Kennesaw Mountain
Administrative History
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Kennesaw Mountain NBP: A Selected Chronology

1899 On December 26, L. J. Dawdy, veteran of the 86th Illinois, Union Army, purchased a 60-acre tract, including the Federal and Confederate trenches within the Cheatham Hill area.

1900 On February 15, Dawdy conveyed the land to Martin Kingman and John McGinnis.

1904 On August 13, Kingman and McGinnis transferred ownership of the land to the Colonel Dan McCook Brigade Association for $1000. According to the deed, Kingman and McGinnis had been acting on behalf of the Kennesaw Mountain Association of Illinois, which wanted to erect a monument on the property in honor of those Federal soldiers who made the assault on Cheatham Hill during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in June 1864.

1914 On June 27, the Illinois Monument was unveiled during the 50th anniversary observance of the battle. It had been constructed by McNeel Marble Company of Marietta for $25,000. The ceremony was attended by the governor of Illinois and a large number of veterans.

1917 On February 8, Congress authorized the acceptance by the United States government of a proposed gift of the 60-acre tract at Cheatham Hill from the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Association of Illinois. Problems establishing-a clear title to the property delayed its transfer.

1922 On June 8, the first resident caretaker, Rev. J. A. Jones, was appointed by the Association. His duties were to maintain the grounds around the monument. He received no salary but was allowed to cultivate some of the land.

1926 On April 5, Congress authorized the inspection of the Kennesaw Mountain and Lost Mountain and other battlefields. A three-man commission was charged with inspecting the battlefields and determining the feasibility of acquiring any of them for a national military park. Based on the commission's report, the first legislation was introduced on December 7 for the creation of a national memorial military park at Kennesaw Mountain. Similar bills were introduced for the next nine years.

1928 On February 27, the property was officially deeded to the federal government for $10. The site was placed under the administration of the War Department, specifically the Fourth Corns Area of the Quartermaster Corps.

1932 On April 13, Benjamin F. Jones was appointed as the new resident caretaker. As compensation, he received 30 acres of lowland for farming.

1933 On August 10, kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Site was transferred to the National Park Service. It was to be administered by Chickamauga/ Chattanooga NMP. Development work was to be a Civil Works Administration project.

1934 In December, four CWA guides began regularly providing tours of the Cheatham Hill area on weekends.

1935 On June 26, Congress appropriated $100,000 to purchase land and make improvements to the park and to redesignate it kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. In October, Olinus Smith arrived in Marietta and began buying Property. Some landowners, primarily the Kennesaw Mountain Association, held out for more money; the Association owned 450 acres on Big and Little Kennesaw Mountains.

In April, the National Park Service authorized the erection of markers where Brig. Gen. Charles G. Harker, Col. Dan McCook, and Col. O. F. Harmon fell at Cheatham Hill.

1936 By December, the government had initiated condemnation proceedings against 11 parcels of land, eight belonging to the Kennesaw Mountain Association.

1937 In February, the hearings began for the condemnation of the land owned by the Kennesaw Mountain Association. The court appointed a three-member board to appraise the property. In March, the board valued the land at $85,000 in a split decision. The government refused to pay that much and the case went before a jury. On July 21, the jury assessed the value at $9000. The Association filed an appeal. The judge raised the price to $16,000 and the government agreed to pay. The Association made several more appeals (including one attempt to get the case reviewed by the U. S. Supreme Court), but lost each time.

1938 On July 1, a Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established at Kennesaw Mountain NBP. Projects included maintenance and improvement of the existing roads, construction of new roads and permanent buildings, landscaping, fire protection, erosion control, and interpretation.

1939 On May 1, Kennesaw Mountain NBP was designated an independent unit. On August 9, Congress passed the Third Deficiency Appropriation Act, which provided Kennesaw Mountain NBP with $55,000 for additional land acquisition.

Work began on renovation of the Hyde house for use as a museum and headquarters. In June, the first museum exhibit was installed.

In August, trained CCC guides began providing interpretive programs. In September, a general policy of road location was approved by the NPS Director. A loop road was to be built on the crests of the ridges to the rear of the entrenchments. The road would connect sites selected for interpretive development. A road from the CCC camp to the top of Big Kennesaw was to be improved as a work road.

In October, the CCC began operating a quarry on the side of Big Kennesaw Mountain to extract rock for road projects.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration requested permission to build a new, taller tower for its airplane beacon on Big Kennesaw. The NPS, concerned about the visual impact, denied the request for a new tower, but did allow an increase in the candlepower of the beacon. As part of the agreement, the CAA put the new cable underground.

1940 In January, a registration desk was installed at Cheatham Hill. By February, the layout was complete for the new headquarters area at the base of Big Kennesaw. It was to include the administration building (renovated Hyde house), utility buildings, the superintendent's residence and connecting roads.

On March 11, the road from Dallas Road to Cheatham Hill was dedicated; 50 CCC workers were assigned to the project. In May, excavation began for a 20,000 gallon reservoir on Big Kennesaw. In October, the state and Cobb County began paving Dallas Road. A right-of-way was granted to AT& T for placement of overhead lines within the park, with the stipulation that they be relocated to a less visible area.

In January, work began on a road between the Dallas and Burnt Hickory roads; it was to form part of the loop system.

In March, Cheatham Hill Road was opened. It was surfaced with six inches of rolled stone.

In May, the first roadside exhibit was installed on Cheatham Hill Road.

In June, the Cheatham Hill Road was paved by the road crew from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

In August, seven cannon were transferred from Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP. In October, construction began on the fire lookout within the CAA beacon tower.

1942 On March 10, the CCC camp was closed.

In July, an illustrated narrative marker was installed at the Confederate fort at Cheatham Hill and at the Confederate battery position on Big Kennesaw.

In October, a water cart for fighting fires was constructed.

1943 Park superintendent signed a cooperative agreement with the Georgia Department of Forestry that provided for a state employee to be stationed on Big Kennesaw as a fire lookout.

1944 On July 1, the Cobb County Fire Protection Unit was established. A proposed interpretive tour of the park was developed: the museum, with its relief maps and exhibits, would be used for orientation; there would be a trail on the crest of Big Kennesaw and over to Little Kennesaw, with maps at key locations; an overlook would be built in front of the Federal trenches at Pigeon Hill; interpretive signs and another overlook would be available at Cheatham Hill; and finally, an interpretive sign would be erected at the Kolb House.

1945 Following World War II, the community began promoting tourism to the area and cited the park as a prime attraction.

The park began coordinating patrols with the county and deputy sheriffs.

1947 The park hired another ranger and a guard because of increasing law enforcement problems.

On October 25, the Secretary of the Interior declared Kennesaw Mountain NBP officially established.

1948 On January 17, the Kennesaw Mountain Historical Association was formed for the purpose of assisting with the interpretive effort at the park.

1950 The new road to the top of Big Kennesaw was opened. The county had provided the labor and the NPS provided the equipment and supervision. The county had raised $25,000 and received a $58,000 federal grant to do the work.

1951 On March 25, the Cobb County Ministerial Association and the Marietta Chamber of Commerce inaugurated the Easter sunrise service on Big Kennesaw. It was to become a regular practice.

1960 In July, the CCC buildings were demolished and removed.

1961 In September, the Kennesaw Mountain Historical Association sponsored its 14th annual historical seminar; it featured speakers and a field trip.

1963 Restoration of the Kolb House completed. Sidney King painting, "The Crest of Kennesaw," was erected on the Big Kennesaw crest trail. It depicted a birdseye view of the mountain and the battle in 1864.

On July 17, groundbreaking took place for the new visitor center, which was to have an a/ v auditorium, a display room, an information desk, and administration offices.

Also in July, the Big Kennesaw Mountain and Cheatham Hill roads were paved. The Georgia Memorial was placed at the foot of Big Kennesaw. In October, a proposal to locate the Cobb Junior College within the park was denied.

1964 The existing Boy Scout trail was improved and a second 14 mile trail was opened to supplement it, utilizing existing roads, fire trails, and foot trails.

On May 6, the new visitor center was occupied. The State of Texas erected a memorial near Cheatham Hill.

In June, the Georgia overlook on Big Kennesaw was completed. It had been built by the Georgia Centennial Hall of Fame Committee. In that same month, the trail from the parking lot to the crest was paved. Also in June, the old park headquarters was demolished.

1965 In January, an abandoned well near Cheatham Hill was filled in; one visitor had fallen into it.

The park staff consisted of one historian, one park guide, and one seasonal ranger/ historian.

A temporary park folder was completed.

1966 Superintendent Vincent Ellis forestalls attempt by private developer to build campground on park property.

In June, 40% of the Georgia overlook had to be closed because it was unsafe. In August, a new 80-car parking lot was opened at the visitor center. In August, guided tours of Cheatham Hill and Big Kennesaw are offered on a limited basis because staffing is so short.

On September 6, an armed robbery occurred at the Big Kennesaw parking lot; the robber was later arrested in Marietta. In September, the Cobb County Rural Electric Administration and the Marietta Board of Lights and Water applied for permission to erect overhead lines along Old Mountain and Burnt Hickory roads. The permits were denied due to the historic significance of the roads and because of earlier precedents concerning utilities.

The 20-mile hiking trail was rerouted to eliminate 10 miles of road use.

1967 In January, there was a theft of a 218-pound mountain howitzer tube from the utility area.

NPS began negotiations with the county and the state for a land exchange so that the park could build an entrance road from new Highway 41. The attempt was unsuccessful because the park had no land of comparable value to offer.

In March, the trail from the visitor center to the top of Big Kennesaw was made into a self-guiding historical-nature trail. The Kennesaw Mountain Historical Association financed the production of a guide booklet.

1968 A temporary cannon plaza was built for four cannon in front of the visitor center and a battery was re-established atop Little Kennesaw. Two H-34 Sikorsky Choctaw helicopters from the Reserve Helicopter Squadron 765, from the Naval Air Station in Atlanta, lifted three 3500-pound cannon to the top of

Little Kennesaw. They were then re-assembled and moved into position with mule teams.

Park staff developed an environmental study area on Ward Creek. Students were taken along park trails to study the environment, the steps in reforestation, and the ecology of forests and streams.

1969 In April, the first teacher workshop was held at the ESA. A seasonal teacher was hired through the Regional Environmental Education Coordinator's office to work at the ESA.

1970 The park hired two high school students, through the Neighborhood Youth Corps, to work part-time.

Harpers Ferry Job Corps revised and illustrated the Big Kennesaw Mountain trail folder.

1971 Kennesaw Mountain NBP became involved in the Summer-in-the-Parks program.

In September, park staff assisted the Girl Scouts with the development of Camp Timber Ridge.

1972 Park launched the SUM-NEED program. Children, age 8 to 12, were invited to camp overnight in the park.

In March, the Volunteer-in-Park program was started. On May 16, the visitor center was burglarized. The thieves took $355 of the historical association's money and a safe. An alarm system was subsequently installed.

1973 Firearms demonstrations were discontinued for safety reasons. The ESA program was discontinued; the energy crisis had curtailed school field trips.

1974 From March 16 to July 7, emergency bus service was used on Big Kennesaw. Two charted buses replaced private cars on the mountain road on the weekends. The bus service resulted in less traffic and fewer law enforcement incidents. It also provided greater opportunities for interpretive contacts since rangers rode on the buses.

1975 The FBI recovered the mountain howitzer tube that had been stolen in 1968.

Demonstrations of reproduction firearms became part of the interpretive program.

A transportation study recommended regular use of buses on Big Kennesaw.

Anne F. Rogers, of the University of Georgia, conducted a preliminary archeological surface survey of the park. The survey located 72 historic sites, including seven buildings.

1976 An 8 week Youth Conservation Corps camp of 20 enrollees continued trail improvement, erosion control, vegetative restoration, bridge repair and cannon painting.

1977 An environmental education specialist was hired and the environmental study area was revived. The camp was relocated to the site of the old CCC camp and operated on weekends during the fall and spring, and on weekdays during the summer.

1978 The non-historic Gilbert House was razed and the site was graded and seeded to restore its 1864 appearance. Work also continued to return historic fields to their original size and appearance.

1980 Wives and children of volunteers began presenting interpretive programs in which they portrayed wartime refugees.

A special Labor Day program was inaugurated at Cheatham Hill: four artillery pieces were assembled to demonstrate the operation of firing a Confederate four gun battery.

1982 The earthworks on Big Kennesaw, Pigeon Hill, and Cheatham Hill were fertilized and reseeded.

1984 Powder Springs Roads was widened by Cobb County. The new General Management Plan was put into effect. It instituted a number of changes including the designation of specific recreational areas; it prohibited the use of alcohol; and it ended the use of the park for recreational activities, such as road races. Although arousing some controversy and opposition, the new rules resulted in fewer law enforcement problems and better control over the management of the park.

The living history programs were moved from the lawn outside the visitor center to Cheatham Hill. It was hoped this move would relieve congestion at the visitor center and encourage visitors to drive to Cheatham Hill to see the site.

Use of the FAA beacon tower on Big Kennesaw was discontinued.

1985 State Department of Transportation announced its intention to widen Dallas Road from the Cobb-Paulding county line east into Marietta, including the portion through Kennesaw Mountain NBP. The NPS opposed the action.

1988 A developer proposed a shopping center and office park near the Kolb House. The superintendent worked with the Cobb County Historic Preservation Commission to oppose rezoning of the area from residential to commercial. As a result, the project was stopped.

Two field exhibit Napoleon guns and carriages were mounted in the artillery emplacements at Cheatham Hill.

1989 On October 1, the 50th anniversary of the CCC camp was observed with a reunion of 50 enrollees and their families.

In October, Superintendent Larry Steeler banned mountain bikes from park trails despite protests. He cited safety and resource management concerns as the reasons.

1991 The eagle on top of the Illinois Monument was replaced; it had been damaged by lightning in 1984.

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Last Updated: 01-Sep-2001