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.”