A recent grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission is enabling Stones River National Battlefield to acquire the 42-acres of battle land that once housed General Electric and Cummings Signs.
Ranger Jim Lewis spoke this week to members of the Murfreesboro Noon Rotary about it:
$1,827,502 has been awarded for the acquisition of 42 acres of the Stones River Battlefield, formerly the O'Reilly AutoParts distribution center, which represents one of the largest land acquisitions at the site since the National Battlefield was designated in 1960.
Lewis says community members interested in helping preserve the battlefield can get involved:
In addition to this major land acquisition here in Murfreesboro, the grant also acquires land associated with Jackson, Chattanooga, Franklin, and Shiloh.
This is part of the Tennessee Historical Commission and Tennessee Wars Commission's $2.5 million dollars in grant funding to the American Battlefield Trust. It will preserve over 180 acres of critical Civil War battlefield land in five counties through the Tennessee Civil War Sites Preservation Fund (TCWSPF).
Tennessee Historical Commission Executive Director Patrick McIntyre noted, "This is a tremendous accomplishment for historic preservation in Tennessee that will also protect open space, farms, and wildlife habitats."
Tennessee Wars Commission Director of Programs Tim Hyder, said, "The battlefield lands acquired by these grant funds will be crucial for interpreting the story of the Civil War for generations to come."
Other acquisitions include $367,836 granted for 120 acres of the Jackson, or Salem Cemetery, battlefield which will permanently protect over one quarter of the entire core battlefield, including the area surrounding the cemetery which gave the December 19, 1862 battle its name. $231,737 will preserve a 9 acre portion of the 1863 Wauhatchie battlefield in Chattanooga which is important as it will also preserve Brown's Tavern, a 212 year-old structure used during the Trail of Tears and owned by John Brown, a Cherokee man who received special dispensation from the US government to avoid removal. Two additional projects will add to areas previously preserved at the Shiloh and Franklin battlefields, including $40,000 for a 1.5 acre tract along Lewisburg Pike in Franklin adjacent to the historic Collins Farm, and $23,260 for an 8 acre tract at the south portion of the core battlefield at Shiloh.
The Tennessee Civil War Sites Preservation Fund grant program, begun in 2013, is funded through a portion of growth funds in the Real Estate Transfer Tax. It has proven to be a critical source of matching state funding for the Federal American Battlefield Protection Program, which is available for the preservation of properties associated with the 38 most significant Civil War sites in Tennessee. Additionally, grants can assist in funding the acquisition and protection of Underground Railroad sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or eligible for designation as a National Historic Landmark.