Continuing long-standing efforts to preserve the historic Wallis House, Georgia lawmakers have again introduced federal legislation that would annex the house and its neighboring eight acres into Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
U. S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk introduced HR-3371 into the House of Representatives on July 29. The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Earl Carter and Lynn Westmoreland. Sen. Johnny Isakson introduced S-1930 in the Senate on August 11, with Sen. David Perdue as a co-sponsor. These bills renew the efforts of Sen. Isakson and former Rep. Phil Gingrey to obtain Congressional authorization to add the land to the park. The property is owned by Cobb County, which has agreed to transfer it to the National Park Service at no acquisition cost if the legislation is passed and signed. Restoration costs, early estimates of which are $800,000, will be the principal costs associated with the project. It is possible that private funding will be sought for some of these costs.
The Wallis House, built c. 1853 by Josiah Wallis, has been a Preservation Priority for CLHS for several years. CLHS Chair Abbie Parks wrote to House and Senate Committee members in 2014 urging them to support earlier versions of the legislation, but the bills did not get passed by the full chambers in the last Congress. Executive Director Trevor Beemon wrote to the legislators earlier in 2015 encouraging them to reintroduce the bills.
The bills have been read and referred to their respective committees, which must pass them for the bills to reach the floor for full chamber votes. Bills to save individual landmarks are routinely passed in each session of Congress, and here’s hoping that the current session will be the one where the hopes and plans for the Wallis House are realized.
Written by Chris Brown
Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society