Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution - Bill of Rights

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Preservation and Proposition

Our mission is to document the pivotal Second Amendment events that occurred in Frontier Mercersburg, and its environs, and to heighten awareness of the importance of these events in the founding of our Nation.

We are dedicated to the preservation of the place where the Second Amendment was "born" and to the proposition that the Second Amendment (the "right to bear arms") is the keystone of our Liberty and the Republic.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Physician offers to move historic house in Mercersburg

By Len Barcousky - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Franklin County doctor has offered to relocate the historic Justice William Smith House in Mercersburg.

"I have a love of history," Dr. Paul Orange said Monday.

He was reluctant to provide too many details of his proposal, but he said he was prepared to cover the costs of moving the two-story structure to a new location. Those expenses, including the cost of acquiring a suitable alternate property, could run as high as $100,000.

Dr. Orange has a family practice along Route 30 in Fayetteville, which is between Chambersburg and Gettysburg. He said he moved to the area in part because of its ties to important events during the Civil War. He is a graduate of Greensburg Central Catholic and St. Vincent College. After graduating from medical school at the American University of the Caribbean, he did his residency at Latrobe Hospital.

The Smith house is located next to the MMP&W Volunteer Fire Co. on Mercersburg's Main St. The board that oversees the fire company says it needs the land on which the house sits to expand its aging facilities, and it has sought bids for demolition of the building.

Those bids are to be opened Thursday, but the fire company has not said when it will award the contract.

Dr. Orange said he has submitted an offer to move the structure, which would save the fire company the expense of tearing it down.

His proposal has gained the support of a small citizens group, the Committee to Save the William Smith House, which has sought to head off any demolition plans.

"This is an amazing turn just when I thought we were dead in the water," Karen Ramsburg said. "I'm surprised and excited." Ms. Ramsburg heads the Smith house committee.

One potential new home for the 18th century building is the nearby site of a former gas station owned by the First National Bank of Mercersburg.

"The best-case scenario would be to keep the house in its current location," she said. "Moving it across the street would be the next best thing."

In 1765 the Smith House was the meeting place for mainly Scotch-Irish settlers who organized themselves into a militia for defense against Indian raids.

Their efforts morphed into attacks on British supply trains and a siege of a nearby British military base called Fort Loudoun. Those early instances of armed resistance took place eight years before the Boston Tea Party and 10 years before the battles of Lexington and Concord.

"It could be said that people in this house provided the spark for the American Revolution," Dr. Orange said.

Len Barcousky: or 412-263-1159.

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