“This becomes our ‘to do’ list for the year, so to speak,” the nonprofit’s president and CEO, Mark C. McDonald, said.
The Cave Spring Log Cabin, the Stilesboro Academy near Bartow County’s Taylorsville and the Dobbins mining landscape in Cartersville made the list — which was officially announced at a Wednesday night reception in Atlanta.
Nominations from around the state are evaluated based on their historic significance, on the impending threat and the existence of a local group working on behalf of the site.
The selection puts the “winners” in line for assistance from the Trust’s preservation experts and, hopefully, draws attention to their plight, McDonald said.
“We can’t possibly give attention to every site in the state, so this focuses our efforts,” he said. “All of these sites are put on the list because they’re representative of other sites in peril.”
Cave Spring Log Cabin
Discovered two years ago under the “skin” of the old Green Hotel in downtown Cave Spring, the log cabin may date to the early 1800s and could even have belonged to one of the native Cherokee residents.
Its deterioration is becoming almost irreversible, however, and — after working on and off with the Cave Spring Historical Society — the Trust decided the cabin’s time has come.
The town of 1,000 has a number of historic buildings, including the E.S. Brown/Fairview Colored School, a Trust pick for 2011.
“We had hoped they’d be farther along in raising money to preserve the cabin, but now it’s in danger because the interior is exposed,” McDonald said. “Lots of history and a poor economy make preservation difficult in some small Georgia towns.”
Dianna Edwards Haney, a member of the Historical Society, said a contingent led by preservation chair Jan Musick was headed to Atlanta to celebrate at the reception.
“This doesn’t give you money but, … it brings a wealth of resources to the table,” she said.
A contractor could start as early as next week on a stabilization project. Haney said he’ll prop up the tilting second story and install a metal roof to stop the leaks until they can raise more funds for the next step.
The 1850s Stilesboro Academy off Ga. 113 near the Bartow line is a community-built schoolhouse from an era before public education. It contains relics of local events, including Sherman’s Civil War march through Georgia and a midget wedding.
Ann Mascia of The Stilesboro Improvement Club said needed roof repairs alone are estimated at $42,000.
“It’s imperiled because we’re a tiny little ladies’ club, and we can’t raise enough money to take care of it,” she said. “I have high hopes this (designation) will be an excellent source for us. I’m crossing my fingers.”
McDonald called the academy “a charming place” and said the situation in Taylorsville highlights the issue of caretaker organizations with an aging membership.
“These historical societies need to be re-energized,” he said. “There needs to be new people to carry the baton to the next generation.”
The club’s 100th annual Chrysanthemum Show, its primary fundraiser, is set for 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Nov. 3. Admission is $2 to see the decorated academy and live crafts demonstrations. Lunch and Brunswick stew by the gallon are sold separately.
Dobbins mining landscape
Arguably the most controversial selection on the list, the Dobbins Mine in Cartersville produced manganese ore from 1867 to 1945, supplying the nation’s steel mills through both World Wars.
It’s also in the path of the proposed 411 Connector to Interstate 75, and the landowners — the wealthy Rollins family — have spent decades trying to derail the project.
Most recently it was declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but the Georgia Department of Transportation is trying to shift the road to an area it says is already compromised.
“One reason we wanted to list it … bad transportation decisions have probably destroyed more historical sites than anything else,” McDonald said.
A memorandum of understanding between the Trust and the owners of each designated Place of Peril spells out commitments from each party. McDonald said they’ve been discussions about limited access to the mining site for tours.
Rollins spokesman Henry Parkman said there are logistical issues to be worked out, and nothing specific is lined up yet, but a collaboration with the nearby Tellus Science Museum is possible.
“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,” he said.
Jeff Lewis, the State Transportation Board representative for the district, said in an emailed response that “at this point, it does not affect our current strategy.”