Developer vows to work with preservationists and spare ‘better of the past for the future’
by Nikki Wiley
July 12, 2013 12:19 AM | 2564 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Historian William Lathem looks over a Civil War gun position that has been marked out with surveying ribbons. The land is slated for housing development by the Pacific Group, which says it is looking at preserving the Civil War fortifications.

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Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Historian William Lathem looks over a Civil War gun position that has been marked out with surveying ribbons. The land is slated for housing development by the Pacific Group, which says it is looking at preserving the Civil War fortifications.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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KENNESAW — Standing in a heavily wooded area off Stilesboro Road, William Lathem doesn’t just see overgrown trees and weeds; he’s looking at a 150 years of history.

As Lathem, a Paulding County historian, envisions the area as it was during the Civil War, the Pacific Group is looking toward the future. The company has purchased 56 acres to construct a 96-lot housing development.

And they’re vowing to preserve artifacts on the property.

“Preserving these reach outs and trenches and using them as a feature in our development that people can view and walk around can only benefit our development and Cobb County,” said Mike Kilgallon, president of the Pacific Group.

The Cobb County Planning Commission unanimously granted an application for an open space community overlay earlier this week that will enable the preservation.

“This is an excellent example of how developers and preservationists can work to better preserve the best of the past for the future,” Lathem said.

A large hole constructed in a semi-circle fashion once held three canons and was used leading up to the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Another fortification on the south end of the future development likely held six cannons, Lathem said, with trench lines that are still in tact nearby.

“On June 17, 1864, it would’ve been very dangerous to stand here where we are with all of the artillery flying around,” Lathem said.

The tract facing Kennesaw Mountain is rich with history. Used first as a cannon fortification site by the Confederacy, it later was used by Union forces after the South retreated.

“That’s one of the interesting things about this site,” Lathem said. “It was used by both the Confederacy and Union. You had blue and gray in here.”

Preservation efforts began when Jeff Wright, a local historian, approached the company after noticing zoning signs on the property. This part of Cobb County’s history isn’t as prevalent as it used to be. Growth and development compromised some artifacts.

“These kind of fortifications 25 years ago were very common in west Cobb,” said Wright, who lives in Kennesaw.

Though the fortifications would have been between one and two feet higher in the 1860s, they are visible and in good condition.

Pacific Group plans to protect the area with fencing and make it accessible with a walking trail and information signs.

Wright hopes it inspires a younger generation to become curious about history.

“I think it’s important to have a visible reminder that something bigger than usual happened here once upon a time,” he said.

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