http://www.theleafchronicle.com/news...ws/421620.html The link to the article includes some photographs not posted here....
Fort Heiman land deal to preserve U.S. history
Originally published Monday, February 16, 2004
By JIMMY SETTLE
NEW CONCORD, Ky. -- Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Dover may soon grow to include a third, often forgotten Civil War fort.
The Senate Energy Committee Wednesday approved a bill to expand the boundaries of Fort Donelson National Battlefield. Plans are to include Fort Heiman in Kentucky as part of the national park.
As chairman of the Senate Energy Subcommittee, Lamar Alexander characterized the move as a significant step toward giving the battle its due in the annals of American history.
"Fort Donelson was the site of a significant Civil War battle in February of 1862. I am pleased that the Senate Energy Committee approved this bill. It is important for Congress to do all it can to preserve the history of our state and this nation," Alexander said.
The result, Kentucky and Tennessee officials hope, will not only be increased historical preservation efforts, but a greater infusion of tourism-related spending in northern Middle Tennessee and western Kentucky.
The Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board has awarded the Fort Heiman project $367,000, representing the final funds needed to purchase the remaining lots within the Fort Heiman site overlooking the Tennessee River (Kentucky Lake) in nearby Calloway County, Ky.
About 250 acres are involved in the land buy. This, and other land acquisitions closer to existing National Park Service property in Dover, could raise Fort Donelson's combined jurisdictional area to about 2,000 acres over time.
"This brings us that much closer to having a national park in western Kentucky," said Debby Spencer, tourism development specialist for the 45-county West Kentucky Corp.
Spencer said she looks forward to seeing nearby Kentucky counties share more directly in the benefits of offering Civil War heritage tourism. The check that all but solidifies the deal was presented recently in the rotunda of the Kentucky state capitol in Frankfort.
Last year, the "Fort Donelson National Battlefield Expansion Act of 2003" was introduced by Kentucky U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield and co-signed by U.S. Rep. John Tanner, whose district includes Stewart County where Fort Donelson is located, as well as a portion of Montgomery County. The measure was set up to allow the National Park Service to acquire and provide public historical interpretation at the Fort Heiman Civil War site.
A large portion of Fort Heiman property was purchased in September from money received through Transportation Enhancement Funds -- federal funds awarded through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet -- and a portion of the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund.
Thus far, more than $1 million has been raised through state and federal grants and other funding sources to help the Calloway County Fiscal Court buy the historic site and give all of the property to the National Park Service.
Richard Hanks, superintendent of Fort Donelson National Battlefield, said this week his staff is "excited" about the prospects for expansion.
"Things appear to be going good with this plan," Hanks said. "I think it's very exciting to see that the park is going to be able to expand to include all of the Civil War history of this area. It will add to the economic base of this entire region, through interpretation and more monies coming into the park and area businesses."
Hanks added that forts Donelson, Henry and Heiman -- the trilogy of local Civil War forts that, combined, formed a key campaign in the war's western theater -- are getting more national attention than ever before.
Forts Donelson, Henry and Heiman were Confederate river defenses that were captured by then-Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in mid-February 1862.
Fort Donelson is preserved by the National Park Service on the Cumberland River in Dover, while the general site of Fort Henry is located on the opposite bank of the Tennessee River from Heiman, within the confines of what is today the USDA Forest Service Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.
"One key indicator of this is that, in April, the American Battlefield Protection Program and the Civil War Preservation Trust are holding their annual convention in Nashville, with one of the focus areas of discussion being the Fort Donelson area. The park and the region surrounding it are getting nationwide attention, which is what we want," Hanks said.
Jimmy Settle is Business editor and can be reached at 245-0752, or at firstname.lastname@example.org