A small group of organizers are hard at work expanding a museum that showcases the lives of Cobb settlers during the antebellum period.
The $685,000 project to overhaul the William Root House Museum in Marietta is well underway, and its advocates hope to continue the momentum by opening a reconstructed smoke house and a relocated log cabin at the site by the fall, along with updated museum features. Organizers have raised $485,000 and need $200,000 more to reach their goal, said Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society Executive Director Trevor Beemon.
The Root House at 80 North Marietta Parkway NW was built around 1845 for early Marietta residents William and Hannah Root and includes decorations that would have been found in the home around this time period. Cobb Landmarks’ project would add the Manning Cabin, an 1830’s log cabin that belonged to the Manning family during the Civil War, and a smokehouse reconstructed from the original bricks.
The 857-square-foot cabin, which was relocated to the campus in September 2018, would house offices for Cobb Landmarks, a research library, conference room, restroom and a kitchen for the museum. The project will incorporate materials salvaged from the Fowler House, a 93-year old house located near Wellstar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta that was demolished in March.
The second floor of the cabin will be used by Cobb Landmarks for an exhibit on slavery, which is an “important part of the story that we need to tell at this house,” Beemon said. Beemon said the museum overhaul is sorely needed, as the house has been at that location since the 1990s and is too small to accommodate visitors for events.
“Our hope is we don’t have to turn any people away during events,” he said.
Cobb Landmarks is using bricks from the smokehouse, originally located in Acworth, to reconstruct that structure behind the Root House. Moving its offices into the cabin will allow Cobb Landmarks to return a room it’s using as office space back to the museum’s exhibit lineup. Visitors will also be able to explore new touch-screen exhibits in each room of the museum. These exhibits will feature videos from the perspective of an adult, child or enslaved person who will talk about the relationship he or she had with the space.
Beemon said he hopes to open these new buildings to the public in September when Cobb Landmarks hosts its biggest fundraiser, the Root House Craft Beer Festival. He also said he hopes the community will continue supporting its historic preservation efforts, as the Root House is an important part of Cobb’s legacy.
“It’s important that we preserve some of the past for the future so that it’s not lost to time,” Beemon said.
Two Marietta residents who are passionate about preserving Cobb County history are Steve and Terri Cole, who sit on the Cobb Landmarks Board of Directors and made the initial donation to get the campaign up and running.
Terri Cole said she and her husband are both history fanatics who joined Cobb Landmarks because it “seemed like a good way for us to get involved and get to know people.” Cole also told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she and others involved with Cobb Landmarks have worked hard to ensure that everything about the Root House Museum, including its furniture, accurately portrays the lives of ordinary people in the decades before the Civil War.
“We are dedicated to it and we think it’s an important part of the community,” Terri Cole said.
You can learn more about Cobb Landmarks project by visiting its website.
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