Friday, March 31, 2017

At Resaca battle site in north Georgia, they come for scenery, history -- and ghosts

Some come for the two scenic trails, one of which includes an inviting meadow and flitting birds. Others come for the history, to see where men in blue and gray fought on bloodied ground. And others have come on a professional paranormal investigation.

Officials in Gordon County, Ga., consider Resaca Battlefield Historic Site to be a success since it opened last May. The park off Interstate 75 includes part of the Resaca battlefield, the second-bloodiest clash in the 1864 Atlanta campaign.

County Administrator John King praises county employees, a historic preservation commission and the nonprofit Friends of Resaca, which long campaigned for the state to build the site, which is operated and maintained by Gordon County.

It’s difficult to know how many people have ventured to the site, though Don Holley, parks and recreation director, said most live close by and enjoying walking the trails.

We have a guest book that many people sign, but I am sure there are also a lot that do not sign it. Attendance can be closely tied to the weather. The better the weather the higher the attendance. May is probably the peak month, due to that being the anniversary of the battle.”

An annual re-enactment, which takes place a few miles to the east, is scheduled for May 19-21.

Friends of Resaca volunteers help out at the site.

“The attendance is great by both local recreation users and history buffs alike,” said Ken Padgett, head of the Friends. “We have hosted many tour groups from around the South and had many national visitors.”

Section of trenches on the red trail.

The venue shifts into its summer hours this Saturday (April 1): 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Padgett told the Picket he would like to see more days of operation “as our need and budget grows.”

The Friends have a grant request in to fund more benches and improve trail accessibility for the disabled.

“Our plan is to increase the interpretive trail signs both at the Resaca Battlefield Historic Site as well as the (nearby) Fort Wayne CW Historic Site. It takes funds to get these projects done, so we depend heavily on our tax-free membership donations.”

The site contains significant remnants of earthworks, including an impressive length of trenches visible on the Red Battlefield Trail (Signs point out metal detectors are banned and artifacts cannot be removed).

The park did host a somewhat unusual event earlier this month. A group of paranormal investigators got permission to come after hours, Padgett said. They came looking for ghosts or spirits.

They will have the results if any into us in a few weeks. We would really like to keep these type of requests (to) a minimum,” Padgett said. “Not sure what this will turn up. Due to site security and public safety this is a large park to get turned around on, or get injured in the dark.”

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