View Full Version : Clarksville Civil War site threatened by growth
07-06-2004, 12:20 AM
Clarksville Civil War site threatened by growth
Kentucky New Era
From staff reports firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARKSVILLE -- The site of a Civil War-era recruiting and mustering camp for the storied "Orphan Brigade" in Clarksville, Tenn., is under the threat of development, and advocates are asking residents interested in history to attend zoning meetings this week and next.
"This camp was the site of mustering by hundreds, if not thousands of Kentuckians and Tennesseeans on horseback, taking more than a few acres along Spring Creek for bathing, watering horses, and drilling over several acres," Clarksville attorney Cleo Hogan said. "The land upon which this muster ground is located is up for rezoning to a category that will allow truck stops, and many other uses," Hogan added.
According to a news release, the site, which remains largely undisturbed since the 1860s, is located north of Clarksville on U.S. 70 toward Guthrie, Ky.
The Regional Planning Commission has recommended approval of the rezoning request should there be no objection of the public, and that recommendation is set for an informal hearing before the full County Commission at 7 p.m. Thursday and final approval at 7 p.m. July 12.
"We need to get dozens of supporters there to help save this historic site. We need to let the County Commission know that people in the area support historic preservation and that such sites are part of our history," said Greg Biggs, president of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable. "These sites are also of great interest to tourists who come through this area to visit Civil War sites.
"None of us wishes to prevent new jobs from coming to our community, but there is a way that the developer can have their site and historians can have theirs," Biggs said. "It just takes some cooperation and planning to make this happen. This has been successfully done in several Civil War areas of Virginia and Georgia, where the developers incorporated Civil War sites into their development. Both sides win in that scenario -- and that can happen here."
Biggs noted that a cooperative effort between several heritage groups and the Clarksville museum will lead to the creation of a comprehensive driving tour of Civil War sites that would include the sites of training camps, forts, battles, historic homes and cemeteries. The Orphan Brigade site is to be a pivotal part of the planned map tour.
Steven Stewart of the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center in Clarksville can be contacted at (931) 648-5780.
07-08-2004, 08:31 AM
Connolly, Regan Loyola. "Rezoning has historians hunting for Camp Boone," The Leaf-Chronicle 8 July 2004. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/news/stories/20040708/localnews/802039.html (accessed [8 July 2004])
Rezoning has historians hunting for Camp Boone
By REGAN LOYOLA CONNOLLY
Originally published Thursday, July 8, 2004
Historians and Civil War buffs plan to speak out today against a rezoning request that could endanger the site of the former Camp Boone.
The County Commission, at tonight's informal meeting, will consider the request to rezone nearly 47 acres of farmland north of Clarksville at the northeast intersection of Guthrie Highway and Spring Creek Village Road from agricultural to industrial and commercial land.
Included in those acres is at least part of the training camp of the Kentucky Orphan Brigade, a fighting unit in the Civil War. Camp Boone, established in 1861, was the training site for roughly 2,000 troops, many of whom were from Kentucky. It rested along Spring Creek and included a field hospital and a house where officers were thought to have lived.
Those opposed to the rezoning said they want at least a 90-day delay to see what -- if any -- historical value the land may have. Greg Biggs, founder and president of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable, said if the land is developed, relics and artifacts from the camp may be lost forever.
"We don't know what is there, so we are asking for some time to do a proper archeological study," he said. "Let's see what is there. If nothing shows up, then we don't have a leg to stand on. If something does show up, we need to talk to the developer about how we can preserve the site and allow for the development."
The Clarksville-Montgomery County Regional Planning Commission recommended approval for the rezoning request at its June 23 meeting.
Regional Planning Commission Director David Riggins said he told the commission the land in question included Camp Boone, but there wasn't any in-depth discussion of the site.
The land is owned by Glenn Hooks Jr., who inherited it by marrying a descendent of the original landowner. Hooks is not listed in the telephone book, so he could not be reached for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.
But Hooks made a similar rezoning request three years ago that was denied by the County Commission.
District 1 County Commissioner Sissy Rankin, whose district includes the land in question, said she wants to find a solution that will please the land owner and area historians.
"We need to take a look at it and see exactly where Camp Boone is," she said. "No one would really expect someone to set all of the land aside, but no one for sure knows where Camp Boone's boundaries are."
Cleo Hogan, a member of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable and a supporter of local historical preservation, said Camp Boone and Fort Defiance are the only Civil War sites in Montgomery County recognized by the state. That, he said, is reason enough to protect the site.
"I just think that people interested in developing this land need to consider the significance of permanent preservation of a Civil War site," he said. "This land has real interest to the county and to two states -- Tennessee and Kentucky. It has regional significance."
Biggs said preserving the site could help the county economy. Historical tourism is on the rise, Biggs said, and that translates into dollars for local governments.
Biggs hosted a tour group from Indiana two weeks ago who stayed in Clarksville hotel rooms and ate in area restaurants during their tour of Camp Boone and Fort Defiance.
"If you knock down history, you don't have anything to show anyone," he said. "We can get people to come here and promote our history and heritage."
Both Biggs and Hogan said they don't want to tell Hooks what to do with his land, they just want more time to make sure any rezoning doesn't endanger a historic site.
"We are not anti-development. We are businesspeople and we know what jobs mean to the city," Biggs said. "We think we can do both development and historical preservation."
Regan Loyola Connolly covers courts and county government and can be reached by telephone at 245-0719 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
TO GET INVOLVED
The Montgomery County Commission will meet at 7 p.m. today for its informal meeting in the County Courthouse. The zoning case involving the former Camp Boone will be held at that time.
A public hearing on the county's budget will be at 6 p.m.
The commission will have its voting session at 7 p.m. July 12 at the County Courthouse.
For information, call 648-5787.
07-10-2004, 01:04 AM
County stalls rezoning plan on possible Civil War site
By REGAN LOYOLA CONNOLLYThe Leaf-Chronicle
It will be at least 90 days before any development will begin on a track of land north of Clarksville that may have been the site of Camp Boone, a training ground for Confederate soldiers. In their informal meeting Thursday, the Montgomery County Commission delayed consideration for one of two rezoning requests for two adjacent pieces of land owned by Glenn Hooks Jr. Historians, Civil War buffs and concerned citizens protested Hooks' rezoning requests -- citing the possibility that artifacts and relics left behind by the 2,500 soldiers who trained at Camp Boone in 1861 could be lost forever if the farm land is developed.
Developer Wendel Ethridge, who wants to build a manufacturing plant on the 16.4-acre tract of land, agreed to a 90-day delay on the rezoning of a 30-acre tract of land that borders Spring Creek after a group of opponents addressed the County Commission. Cleo Hogan, an attorney and member of the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable, brought coins, a soldier's belt buckle and other Civil War artifacts for commissioners' viewing. Hogan said all of the items were found on the Hooks' property. "There are artifacts here," he said. "We are simply asking you for time. We would like 90 days to raise $10,000 to have the state archeologist survey the site and find out what is out there."
Hooks and his wife, Betty, told the commission they do not believe there is enough evidence to prove the boundaries of Camp Boone are on their land. "This has taken us by great surprise," Betty Hooks told the commission. "If these people are so certain Camp Boone is on our property, why is the sign that marks it a long ways down the road from where our property is?"
Ethridge said he agreed to delaying the rezoning request by 90 days for the larger tract of land because he didn't want to stumble upon artifacts after development had begun. "If we get out there and start uncovering graves, we'll have a problem," Ethridge said. "We want to know what we're getting into."
The commission will vote on the rezoning request for the smaller piece of land at their formal meeting Monday. Shirley Thomasi, executive director of the Clarksville Arts and Heritage Council, said there is enough interest in Montgomery County to raise money for an archeological study of the land and possibly for the purchase of a small section of the tract for preservation purposes. "The funding is there, it's just a matter of finding the people who believe in this cause," she said. "We would like to have the opportunity to look at raising money to offset the sale for development." Karel Lea Biggs, secretary for the Clarksville Civil War Roundtable, said preserving the site could bring in revenue for the county through tourism. "We have to save our history so people can see it," she said. "If you build over it, people won't come to see it and they won't bring their checkbooks." Hooks said the plant proposed for his land would also bring in revenue. "What we're trying to do is put something in that will give the county dollars and jobs now," he said. "Maybe we'll get the tourists, but maybe that doesn't pay the bills."
Regan Loyola Connolly covers courts and county government and can be reached by telephone at 245-0719 or by e-mail at
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