Smyrna Historic Preservation?

Last October there was a pair of wonderful presentations regarding
historic preservation.  First was Leigh Burns,
Preservation Planner, at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  Mandy Elliott, who is a Historic Preservation
Planner for Cobb County, followed her. 
I knew very little about historic preservation and the meanings of “historic districts” and how they can fulfill an important
role in protecting our heritage.  I was very pleased to learn about the
differences  between a National Register District and a Local Historic
District.  I also learned the benefits
of Smyrna becoming a Certified Local Government (CLG) Program.  We are not one now and becoming one is quite
involved, but, it would benefit the city immensely to provide the framework for
protection of our historic past.  Cobb
County is a CLG and supports historic preservation in unincorporated Cobb
County; however, Smyrna is behind.  Other
area cities such as Kennesaw, which is a CLG, and Marietta and Acworth, who
have Historic Preservation Ordinances, have taken the initiative and have
committed themselves to historic preservation. 
As such, I encourage our city council and mayor to pursue the process of
becoming a CLG.
Leigh provided a one-page flyer about the key personnel
involved in the Historic Preservation Division. 
A more detailed version of the information is in the Staff Directory on the Georgia DNR, Historic Preservation Division website.
We learned a lot about the CLG Program. There is a great flyer about the CLG program on line.
We were enlightened regarding what the differences in
capabilities and authority are between a National Register Historic District
and a Local Historic District. (See
The Georgia DNR – Historic Preservation Division provides a
roadmap to success at http://georgiashpo.org/community/hpo.
It starts with public education.  I encourage everyone to learn
about the process, understand what the benefits are, and see how the actions affect
property owners. It is not as impactful on property owners as you might expect.  For example, I
learned the program does nothing about the insides of the building or a building’s use.

Next, the city needs to draft a Historic PreservationOrdinance.  The Georgia DNR-HPD has a model Historic Preservation Ordinance for entites to use.  They also have other information that shows the
Legal
basis for preservation ordinances
 and Public
relations tips
 .

In the second presentation, Mandy Elliott talked about
various projects of historic preservation that have occurred in unincorporated
Cobb County and there are a lot of them. 
She also mentioned driving tours of Cobb County; there are three
of them.  She had flyers for them after the meeting; however, route maps and information are
available at the Cobb County Community Development Agency webpages, http://comdev.cobbcountyga.gov/historic-markers/driving-tour.htm.  
I can’t wait for the next free “top down” day
to begin my historical driving tour of the county. 
Again, I think Smyrna should pursue becoming a Certified Local Government.  The process will help the city define more sites that are truly historic and might even bump up our number of historic sites on the driving tour from a paltry three locations. 

Lives and Times – July-Aug 2012

I recently joined the Smyrna Historical and Genealogical Society (SHaGS) and received my first issue of their official publication, Lives and Times. The issue, Vol. 27, No. 4 – July/August 2012 was very informative and interesting.
The cover, and three-page, article is about the dedication of the Taylor/Brawner House and Brawner Hospital – Smyrna’s first National Register of Historic Places. The article has many pictures and “call-outs” of people who attended. There were descendants of the Taylor family (I’m not a relation), lots of elected officials, many SHaGS members and lots other people. I was unable to attend, due to another commitment, but it sure looks like they had a great time. 
The next article regards the SHaGS meeting of June 28, 2012. Professor Tom Scott, of Kennesaw University, talked about the impact of the Bell Bomber Plant coming to Smyrna in the 1940’s. Lockheed took it over in the 1950’s. It fueled the economy of Smyrna and Cobb County for decades.
Next was a New Member section. I forgot that they had taken a photo of me in the museum research room. It is an okay photo. They got some of my history a little incorrect, all of the elements are correct, it is just some of the timings of them are a bit off. Overall, I was very pleased to receive a full column of recognition. There is also a welcome to another new member, Cheryl Emmett Bennett. I really appreciate her membership, as she is who relieves me when my volunteer period is done. Thank you Cheryl both for your membership and for volunteering.
Next are mentions of individuals who have renewed or upgraded their membership in SHaGS.
The next section relates to donations. One was a 1954 postcard with a poem about Smyrna, Georgia. “The finest pace on this old Earth….” It is a lovely little 20-line poem. Also of interest are 18 scrapbooks of the Smyrna American Legion Auxiliary, Post 160. They go back to 1948. I definitely want to look at them during my next museum visit.
Next is a feature article, “From Kennesaw Mountain to the Chattahoochee River: General Johnston’s Lost Opportunity to Save Atlanta.” The five-page article, by William P. Marchione, is quite excellent. Thorough and insightful he discusses Johnston’s flawed strategy, and Francis Shoup’s development of Shoupades, sort of a small mini-fort unique to the Smyrna and Chattahoochee River area. This wonderful article series will be continued in the next issue of Lives and Times.  I’m not much of a civil war enthusiast but his article made me want to learn more. 
Finally, is a long, eleven-page section on “Visiting the Past” which can be an invaluable asset to genealogical researchers. This regular series, researched by Norma McHann, provides notes, obits, occurrences, and interesting historical and genealogical bits throughout Smyrna history taken from various newspapers and other documents at the museum. She stays focused on the two months of the particular issue but go back historically forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, 110, 120, 130, and 148 years ago. Some of the items are genealogically important, others are just interesting to read and can put life to a story. For example, [July 6, 1882] “Mr. Hester Haynes, of Atlanta, was buried that Smyrna Saturday afternoon.” to [Aug. 3, 1882] “The Methodists are preparing to build a new church in Smyrna.” The article finishes with a graduation program, and class roll, from the 1952 Senior Class of Campbell High School, which was the school’s first graduating class.
I was very impressed with Lives and Times. It is a great asset for anyone researching individuals from or background information regarding Smyrna, Georgia and a fun read.
For more information regarding SHaGS, please see www.SmyrnaHistory.org.