Debate over preserving Civil War house near Marietta

New buyers hope to re-zone the land and turn it into a car wash.
Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 6:35 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Does the Robert McAfee House’s Civil War history make it something worth destroying or protecting?

“It’s the people that did those things, not the structures,” said Trevor Beemon, executive director of the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society. “The stories are important to share on all sides and all perspectives and a lot of times houses like this can be a point of conversation.”

Beemon says he’s been fighting for years to preserve the home on Bells Ferry Road, which is privately owned. New buyers hope to re-zone the land and turn it into a car wash.

“The couple that did own this house, they did have enslaved people on the property. And so that is definitely part of the story. But, during the Civil War, the other part of it is it was occupied by a Union general,” he said.

“Being a Civil War house should mean something associated with the war happened at that location,” said Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose.

Rose says the Atlanta NAACP is against the government, or anyone for that matter, preserving racist monuments and structures.

“To reclaim history, to make a history where there was none. To change the narrative in order to support white supremacy, support what the Civil War was fought for,” said Rose.

Nearby residents like Bill Drohan don’t mind if the home is destroyed only because its Civil War history isn’t being put to educational use.

“History teaches us lessons from the past, good and bad. You need to remember both,” he said.

Other residents like Isaiah Parker want the house gone.

“You could still learn from, do your history and all that. But to necessarily say that it has to be there knowing that’s the message behind it, I don’t think that’s necessary,” Parker said.

There will be a Cobb County Board of Commissioners meeting in early April to discuss the re-zoning of the property. If the car wash is approved, the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society hope to make an agreement with the buyer and move the Robert McAfee House somewhere else.