Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 in Review

2011 has been a busy year for preservation in Knox County, Tennessee, with efforts to recognize Farragut's Birthplace making front-page news twice and even being covered by the Associated Press.

Below is a recap of 2011 events that relate to Farragut's Birthplace:

January 20, 2011: Knox County MPC's Historic Zoning Commission votes unanimously to update an ongoing grant request to the state historic preservation office and to continue working to get the birthplace put on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Register of Historic Places. Director Ann Bennett agrees to seek grants and other sources of public funding for archaeology studies and improvements on the public land.

January 25, 2011: Sue Stuhl, Town of Farragut director of parks and leisure services, tells the Farragut Folklife Museum board that she and Doug Bataille (Knox County director of parks and recreation) will work together to put a Civil War Trail Marker on the handicap-accessible side of the birthplace. She suggests placing a bench next to the trail marker, close to the water’s edge below the parking area where there is a good view across the cove to the birthplace.

February 2011: This blogger meets with Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial co-chair Dr. Van West and gets state-level endorsement for the Civil War Trail Marker, then forwards paperwork to Doug Bataille.

March 28, 2011: Doug Bataille introduces a resolution to the Knox County Commission requesting approval for the installation of the Civil War Trail Marker. The commission votes unanimously to approve this resolution. Knox County and the Town of Farragut agree to each pay $550 for the installation, and HoLa Hora Latina, a nonprofit, agrees to pay the $200-a-year maintenance fee.

May 2011: Design of the Farragut Birthplace Civil War Trail Marker is approved:

May 2011: Farragut Folklife Museum releases fliers promoting the museum and the new Farragut statue at Farragut Town Hall in the Town of Farragut as well as the birthplace of Farragut 4 miles away in the Bluegrass area of southwest Knox County. This flier gives directions to the birthplace and notes the upcoming installation of the Civil War Trail Marker.

June 2011: State officials visit the site to consult on handicap parking requirements.

August 2011: ADA-compliant parking improvements begin at Admiral Farragut Park in preparation for the Civil War Trail Marker.

August 2011: A local boater discovers that the 111-year-old birthmarker has disappeared.


September 22, 2011: Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the historic marker may have been given to a collector in Texas. The article indicates that the private property owner who lives next to the public park removed the monument because "trespassers and vandals" were coming close to her property to view it. The article did not accurately show that the area next to her land is not private property. The shoreline and land that is 50-300 feet inland is already part of Admiral Farragut Park, and a recreational-use restriction on this land is permanent and binding. TVA owned the land in the 1940s, then deeded the area along the waterfront to Knox County in 1951 with a stipulation that this land must be used as a public park. Knox County had a new survey done in the summer of 2010 to confirm this, and TVA verified that because of recent law suits this shoreline can never be sold, traded, or used for any purpose other than a public park.

November 30, 2011: Owner of Stoney Point private land tells the Knoxville News-Sentinel that she is willing to negotiate the return of the birthplace marker.

November 30, 2011: Area preservationists comment to the press. Dr. Charlie Faulkner releases an  archaeology report indicating artifacts found at the birthplace show habitation by American colonial  settlers in the late 1700s/early 1800s. Court documents show that George Farragut was the first settler who owned and lived on this land and that he started a ferry there in 1797. He did not own any land in Campbell Station and there is no record of him owning a home or living anywhere other than Stoney Point between 1796 and 1806. Admiral Farragut was born in 1801.

December 2011: Plans continue for the installation of the Admiral Farragut Birthplace Civil War Trail Marker in the more accessible section of Admiral Farragut Park, across the cove from the birthplace.

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