- Maryland preservationist tries to get locals fired up By PEGGY SHAW Staff Writer Tennessean FRANKLIN — James Lighthizer, president of the Civil WarMessage 1 of 1 , Feb 22, 2003View Source
Maryland preservationist tries to get locals fired up
By PEGGY SHAW Staff Writer Tennessean
FRANKLIN — James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust, met with local preservationists at The Carter House Friday, urging them to get better organized and take strong political action to save Battle of Franklin land.
''Get into politics or get out of preservation,'' Lighthizer said bluntly to representatives of Carter House, Carnton Plantation, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County and others.
The former state legislator from Maryland was in Nashville last week to help announce a gift of $1 million that the city is donating to restore Fort Negley, one site involved in the December 1864 Battle of Nashville, which was placed on a list of the 10 most endangered battlefields in the country by the Civil War Preservation Trust earlier this month.
Lighthizer emphasized that Williamson County needs a committee of five or six people to oversee local preservation efforts and target politicians who will support that cause.
''Form a coalition and have a specific plan, like what parcels (of battlefield) land you want and what to do with them,'' he said. ''You've gotten off to a great start but you need a coordinating committee, and you've got to take things to the next level.
''You've got to have political figures craving your support. You need to raise hell, thank your friends and then re-elect them.''
Mary Pearce, director of the Heritage Foundation, said after the meeting, however, that she felt cautious about local nonprofit groups getting into politics.
''We need to be careful because we are not a political action committee,'' she explained. ''And there is only a certain amount of time that you can spend as a nonprofit lobbying politicians.''
Lighthizer also advised preservationists to be aware of building plans when they are in the planning stages, and form alliances with others, such as no-growth groups, that share the common purpose of preserving battlefield land.
''Annapolis is now one of the prettiest, most historic small towns in America because of what they did for preservation,'' Lighthizer said about his hometown. ''People care about open space and those stoplights when traffic is backed up.
''You've got some good assets here and if you don't protect them, they're going to be history.''
Lighthizer offered help from the Civil War Preservation Trust in working with the Tennessee state bureaucracy and finding funding for land acquisition.
''We'll help on our end any way we can but you need that tight group,'' he emphasized.
Land where the Nov. 30, 1864, Civil War Battle of Franklin took place is now surrounded by a floral shop, music studio, private residences, restaurants, a ceramic shop and an architects' office.
Williamson County also purchased the nearby Battle Ground Academy property for a new library in 2000.