ATLANTA, Oct. 24, 2013 — The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation this week named an antebellum railroad depot in Northwest Georgia and nine other structures to its annual list of “Places in Peril.”
The historic Tunnel Hill railroad depot was built using limestone from nearby Chetogetta Mountain beginning in 1848, the same year work on a nearby 1,477-foot-long tunnel started. Both were built as the state-owned Western & Atlantic Railroad was constructed to connect Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn.
Through its list, the Georgia Trust hopes to raise awareness about significant historic structures that have an uncertain future. The list usually includes historic homes, civic buildings, churches and courthouses.
“The site witnessed many important events during the Civil War: a speech by Jefferson Davis in 1861; the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862; several Civil War skirmishes; and the first headquarters of General Sherman during his Atlanta Campaign,” the organization said in its assessment. “The building is currently a part of the Western & Atlantic Railroad Tunnel and Museum Site, however it has yet to be restored and as a result is not open to the public.”
For years, the depot was part of a mill that was constructed around the historic building.
Overall, the limestone bricks remain in “good condition,” the Georgia Trust said. However, the organization identified “structural damage, including mortar erosion, the lack of an overhanging eave, and cracked lintels over the original freight door openings” as contributing to the threat of the building.
The Georgia Trust suggested partnering with the city of Tunnel Hill “to obtain increased recognition of the building by generating knowledge and interest in the role the depot has played in local and state history.”
The group also named to the 2014 edition of the list: the Sowega Building in Adel, Blackshear Prison Camp in Blackshear, Chauncey School in Chauncey, Griffin City Hall in Griffin, Hawkinsville Firehouse in Hawkinsville, Kolb Street House in Madison, the Church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Sharon, the Greek Revival Houses of Troup County and the Connally Marchman House in Villa Rica.
“We hope the list will continue to bring preservation action to Georgia’s imperiled historic resources by highlighting ten representative sites,” Mark C. McDonald, president and CEO of the Georgia Trust, said in a statement.