Frank Furness was a Philadelphia-based architect who is known for his innovative designs, particularly of banks. Lewis Mumford described his style as “bold, unabashed, ugly and yet somehow healthily pregnant architecture”. Furness served as an officer in the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in Virginia in 1864. Furness fought in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 and designed the monument which stands to this day as a testament to his regiment’s service.
Following the war, Furness returned to his architecture practice, where he became noted both for his unusual designs and unusual personality. The title of the biography Frank Furness: Architecture and the Violent Mind speaks to this. His experience in the war almost certainly affected him both personally and professionally, with one reviewer remarking: “having waged war, Furness would now ‘wage architecture.’” There are even anecdotes of Furness practicing pistol shooting at targets set up in his office.
Sadly, many of Frank Furness’s most notable buildings were demolished over the course of the 20th century. A few, such as the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, remain, and in recent years Furness’s architecture has come to be more widely appreciated. The 6th Cavalry Monument at Gettysburg, while far from being one of the battlefield’s best known, stands as a unique testament to a man whose unique ideas shaped American history.
Know Before You Go
This monument is on the outskirts of Gettysburg and is located on the northbound side of the Emmittsburg Road directly prior to the Gettysburg Battlefield RV Resort & Campground. There is no parking area for the monument; your best bet is to pull over to the side of the road or catch a view driving by. The RV Resort is private property and you should not try to park there unless you are a guest.