The two sites — Stilesboro Academy in Taylorsville and Dobbins mining landscape in the county — were listed Wednesday among the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2013 list of 10 Places in Peril in the state.
Wednesday’s designation is vital to survival of the former schoolhouse on the edge of the county.
“We are very pleased to be included in the list,” said past president of the Stilesboro Improvement Club Ann Mascia. “It’s something that is very important for Georgia, and certainly for us to be included is monumental for the academy.”
Henry Parkman, attorney for Cartersville Ranch, LLC, echoed Mascia’s thoughts.
“We are pleased that the Georgia Trust has included the Dobbins Mining Landscape on its Places in Peril list for 2013,” he said. “As recognized by the Keeper of the National Register, the Dobbins mining landscape — a site of over 200 acres — is a significant historic district associated with late 19th and 20th century manganese mining operations, which produced large quantities of manganese ore for steel manufacturing. The mining landscape includes Dobbins Mine, Georgia’s oldest and most productive manganese mine, which was critical to the growth of industry in Bartow County following the Civil War.”
The list is the eighth annual naming of places across the state that are in need of assistance. Places in Peril is designed to raise awareness about Georgia’s significant historic, archaeological and cultural resources, including buildings, structures, districts, archaeological sites and cultural landscapes that are threatened by demolition, neglect, lack of maintenance, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. Through Places in Peril, the Trust will encourage owners and individuals, organizations and communities to employ proven preservation tools, financial resources and partnerships in order to reclaim, restore and revitalize historic properties that are in peril.
“We hope the list will continue to bring preservation action to Georgia’s imperiled historic resources by highlighting ten representative sites,” Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the Trust, said in a release.
Taylorsville, Bartow County
Constructed in 1858-59, Stilesboro Academy’s grand opening was celebrated with a picnic on the first Saturday of May in 1859, a tradition the community has continued for the past 153 years. The school was occupied by the Union Army in 1864 and spared by Sherman. The school was saved again in the 1930s when the ladies of the Stilesboro Improvement Club raised money for the Bartow County School Board to purchase new lumber for a modern school, rather than demolish Stilesboro Academy and reclaim its lumber. The Stilesboro Improvement Club remains the caretakers of the academy, but with a dwindling membership, the building’s continual maintenance poses a challenge.
Mascia said the building faces major roofing issues that leaves the school in need of a roof, which is estimated to cost about $40,000.
“The academy is in grave need of help. ... We simply cannot do it ourselves — we are a small ladies club,” she said.
Stilesboro Improvement Club will be hosting the 100th annual Stilesboro Chrysanthemum Show at Stilesboro Academy on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The event serves as the club’s largest benefit for the year.
“That’s our major fundraiser for the year and the proceeds go toward the care and restoration of the academy for the year,” Mascia said, adding that the academy’s listing should generate interest and, in return, revenue.
Dobbins Mining Landscape, Bartow County
From 1867 until 1945, the Dobbins Manganese Mine provided manganese ore, essential to the manufacturing of iron and steel. Manganese ore was used in the steel mills and served the nation’s industrial needs during both World Wars. The remains of this open-cut mining site are uniquely illustrative of the industrial heritage of the region and Georgia. The Dobbins Mining Landscape was recently deemed eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; it is a rare example of an undisturbed historic mining site and no other manganese mine is currently included in the Register.
The Georgia Department of Transportation proposed a new highway project to facilitate traffic from Interstate 75 to Rome, known as the US 411 Connector. As planned, the connector will course directly through the cut of the Dobbins mine.
Those plans for a roadway are of concern to Parkman as well.
“The Dobbins historic mining landscape remains in peril from GDOT’s current attempt to pursue a D-VE ‘avoidance’ route that goes directly through this recognized historic property. GDOT’s new route would destroy and isolate about 45 acres of the historic mining landscape and would obliterate some of the most important historic contributing features (tailings pond, eastern dam, historic road from mill site to Cartersville railhead) that led to the Keeper’s eligibility ruling,” he said. “This approach violates GDOT’s own literature, as well as federal regulations, which require GDOT to pursue an alternative if the proposed route causes even the slightest adverse effect to a historic property. We are hopeful that the publicity from the Places in Peril listing will prompt concerned citizens and leaders to call on GDOT to pursue an alternative route that will not significantly harm the historic Dobbins mining landscape.”
Sites that have been placed on previous years’ lists have included: Rutherford Hall at the University of Georgia in Athens, which was demolished in June 2012 despite popular support from students, residents, alumni and the preservation community; Chattahoochee Park Pavilion in Gainesville, which received $25,000 in building materials after the Gainesville City Council voted in July to restore it; John Berrien House in Savannah, which was recently purchased by a descendant who plans to rehabilitate the house and use it for both commercial and residential space; and the Mary Ray Memorial School in Newnan County, which won a Preservation Award from the Trust in 2012. Updates on these sites and others can be found at www.georgiatrust.org.
Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. Committed to preserving and enhancing Georgia’s communities and their diverse historic resources for the education and enjoyment of all, The Georgia Trust generates community revitalization by finding buyers for endangered properties acquired by its Revolving Fund; provides design assistance to 102 Georgia Main Street cities and encourages neighborhood revitalization; trains teachers in 63 Georgia school systems to engage students to discover state and national history through their local historic resources; and, advocates for funding, tax incentives and other laws aiding preservation efforts.
Other sites on the 2013 list include: Tift Warehouse in Albany; Candler Park Golf Course and Sweet Auburn Commercial District in Atlanta; Cave Spring Log Cabin in Floyd County; Monticello Commercial Building in Jasper County; Lexington Presbyterian Church in Oglethorpe County; Hancock County Courthouse in Sparta; and Traveler’s Rest State Historic Site in Toccoa.