Along with serving as a battlefield advisor for today’s Battle of Allatoona Pass Remembered event, the Cartersville resident also helped clear the overgrown site for public visitation in the mid-1990s.
The Battle of Allatoona Pass occurred nearly a month after the fall of Atlanta when the Confederate Army tried to destroy the Union’s supply line, the Western & Atlantic Railroad, at Allatoona Pass. The railroad was cut into the Allatoona Mountain range in the 1840s and was about 360 feet long and a maximum of 175 feet deep. The battle consisted of 5,301 soldiers — 2,025 Union and 3,276 Confederate — and resulted in 1,603 casualties, where men were either killed, missing or wounded.
“Seldom do you find a battlefield so intact almost 150 years following the battle,” Parmenter said. “Two earthen forts, trench works, the extensive rock cut for the old Western & Atlantic Railroad and a neighboring home which once [served] as a hospital all remain today. The battlefield gives a rare glimpse of both 1840s railroad construction and Civil War-era battlefield and fortification design.
“Most battlefields exist where two armies clash, however Allatoona Pass was fortified by design following the retreat of Confederate forces from Bartow County in May 1864. Union Gen. W. T. Sherman called on his chief of engineers to construct fortifications overlooking the railroad to defend against Confederate attacks, a decision which proved fatal for some 3,000 Confederates on Oct. 5, 1864.”
Name: Guy Parmenter
Occupation/Title: Insurance agent, co-owner of Parmenter Insurance Agency Inc.
Family: 36 years married to Linda who serves as director of the First Presbyterian Church Pre-school. Three children — all young adults and single — Stuart, resides in San Francisco; Andrew, resides in Cartersville; and Julie, resides in Atlanta.
Education: 1970 graduate of Cartersville High and a 1974 graduate of North Georgia College with a BBA degree
City of residence: Cartersville
Describe your job and what led you to this line of work?
A:Independent insurance agent specializing in property [and] casualty insurance. My father, Sherman Parmenter, requested I join the family business following graduation.
What do you enjoy most about your line of work?
A: Meeting people and helping them protect their most valued assets.
When and why did you join the Etowah Valley Historical Society and what do you enjoy most about being a member?
A: Joined around 1982 after being asked by one of my co-workers to attend a meeting. Afterwards I became increasingly interested in learning more about our local history. I enjoy the fact that the society, through its broad membership base, set the foundation and helped pave the way in promoting the vast history of Bartow County, promoting tourism and economic growth.
What was your involvement in helping preserve the Allatoona Pass Battlefield?
A: Around 1993, I approached the [Etowah Valley Historical] Society, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bartow County with the idea of opening up the Allatoona Pass Battlefield site for public visitation. With unanimous approval and a written memorandum of understanding from the Corps to the society, we set about clearing trails, erecting signs and adding parking. What was once an abandoned area of dense trees and heavy undergrowth, the Pass is now a well visited site with management responsibility turned over to Red Top Mountain State Park. I serve now as a battlefield advisor for both Red Top and the society.
What was your role in securing Red Top Mountain State Park’s Vaughan log cabin and helping developing the venue’s iron program?
A: I received the initial call from cabin donor, Sherlin Vaughan. With the help of fellow EVHS member, J.B. Tate, we enticed Red Top Mountain State Park to take possession of the cabin. My role involved coordinating the transfer of ownership first to EVHS. EVHS in turn transferred the cabin to Red Top. I remained involved through the design and construction phase. Due to the society’s close relationship with the DNR at Red Top following completion of the cabin, we were consulted about interpretive ideas to enhance the cabin’s existence.
I had shared my interest in the history of the local iron industry with Rep Top officials and put them in touch with management and volunteers at Tannehill State Park near Birmingham. I had become acquainted with the Tannehill folks while researching. Tannehill is devoted to the history of the iron history in Alabama. EVHS, including myself, have assisted as needed through the years with Red Top’s Iron Hill celebration.
What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
A: Professionally, it would be how my brother, Scott, and myself have maintained the integrity of Parmenter Insurance, which was founded in 1940 by our father, Sherman Parmenter. We are also proud to be the oldest continuous member of our Chamber of Commerce. Personally, it first would be my wonderful wife and children. Second, it would be recognition by my peers in the Etowah Valley Historical Society by awarding me the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
A: I am pretty much an open book with my life, but no doubt my love for local history began with my ATCO heritage. Though I never lived there, my grandfather, Guy Parmenter, was plant superintendent from 1929 to 1956. I am also proud of my 30 years in the Cartersville Rotary Club having served as president.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
A: My father always said to listen before you speak.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Play golf, research history and ride the roads of north Georgia.
Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
A: Besides home, Allatoona Pass.