News From Franklin, Tn - Preserve battle site, historian urges Franklin
Preserve battle site, historian urges Franklin
By PEGGY SHAW Staff Writer
FRANKLIN — James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust, visited historic Carter House yesterday in Franklin to urge local elected officials to preserve what is left of the Franklin battlefield.
But no elected public officials attended Lighthizer's morning press conference.
''Franklin is a poster child for how not to save a battlefield,'' Lighthizer said, explaining the Washington, D.C., group's choice of the Franklin site for inclusion last month among the top 10 endangered Civil War battlefields.
Franklin, location of the Nov. 30, 1864, battle, is the only site nationally that Civil War Preservation Trust officials are visiting to stress the preservation message.
''We're here because the Battle of Franklin was an enormously significant battle in American history,'' Lighthizer said. ''It's also on our list because of the tremendous amount of desecration here.
''We're here to remind your elected officials of their duty to help with the preservation of what is left of this important moment in American history.''
Lighthizer suggested after his talk that preservationists communicate their concerns to elected officials and candidates at the ballot box. The former state legislator from Maryland also recommended that local preservationists make an offer as soon as possible to buy the Battle Ground Academy property that Williamson County purchased in 2000 for a new library.
''They should offer to buy that library site, and we'll help them out as (other) parcels become available,'' he said.
Joe Smyth, president of Save the Franklin Battlefield, a preservation group, said he was encouraged by Lighthizer's enthusiasm.
As for making an offer on the BGA property or any other parcels of battlefield land that come up for sale, Smyth said a group ''with the financial wherewithal to do that'' would need to be organized.
''I'd like to see some people come forward, but I think all the organization in the world will mean nothing if local officials have complete and utter disregard for the context of the land,'' he said.