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THE DOBBINS MINING landscape is an important historic industrial site in Georgia and deserves listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation stands behind the Keeper of the National Register’s recent decision regarding its eligibility for the list, which is a final determination and not reviewable.
The Dobbins Mining Landscape is a largely intact, nineteenth-century manganese mine that provides a great amount of information about the way manganese mining was conducted more than 100 years ago.
Archeological features present in the landscape today correspond directly to a map from the historic period, which shows an unusually large open cut, an incline shaft, an ore-processing facility, and a road bed which was laid by the mining company to transport processed ore from the mine to the main railroad line and ultimately to the steel mills.
The early mining industry played an important role in the development of Northwest Georgia in the late nineteenth century through World War I, when manganese was used for the steel in our soldiers’ helmets.
Manganese had many other uses and was mined at Dobbins until the mid-twentieth century.
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT in Northwest Georgia is an extremely important theme in our state’s development. If you are looking for history in this part of the state, textile milling and mining are far more prevalent than the plantation economy, which was never dominant in this region.
Industrial heritage sites do not possess the same kind of physical beauty normally associated with historic sites; however, many people are fascinated with these sites and the important story they tell.
Aesthetic values are not what determine whether a site is historic or not; rather it is the site’s role in the telling of our nation’s history. Dobbins Mine is a site which represents the heritage of Bartow County in a profound way.
GDOT itself recognized the historical significance of Dobbins Mine in a July 2005 publication and recommended a northerly route which would avoid adverse impacts to Dobbins and other historic resources.
There are several other industrial sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places: Sloss Furnace in Birmingham and the Central of Georgia Railway Shops in Savannah are both National Historic Landmarks. Both have taken advantage of this listing and now contribute to their local economies as heritage tourism sites.
We are hopeful that the owners of the Dobbins Mining site will agree to open their property to special tours to people interested in historic preservation. The Georgia Trust has already begun discussions about arranging periodic access to the site for such tours.
ADDITIONALLY, the Georgia Trust is strongly in favor of connecting I-75 to the historic city of Rome. We care greatly about the future of Rome and believe that economic development is the key to protecting the historic resources in Rome and Floyd County.
The Georgia Trust has been quite active in preservation in Rome, where we have had several successful ventures through our Endangered Properties program. The Trust also held its 2010 Annual Meeting and Spring Ramble in Rome, where Trust members from all across our state got a chance to view the remarkable progress made in Rome’s historic downtown and neighborhoods. Several preservation projects in Rome have received Georgia Trust preservation awards, such as the Curry and West Buildings and the Double-Cola Bottling Company building.
The Trust is aware that the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce is in favor of the GDOT route that will destroy Dobbins Mountain; however, that option appears to be closed.
We firmly believe there is an alternative route to connect U.S. 411 with I-75, which will protect historic and environmental resources and save valuable time and over $100 million because it does not require blasting through a rock mountain. We are further committed to working with GDOT, landowners, our State Historic Preservation Office and the residents of Bartow and Floyd counties to accomplish this objective.
Mark C. McDonald is president and CEO of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. He has more than 25 years of professional involvement in historic preservation. Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s largest statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. The Trust works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use.
Those opposed to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Route D-VE for the proposed 411 Connector scored another victory last week when it was announced that the Dobbins Mine site was eligible for distinction from the National Register of Historic Places.
In a document signed July 19, the Keeper of the National Register declared the Dobbins Mine location eligible under criterion A. The same document declared the Guyton Ore Bank ineligible.
“The historic resources associated with historic mining along Dobbins Mountain constitute a mining landscape historic district eligible for listing in the National Register under Criterion A, for its association with late 19th and early 20th century mining operations and for the role this area played in producing large quantities of manganese ore for the manufacturing of steel,” the document reads.
“Earlier this year, the Federal Highway Administration asked the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places to provide a definitive determination of eligibility. Cartersville Ranch, the City of Euharlee and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation were acknowledged as consulting parties in the process, and attended — with the Georgia Department of Transportation and FHWA — meetings with the Keeper and her staff and submitted extensive documentation supporting the historic significance of the Dobbins manganese mining landscape,” said Henry Parkman, attorney of Cartersville Ranch.
“…This eligibility ruling under Criterion A means that the Keeper determined that the “quality of significance in American history … and culture is present in [the Dobbins Mining Landscape site] that possesses integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association,” Parkman explained. “and is ‘associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history,’” he said.
According to Parkman, the Keeper’s eligibility ruling means that the Dobbins mining landscape is covered under a federal statute, Section 4(f), which says federal money cannot be spent on Route D-VE, which would “use” the historic site, “because there is a prudent and feasible alternative route.”
“Keep in mind, these alternative routes were considered in the earlier environmental impact statement. The Dobbins mining landscape is protected under federal law — based on the eligibility ruling — even if the site is not actually listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” he continued.
For the Georgia Trust, the ruling recognizes a part of history that often goes unnoticed.
Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust, said of the ruling, “The Georgia Trust is grateful for this ruling by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places. We believed strongly that Dobbins Mine and the entire cultural landscape was eligible for the national register. Also, we believe its preservation is important to the heritage of the state of Georgia.
“When you look at the history of North Georgia, mines and mills are much more a part of this area’s heritage than plantation houses, but they are frequently overlooked and we are pleased they are getting the attention they deserve.”
Route D-VE, opponents say, is a costly and environmentally damaging choice for the roadway that will link Rome and Floyd County to Interstate 75 north of exit 290 in Cartersville. Concerns raised include the disturbance of wildlife, including the Cherokee darter, and the potential for acidic runoff.
“We are hopeful that GDOT will take this opportunity to select an alternate route that would avoid disturbing cultural and environmental resources at Dobbins Mountain,” Parkman said. “Moving to an alternative route now would get the 411 Connector built sooner and would save taxpayers over $100 million.”
By MARY MARTIN, Coalition for the Right Road, Cartersville
IN THE COLUMN, “Group of 13 ganging up on Rome,”(Rome News-Tribune, July 1) there were several statements that the Coalition for the Right Road (CORR) would like to correct about the U.S. 411 Connector project.
Make no mistake; GDOT’s proposed Route D-VE (when compared to its previously selected Route G) costs $110 million more, is 2.5 miles longer, requires stop lights and twice the amount of expensive bridges and overpasses, and destroys parts of the local environment.
Although the author claimed that Route D-VE was a “long thought-out route,” GDOT failed to study 1,000 linear feet of streams in the right of way, historic Dobbins Mine site and an adjacent mining site — the Milner-Harris property, proposed road cut at Dobbins Mountain for acidic rock and the potential for runoff into nearby streams, endangered plants in the Route D-VE project corridor and Dobbins Mountain for the endangered Indiana bat.
Further, it is inaccurate to say that we and the environmental groups are trying to deny Rome a road to I-75. Rome should have a road to I-75, but it should be the right route — not Route D-VE. The environmental groups and other entities that favor an alternative route have been studying GDOT’s ill-conceived Route D-VE for years. Not only have they hiked the route on Dobbins Mountain, but they have participated in briefings about the road, educated members, attended connector-related meetings and much more.
I found it interesting that the author purposely called out the Georgia Conservancy for its lack of opposition to other major road projects. However, it was the Georgia Conservancy that actually banded with Rome/Floyd County in the 1960s and 1970s (according to newspaper archives) to oppose the eastern route of I-75 due to cost and environmental concerns. The record shows that Romans wanted a more westerly route. When that didn’t happen, opponents from Rome stalled the interstate project for several years. Given this history, the author’s criticism of Route D-VE’s opponents begins to sound hypocritical.
The author also contends it is easy to be critical of “us up here — especially when you don’t have to travel our road.” But those who would advocate wasting $110 million of taxpayers’ money, years of legal delays when other options exist, and damaging your neighboring county’s environmental and historic resources make themselves easy targets for criticism. Also we know that thousands of local citizens have expressed their opposition to Route D-VE and support for a better, cheaper and more sensible route.
The fact is, CORR and its supporters have legitimate concerns about Route D-VE and will continue to work on finding an alternate route that saves taxpayers millions of dollars and preserves the environment.
Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club Schedules Outing at Cartersville Ranch, LLC
Members and Supporters to Hike Dobbins Mountain and Learn About Controversial U.S. 411 Connector
WHO: The Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club, an organization that empowers Georgians to preserve, protect and enjoy our environment, is celebrating Earth Day this year by going back to its John Muir (founder of the Sierra Club) roots. The organization is hosting a hike on Dobbins Mountain, as part of a larger series, so members and supporters can learn about the sensitive habitat and threatened species that will be impacted by the U.S. 411 Connector.
WHAT: Attendees will hike and learn about the Georgia Department of Transportation’s proposed route (Route D-VE) for the environmentally damaging highway, which is planned to cut through Dobbins Mountain. The mountain is located on the beautiful 1800-acre Cartersville Ranch, LLC and is home to a 100-acre conservation easement and historic mine. As currently designed, the mountain, easement and mine will be destroyed by the road and two local watersheds – that are home to the threatened and federally protected Cherokee darter – will be negatively impacted.
WHEN: Saturday, April 9, 2011 – 9 am to 12 pm.
COST: To support the Georgia Chapter’s work to protect these environmentally sensitive and vital habitats a suggested donation of $100 is requested per participant, per trip. Attendees are encouraged to be as generous as possible, as it will help support the organization’s conservation work across the state.
WHERE: Cartersville Ranch, LLC
2051 US Highway 411 NE
Cartersville, Ga. 30121
VISUALS: Chapter members and supporters will hike the scenic property on and around Dobbins Mountain. Attendees will see abundant wildlife and plant life on the ranch property and mountain. Sections of the proposed right-of-way and centerline will be flagged so visitors can see (up close) Route D-VE.
PLEASE visit the following website to register your objection to Route D-VE: http://protectgeorgia.net/takeaction.asp?aaid=5051.
This alert allows you the opportunity to send a message (which has already been developed, but can be modified) opposing Route D-VE to several elected officials and transportation officials. It literally takes a few seconds to complete the process.
Thanks to our friends at the Broad River Water Association, Georgia Canoeing Association, Georgia Conservancy, Georgia Conservation Voters, Georgia Forest Watch and Georgia River Network for supporting this action alert. Your help and support means a lot!
The rough weather and time constraints due to the holidays have limited our efforts to collect petition signatures against Route D-VE. To keep up the momentum (of our 1,000+ signatures so far), we’re asking all of our friends and supporters to email our online petition to your email address book. Here is the link for the petition:
Best part is, it literally takes a few seconds to complete the petition.
Some will say, this road doesn’t apply to me. Not true.
The state of Georgia is planning to spend (err waste) federal dollars, about $22 to $25 million, on the construction of this road that is 2.5 miles longer and costs $182 million more than alternate routes, destroys a mountain and conservation easement, blasts through a historic mine, negatively impacts the threatened and federally protected Cherokee darter and more.
As you can see, this is a complete waste of your tax dollars when other shorter, cheaper and more efficient routes exist. Help us stop Route D-VE today!
Coalition for the Right Road Collects Approximately 1,000 Signatures Against Proposed Route for the U.S. 411 Connector
Residents Support Cheaper, Shorter Alternate Route with Little Environmental Impact
(Cartersville, Ga.) – The Coalition for the Right Road (CORR), an organization of Georgia citizens committed to making sure the U.S. 411 Connector is built cheaper, safer and with minimal environmental impact, announced today the group has obtained about 1,000 signatures from residents in Bartow County (and beyond) to stop the Georgia Department of Transportation’s (GDOT) proposed design, Route D-VE, for the U.S. 411 Connector.
CORR’s membership has surged into the hundreds and has been extremely active in the community in recent weeks. The coalition has participated in several local events, parades and business meetings, presented at the Cartersville City Council and Bartow County Commission meetings, attended GDOT board meetings and more. Membership is open to anyone who supports a shorter, cheaper and less environmentally impactful route for the connector.
Route D-VE is expected to cost taxpayers more than $280 million – making it a $182 million more expensive than GDOT’s originally proposed design, Route G. The current route is 2.5 miles longer and requires twice as many expensive bridges and overpasses than Route G. It also will destroy Dobbins Mountain and historic Dobbins Mine, and negatively impacts a 100-acre significant wildlife refuge on the mountain. GDOT’s road requires a costly, complicated and dangerous interchange with I-75 and needlessly jeopardizes the threatened and federally-protected Cherokee darter.
“Route D-VE is a colossal waste of taxpayer money and environmental destruction of the worst kind,” said Leslie Crawford, member of Coalition for the Right Road. “Obviously, this route is not as popular as GDOT thinks. We have discovered that thousands of residents in Bartow County and Cartersville are completely unaware of the road’s excessive cost and pending environmental destruction. Other routes, such as Route G, would save the state $182 million and would affect significantly fewer residents and landowners while serving the exact same purpose.”
The Coalition for the Right Road (CORR) is an organization of Georgia citizens committed to making sure the U.S. 411 Connector is built at the lowest cost to taxpayers with minimal environmental impact. CORR is opposed to the Georgia Department of Transportation’s current plans for the 411 Connector – Route D-VE – because of its high cost, inefficient interchange and environmental destruction. The coalition is committed to raising awareness of shorter, cheaper and less destructive routes, and is open to anyone who shares these concerns. For more information, visit www.coalitionfortherightroad.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
As promised, listed below is GDOT’s response to CORR’s questions about the 411 Connector. The meeting took place immediately after GDOT’s October board meeting.
The cost estimate documents GDOT provided did not support the State Transporation Improvement Program (STIP) cost projection for the road, so we are following up to clarify that information before posting it. Please check back soon (in this blog post) for the latest cost estimate information.
Q & A (directly from GDOT’s deputy press secretary):
Specifically related to the 411 Connector project (661950), how much notification will a property owner be given that they may be affected by the act of eminent domain and/or condemnation?
Once the Department authorizes right-of-way (RoW) funds, the Department will hold a property owners meeting within a few months. Then individuals that own property that is required for the road will be contacted individually to begin the acquisition process.
Where in the “re-evaluation” process is the existing environmental documentation?
There are two items remaining on the re-evaluation:
1) The potential of acidic soil that may affect the [Cherokee] darter fish species investigation. [This study] is almost complete and will be to submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2) The study of the Dobbins Mine for historic significance and will not be completed until April 2011.
Once both have been completed, the re-evaluation will be submitted to FHWA for approval, perhaps in May 2011.
What is the status of the additional analysis that they believe is being conducted to determine the effect of acid drainage from excavation of Dobbins Mountain into the water/stream system?
The soil borings have been completed and the response to U.S. Fish and Wildlife is being drafted.
The TIP documents they have show three related projects – 008842, 008843 and 008844. They want to know what these projects are, how they are related to the big project, and if the funds associated with these three projects are separate from, or included in, the $182 million listed on project 661950 construction?
Those three project numbers were for tracking earmarked RoW funding that is now included in Project No. 661950 total.
Where are all of the above projects in the funding process? Have funds been identified and allocated already, or are they on a long-term future list with no funding?
RoW acquisition funding is programmed and that acquisition is scheduled to begin this fiscal year (2011). Construction funding is not programmed as yet.
Why is GDOT tearing down a mountain and displacing eagles (birds), instead of just going around?
We are not doing either of these things. This route represents the most cost effective use of taxpayer resources while protecting the environment and fulfilling the project’s need and purpose.
The group believes GDOT’s district office is removing their protest signs from private property. They say they visited the office and saw their signs in the back of GDOT pick-up trucks. They want an explanation of why GDOT is removing their signs placed on private property – said they have asked the property owners for permission to place them.
This issue arises every election season. We have neither the resources nor the interest level to remove signage from private property. We are required by law, however, to remove signs illegally placed within state right of way.