Upon arriving, officers found what was thought to be a 12-pound Hotchkiss shell, believed to be approximately 150 years old. The shell was used in the Battle of Adairsville during The Great Locomotive Chase.
Jeri Holloway, historian at the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum, explained to the media that the shell was donated to the late Mayor Doyal Penson in the late 1990s as an artifact for the Steam Locomotive Museum.
Since late 2005 or early 2006, the shell has been in a protective, padded storage case. The public was not allowed to touch the shell while on display.
After closer investigation by a historic weapons expert called by the museum, it was determined there was a good possibility the ammunition was dangerous. This was later confirmed by Adairsville Police Department Capt. Douglas A. Simons.
"We are relieved to have this artifact removed from the museum. We would like to thank the Adairsville Police Department and the Northwest Georgia Regional Bomb Squad for assisting us in keeping our citizens safe," Holloway said.
Adairsville City Manager Pat Crook released a statement from the city.
"It is amazing to see something this historical be so powerful. I encourage any citizen who may come across any type of Civil War or possible live ammunition to please contact the proper authorities to properly dispose of these items. I would like to commend the Adairsville Police Department on being very diverse in skills that require handling these different types of situations. Our police department is dedicated in keeping our community safe," Crook said.
Simons commended Chief of Detectives Mike Fitz and Sgt. Arnold Gillman for an outstanding job.
"We would like to say a special thank you to the Northwest Georgia Regional Bomb Squad who was under the direction of Capt. Greg Dobson for their quick response. Also thank you to the Bartow County EMS, the Bartow County Fire Department for their assistance in this matter and Bartow County 911 who received numerous calls from concerned citizens," Simons said.
After almost three hours, the downtown Adairsville square re-opened to normal business. Just before press time Simons did confirm to the North Bartow News that the Civil War ammunition that was removed from the Historic Depot Museum was found to be live and a possible danger to the citizens of the area.
If anyone has concerns or questions, contact the Adairsville Rail Depot Age of Steam Museum at 770-773-1775.