Recent posts on social media have expressed concern about the possible demolition of the 1840s McAfee House located at the corner of Barrett Parkway and Bells Ferry Road. This is a status report on efforts by Cobb Landmarks to secure its preservation.
Since 2019 Cobb Landmarks has been facilitating negotiations with the current owner and potential developers for relocation of the historic house. While there is a historic marker in front of the house, currently, the house and land are not protected through local zoning or historic designation. Because of the value of the land, it is likely not financially viable for a developer to purchase the property and then renovate the house for commercial use. Because of this, Cobb Landmarks has for several years attempted to relocate the house. In 2020, Cobb Landmarks invited structural engineers and house movers to inspect and evaluate the home, and they confirmed the house was a good candidate for relocation. Efforts to reach an agreement with the current property owner to relocate the house have so far been unsuccessful. We have also been speaking with potential buyers/developers to relocate the house. Over the years we have had conversations with several potential buyers, including the current zoning applicant. Each has agreed that the house should be relocated and not be demolished. In the meantime, there are plans to eventually construct a turn lane at the intersection in front of the house, adding another complication regarding the long-term preservation of the historic structure.
Cowan Farmhouse in Acworth before and after completing the revolving fund process.
Cobb Landmarks is also in also in communication with a statewide preservation organization about potentially preserving the house on-site through their revolving fund program. With this option, the property would be acquired at little-to-no cost by said preservation nonprofit, the home would be stabilized and cleaned, and would then be listed for sale with a preservation easement attached (ensuring the home is renovated appropriately and cannot be demolished in the future). With this option, the house could be renovated for commercial or office use while remaining on its original site. This is a great option for the property and would ensure the house has a viable use and long-term maintenance plan in place. A similar example of this type of arrangement is the Cowan Farmhouse in Acworth, Georgia.
A lot of people are asking what they can do to help. A good place to start is attending Planning Commission Zoning Hearings and Board of Commissioner Regular Meetings. Similarly, you can reach out to Cobb County Commissioners to share your thoughts and concerns prior to important hearings/meetings. The next best thing is to support preservation organizations like Cobb Landmarks on a regular basis, either through volunteerism or through financial support. You can help ensure that Cobb Landmarks has the resources to work to secure historic assets throughout the county on an ongoing basis. As this example shows, we are constantly advocating for historic preservation behind the scenes. To support Cobb Landmarks click here. To learn about our current “Preservation Priorities” list click here.
ABOUT THE McAFEE HOUSE: This historic central hallway cottage is located on Bells Ferry Road at the intersection of Ernest W Barrett Parkway in Marietta, Georgia. The house is constructed of heart pine wood timbers joined with wooden pegs. The house features original heart pine floors throughout (currently concealed under carpet) and heart pine plank walls and ceilings (currently concealed under paneling and sheetrock). This timber frame house was constructed c. 1840 for early Cobb County settlers Eliza and Robert McAfee. During the Civil War, the house was used as a headquarters for Union Brigadier General Kenner Garrard. The house was purportedly used as a field hospital following a skirmish near “McAfee’s Crossroads” on June 11, 1864 (blood stains are reported to be visible on the floorboards in an upstairs bedroom). The house is among the oldest remaining in the Atlanta area and is the last remaining pre-Civil War structure in the densely developed Town Center area of Cobb County.
ABOUT COBB LANDMARKS: Since its founding in 1974, Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society, Inc. has succeeded in preserving and protecting some of Cobb’s most historically relevant sites. Cobb Landmarks is a historical society rooted in the past but always looking forward. The organization is committed to empowering the community with an understanding of the events, people, and places that formed our past, so that we may all strive for a brighter future.
We are committed to empowering our community with an understanding of the events, people, and places that formed our past, so that we may all strive for a brighter future. Won't you join us?