MARIETTA Mayor Steve Tumlin picked up an endorsement last week for his Franklin Road redevelopment plan from the Twin Brooks Community, a townhome neighborhood just off Franklin. Tumlin wants voters to approve $35 million in a November referendum with which to buy several of the most dilapidated garden apartments along Franklin and flip them for redevelopment.
The Twin Homes endorsement was a mixture of encouragement and subtle criticism for the city’s failure to have addressed the problem before now.
“As a resident-owned townhome community, many of our longtime residents have witnessed the substantial decline of the quality of life on the Franklin Road Corridor,” said a statement from Twin Brooks Community Club President Corey Taylor. “However, within our small community we proactively attempt to keep crime, litter and the value of our properties at the highest level attainable.”
“As longstanding Marietta taxpayers, we would really benefit from a renewed sense of interest from our elected representatives. It is safe to say that Twin Brooks welcomes the day when its residents can deem it safe to walk in both directions of Franklin Road and visit nearby stores and parks.”
“This community has been in existence for 31 years and we take pride in our homes. We encourage the mayor and council to tour our community on any given day to see for themselves how we stand out from the rest of Franklin Road.”
MORE POLITICS: State Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta) tells Around Town he still has not ruled out a run for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss next year. The Democrats have had a hard time finding a high-profile candidate for the seat, which thanks, to Georgia’s changing demographics, is expected to be at least somewhat in play. Many expect that party’s standard-bearer to be Michelle Nunn, daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Perry). And chances are that Thompson would not run if she did. But if she stays on the sideline, all bets are off.
“It would be a hell of a way to go out — to run and see how close he gets (to winning),” a politico mused to Around Town of a Thompson run for Senate.
Thompson, who is the longest-serving member of the Georgia Senate, said he has not formed an exploratory committee for a U.S. Senate run. Word of the formation of such a committee often has a domino effect, with other hopefuls quickly announcing plans to run for the seat that might be vacated.
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ONE OF THE BEST-KNOWN episodes of the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain — the fatal wounding of Confederate Gen. and Episcopal Bishop Leonidas Polk atop nearby Pine Mountain — will be remembered Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the 149th anniversary of his death with the dedication of a new plaque on the spot where he fell.
Polk’s death is marked every year by the Cobb-based Lt. General Leonidas Polk Camp 1446 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, but this year’s ceremony will have some additional twists.
The plaque will stand on a pedestal next to the marble monument to Polk that was erected in 1902. The original monument was restored by the SCV two years ago and is now protected by an iron fence. The interpretive plaque stands just outside the fence and cost about $4,000, according to SCV spokesman Martin O’Toole, a Marietta attorney and Civil War buff. About a fourth of the money for the plaque came from the camp and the rest from the state, via a portion of the funds raised by the state’s sale of SCV motor vehicle tags.
“The original monument is fairly decayed and is getting hard to read,” O’Toole said. “It’s made of marble, and marble doesn’t stand up real well to pollution.” Hence, the erection of the interpretive monument/plaque.
POLK WAS KILLED while touring the front lines atop Pine Mountain in the company of Confederate Army commander Gen. Joe Johnston and corps commander Gen. William Hardee. The clump of officers was spotted by Union commander Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, who happened to be visiting one of his artillery batteries 600 yards away on the far side of Stilesboro Road.
“Sherman was amazed at the audacity of the group of Confederates gathered on the heights some 600 yards distant, in plain view and well within range. ‘How saucy they are!’ he exclaimed, and directed (Gen. O.O.) Howard to make them take cover,” Marietta historian Russell Bonds wrote in an article about Polk for Civil War Times magazine in 2006.
The first canon shot from the battery below caused the Confederate officers to head for cover, but the portly Polk was more deliberate in his departure. The second canon shot was a direct hit, nearly tearing Polk in half. He died moments later.
The Confederate position was evacuated that evening and when Union soldiers occupied the mountaintop the next day, they reportedly found a note staked to the ground by a ramrod near the spot where Polk had fallen. Read the note: “You damned Yankee sons of bitches have killed our old Gen. Polk.”
THE PLAQUE will feature three pictures of Polk, including a rarely seen painting of the general by Atlanta artist Wilbur Kurtz that was commissioned by well-known Cobb historian the late Dr. Phil Secrist, probably in connection with the Civil War Centennial (1961-65). Secrist was an author and professor of Civil War history at Kennesaw State University and also served a term from 1989-92 as chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners.
Kurtz (1882-1967) was arguably the foremost painter of “Old South” subjects during the 20th Century and also served as technical advisor for three Hollywood films: “Gone with the Wind,” “Song of the South” and “The Great Train Robbery.”
The latter of the three — and many of Kurtz’s paintings — dealt with “The Great Locomotive Chase,” which involved the hijacking of a Confederate train in Kennesaw by Yankee raiders led by James Andrews. Kurtz had a personal tie to the episode, having married the daughter of the Confederate train conductor (William Fuller), who gave chase and eventually overtook the locomotive The General.
O’Toole says he was told by Kay Secrist, widow of Dr. Secrist, that the painting of Polk on Pine Mountain was the last painting Kurtz finished before his death.
POLK — first cousin of President James K. Polk and a West Point classmate of Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee — chose to enter the ministry shortly after graduation, eventually becoming Episcopal Bishop of Louisiana. His decision to take up arms at the outset of the War Between the States was seen by many Southerners as a sign of the moral “rightness” of their cause, although his performance on the battlefield was mediocre at best.
Saturday’s ceremony will take place at the monument, which stands in the woods just off Beaumont Drive off Stilesboro at the crest of the mountain on property owned by well-known Marietta lawyer Fred “Bow-Tie” Bentley, who lives there and who allowed the SCV to copy rare documents he owns pertaining to Polk for use in their plaque.
The service will feature Confederate re-enactors, the firing of a salute and the reading by O’Toole of a portion of the eulogy that was first read at Polk’s funeral in August by the Rev. Stephen Elliott, the president bishop of the Episcopal Church of the Confederate States of America.
“If you want to hear real, authentic, uncensored war-time Confederate preaching, this will be your opportunity,” O’Toole said. “This eulogy would never be delivered by an Episcopal Bishop today.”
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PEOPLE: Chattahoochee Tech’s Dr. Betty Ann Cook of Mableton has been named South Cobb Citizen of the Year by the South Cobb Rotary Club and the Cobb Chamber of Commerce.
Meanwhile, the Smyrna Business Association has named Associated Home Inspectors founder Russ Lutterbie as its Business Person of the Year.
DIVORCE COURT: From Marietta attorney Bill Gentry Jr.: “So Russia’s Vladimir Putin is getting a divorce. Who wants to represent his wife in that divorce? Be sure to have your affairs in order before you get hired!”