A local business owner purchased the museum and all the contents. A grand refurbishing was begun. Each of the figures on the huge battlefield was removed and cleaned. Some were repainted. Wiring that in some cases was nearly 40 years old was replaced. A new, digital soundtrack was recorded."
- Official website: The Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map & Museum
- Bad Postcards: Confederama
- PopCult: The Last Remains of "Confederama" by Coury Turczyn
- About North Georgia: Battles for Chattanooga Museum
1. By comparison, the Electric Map at Gettysburg was/is 891 square feet.
2. Oh, there's some uncomfortable irony there.