Kevin Servant had no idea when he agreed to have his photograph taken with his sister for a Christmas gift that he was about to embark on a career that would shape his life.
“My parents owned a period clothing business at the time,” he said. They had already moved out of the smaller historic building on Steinwehr Avenue to make more room for their expansive inventory, and had not wanted to sell it. “My sister talked me into getting an old-time photo of us for our parents, and I reluctantly went along.” After posing for their photograph at the establishment in another Pennsylvania town, Kevin noticed that the store was going out of business and selling their equipment. He thought it might be a good idea for Gettysburg, and took their card. A few months later, 25 years ago, Servant Olde-Tyme Photos became a part of Gettysburg, at 237 Steinwehr Avenue.
Servant’s business is located in one of Gettysburg’s oldest buildings, one that has an interesting history of its own. Built about 1776, it was (ironically) the servant quarters for the Reverend Alexander Dobbin, who owned the estate constructed of the same type of stone a block away. Privately owned after Dobbin’s family sold it until 1952, it is known to many as the Reynolds’ Death House because of its ties to the Battle of Gettysburg. The stone cottage, which was owned by Gettysburg man George George in 1863, was the home where General John Reynolds’ body was taken and stored until the end of the battle after he was killed on Gettysburg’s first day. The cottage also housed wounded from the battle. When the floorboards were taken up years later and replaced, the 19th century planks were stained with blood.
Preserving historical memories are the mainstay of Servant Olde-Tyme Photos, and individuals and families have been coming to document their time in Gettysburg for a quarter century. Period clothing is available for use during the photographic sessions for those who don’t have their own. Military, civilian, and western clothing for men, women, and children are available in plentiful sizes. Photographs are available in sepia, color, and olde-tyme color (a type of watercolor). Black and white photos are available too, upon request. Kevin uses the digital process, so that customers don’t need to wait long for their keepsakes. Major credit cards (except for American Express) are accepted. For more information, or to reserve an appointment, call 717-334-7256.
Servant Olde Tyme Photos is a busy place in July and Kevin keeps the business open daily, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – and will remain later as the need arises.
To celebrate the silver anniversary, Servant offers a discount all year for any returning customer who can bring in their old photos taken by Kevin and his staff. Many of the staff who have gone to other places will return in July in celebration of the 25th anniversary.
Servant’s, a long-time Gettysburg landmark, has proven staying power. Kevin and along with the rest of the family and staff – past and present – gratefully thank Kevin's parents, Robert and Georgia, for beginning and building such an amazing establishment.