This year, the National Park Service announced that Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society’s house museum, the William and Hannah Root House, had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register provides formal recognition of a place deemed to be of architectural, historical, and/or structural significance. The news of this honor was received with much rejoicing throughout Cobb Landmarks, as it confirmed our long-held view of the importance of this historic structure. The National Register status is the culmination of a process begun in 1991 representing thousands of hours of hands-on restoration work and advocacy.
The Root House, believed to be the oldest frame house in Marietta, was built in 1845 by druggist William Root across from St. James’ Episcopal Church at what is now the corner of Church and Lemon Streets. The house was moved in 1893, around the corner facing Lemon Street, and then again in 1989, when it was donated to Cobb Landmarks and relocated to its present site at Polk Street and the Marietta Loop, to save it from demolition.
Since its acquisition by CLHS, the Root House has truly become the flagship property of Cobb Landmarks, providing the only example of a middle-class town house in Marietta before the Civil War. Thousands of visitors every year, many of them school children, are able to have a glimpse into the lives of a typical middle-class family in our town. For many, it is eye-opening to realize that most people did not live at Tara during the antebellum period. The costumed docents at the Root House provide a picture of a way of life that was much more typical of the time than is provided by much of the romantic fiction depicting life in the mid-19th century South.
During this year of commemorating the Civil War and its impact on Cobb County, a visit to the Root House to see the Civil War years interpretation of the life of the Root family should be a goal of every citizen of Cobb County who is interested in our history and heritage.
Kudos and thanks go to those far-sighted people at Cobb Landmarks who saw the importance of saving this piece of our history for future generations, and thanks to the National Trust for this great honor.