Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Three-fourths of Confederate trench will be preserved in suburban Atlanta development

Confederates faced west in this trench (Courtesy of GBA)

A senior residential development near the site of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia will preserve 700 feet of a 960-foot section of trench built by Confederates along what was called the Mud Creek Line.

The Marietta Daily Journal and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Cobb County Board of Commissioners last week approved the rezoning on Ernest Barrett Parkway near Burnt Hickory Road for 76 cottages that will sell for $329,000 and up.

The action came after the developer, Thomas Homes & Communities, conducted a cultural resource study after it was made aware of the trench by local historians and preservationists. According to the Georgia Battlefields Association, the site plan was then modified and brought before the commission.

Rob Hosack, the county’s community development director, told the Marietta newspaper that “the best parts of the trenches are going to be protected. The developer has agreed to pay mitigation money into a fund for future preservation activity.” He also said the county has a “pretty good track record” of protecting trenches.

Development in mid-point of Mud Creek Line (GBA)

But in a GBA newsletter released Tuesday, President Charlie Crawford contended that “260 feet would be lost forever and similar earthworks would be threatened as the housing market rebounded.”

Developer attorney John Moore told the MDJ the preserved section of the trench will be protected during construction and will be bordered by a split-rail fence to keep people away and show its historic significance. The feature will serve as the centerpiece of a 3-acre park within the neighborhood.

The trench was built in mid-June 1864 as a Confederate defensive work and was lined in several places with rocks.

It had to be abandoned after a barrage of Union artillery fire; troops withdrew to the foothills of Kennesaw Mountain.

Moore said history buffs will have the opportunity to view the trench as long as they contact the new homeowner’s association, the newspaper reported.

(Courtesy of GBA)

While the attorney said historians were “ecstatic” because so much of the trench will be preserved, the GBA was less sanguine, headlining its newsletter “Cobb County earthworks threatened by rebounding development.”

Crawford told the Picket that he contacted Moore after a homeowner in the area first talked with him and the group examined the property. That’s when the project was delayed for the study, which found the trench to be in “good condition.”

“While GBA had a hand in preserving part of the trench, we hate to lose even a fragment,” the group said in its newsletter.

Cobb County once contained about 30 miles of Confederate earthworks.

“Some of those are preserved in Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and in Cobb County’s Shoupade Park, but most fragments are on private property, and some of those (e.g., Pine Mountain, Brushy Mountain) are preserved only by the civic-mindedness of the land owners,” the GBA said. “We’ll continue to work with local historians and preservationists to save what we can.”

(GBA photo)

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