This appeared in the Rome News-Tribune on November 7, 2012
I want to thank the Rome News-Tribune for its recent editorial, Trusting in Tomorrow, about the list of Ten Places in Peril for 2013 just announced by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. The principal purpose of our list is to draw attention to the rich heritage of our state in jeopardy of being lost. As our list this year so clearly demonstrates, the history of Georgia has contributed much to our unique American story.
You take exception to our decision to include the Dobbins Mining Landscape among the Ten Places in Peril, and I would like to explain why the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation believes that it has a well-earned place on the list.
Despite the lengthy controversy over plans for the U.S. 411 Connector project, the Dobbins Mining Landscape is a truly important historic resource. While the full value of Dobbins Mining Landscape has just recently come to light, its important role in contributing to the industrial might of America is now well established – literally since the hardening qualities of manganese mined at Dobbins was essential to America’s steel making industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While the state’s role in gold mining is perhaps best known, Dobbins helps us understand just how diverse and critical our state’s mining heritage has been. The historic importance of the Dobbins Mining Landscape has now been affirmed through a determination of eligibility by the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, DC, who perhaps has the best national perspective on what constitutes a property of importance in American history.
You are correct to identify adequate transportation access as critical to the financial well-being and success of preserving historic properties. But transportation developments have too often been the cause of many of our historic places being lost. The best hope for avoiding this in the future is understanding the real consequences of proposed transportation plans. This includes knowing the importance of historic properties–like Dobbins Mining Landscape–and adopting plans that help protect these important parts of our heritage while meeting our state’s transportation needs.
The Georgia Trust is in favor of a direct route to connect Rome with I-75 and believe that alternatives exist that can be accomplished expeditiously and without destroying historic and environmentally sensitive areas. We are most willing to work with citizens of Rome, GDOT and others to achieve this goal.
Mark C. McDonald
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.