Local News

September 19, 2013

Historic house to get facelift

Built in 1848, the Clisby Austin House in Tunnel Hill has been at the center of much of Whitfield County’s history. Now, thanks to a $15,000 state grant, the house might play a big role in the county’s future.

“We are going to use that money to rehab the Clisby Austin House as well as the (nearby) general store,” said Debby Long, director of sales for the Dalton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

“They are part of what we call the Holcomb Heritage Park, that 85-acre site that includes the  Tunnel Hill battlefield, the railroad tunnel and the heritage center. We would like to be able to include the Clisby Austin House and the general store as part of the tour that people take out there,” Long said. “We aren’t currently able to do that, but after they are rehabbed we will be.

“The Clisby Austin House, in particular, is very important to our Civil War sesquicentennial efforts. It was (Union) Gen. (William T.) Sherman’s headquarters and where he started the Atlanta Campaign.”

Long said neither building is structurally sound enough at this point to allow regular tours. The Clisby Austin House is open for limited tours during the annual re-enactment of the Battle of Tunnel Hill each fall. The general store is not open at all.

The grant comes from the Georgia Department of Economic Development through its Tourism Product Development Agreement program, and it calls for Whitfield County, the CVB and the Tunnel Hill Heritage Foundation to cover 40 percent — or $10,000 — of the cost of the approximately $25,000 project through in-kind aid.

“We have to start by Oct. 1, and we have to be done by May. But we want to be done by April because we want to have both available during the spring, which is the 150th anniversary of the Atlanta Campaign,” Long said.


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