Published Wednesday, November 07, 2012
By ALEX MCRAE
Preserving the Brown’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site turned from dream to reality Saturday as the official groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the beginning of phase one construction on the project.
As she looked out over the large crowd assembled at the work site on Millard Farmer Road south of Newnan, State Representative Lynn Smith said, “This is probably the largest crowd to gather at this spot since the battle itself.”
The phase one trail-head project includes the entrance drive, a turnaround, a parking lot and a small trail to a covered shelter measuring 20 by 20 feet with open sides and a concrete floor. There will also be trash cans, signage, and parking and safety markings.
An additional 2,100 feet of trail will be constructed on the 105-acre site. Georgia Development Partners will do the construction.
Opening remarks were presented by Coweta County Commission Chairman Tim Lassetter. He praised the efforts of all those who had worked so hard to make the preservation effort of the Civil War battle site a success.
Among those mentioned by Lassetter were former Coweta County Commissioner Jim McGuffey; David Evans, author of “Sherman’s Horsemen” and a leading expert on the battle; and the late Ellen Ehrenhardt, who worked tirelessly to produce documentation necessary to identify the battlefield and have it officially recognized as a historical site.
Coweta County Commissioner Bob Blackburn was also on hand for the ceremony.
The Battle of Brown’s Mill was the most significant Civil War engagement in Coweta County. It took place in late July 1864, starting with a skirmish along the railroad tracks east of downtown Newnan and then moving south to what is now Millard Farmer Road.
McGuffey also addressed the gathering and spoke of the cooperation and help he had received from state and local officials in the effort to have the site recognized and to procure funding for the project.
During her remarks, Smith said the project was a classic example of “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” She praised local leaders for their persistence in seeking funding and support for the project.
Also speaking at the ceremonies was Sam Wellborn, a member of the board of the Georgia Department of Transportation whose district includes Coweta County.
Wellborn praised the efforts of local leaders and Rep. Smith and said he stood ready to offer any help necessary to see the project through to completion.
It is hoped that phase one will be completed by the spring of 2013.