Cartersville's districts maintain historic charm
by Marie Nesmith
May 12, 2013 | 2980 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Historic Preservation
Cohutta Fishing Co. Owner Andy Bowen checks the balance of a fly rod. Bowen’s Cartersville business recently received an award from the local Historic Preservation Commission. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Between relocating his business to downtown Cartersville and renovating its new home, 2012 proved to be an exciting adventure for Andy Bowen.

In addition to meeting his approval, the preservation work conducted at Cohutta Fishing Co., 39 S. Public Square, garnered local recognition recently. Presented at the Cartersville City Council’s May 2 meeting, Bowen’s full-service fly shop was one of three properties that received awards from the Historic Preservation Commission.

“It’s nice to be recognized for our efforts but also that it means something to other people downtown, that they feel our place of business is a good fit for the downtown community of Cartersville,” Bowen said. “ ... Cartersville has a lot of character, downtown has a lot of character, and I think it’s important that everybody takes a close look at their businesses to help preserve what we’ve got and hopefully to create that same type of environment throughout downtown where it’s somewhat consistent.

“I think it’s good for each business owner to be unique in what they do and how they do things but yet it’s also important just to keep the overall feel of downtown more of a classic, old city that people can [visit and] enjoy. ... It’s hard to find a downtown like we have here in Cartersville throughout Georgia that’s preserved like it is. People seem to take care of it.”

To provide more consistency with nearby stores, Bowen removed the building’s dark, metal outdoor awning and replaced it with a brick facade. Inside Cohutta Fishing Co., renovations, such as staining the original concrete floor and placing bricks or oak slats on portions of the walls helped give the fly shop a more rustic feel.

Along with Cohutta Fishing Co., two residential properties also were recognized by the Historic Preservation Commission: Mike and Heather Ellington’s home at 501 West Ave. and Harry and Vandi White’s residence at 108 Lee St. All of the winning structures are located among Cartersville’s five historic districts, which include Cherokee-Cassville, Downtown Business District, Granger Hill, Olde Town and West End.

In honor of National Historic Preservation Month, the city of Cartersville is highlighting its historic districts, which feature more than 600 properties, with some dating back to the 1800s. In a news release, Richard Osborne, city planner of Cartersville Planning & Development, reveals Granger Hill’s significance, with its initial property constructed prior to the Civil War.

“In 1856, James Young acquired land in what was then Cass County,” Osborne stated. “James Young and his wife Sallie established their home place on a hill approximately one mile west of the Western & Atlantic depot. In 1889, after James Young’s death, Sallie conveyed 75 acres and the Young home place to Arthur Granger, a Union veteran who had served with General Sherman. Arthur Granger became a developer of Bartow County’s natural resources. Until his death in 1914, he was one of Bartow County’s most important businessmen. The Grangers greatly enlarged their home and added unusual features, such as a gymnasium, observatory and an observation tower from which they had a view of the surrounding area. They chose the name ‘Overlook’ for the lands and home place they acquired.

“Granger Hill Historic District, adopted by City Council in 2010, includes the property associated with the Granger home place as well as two residential subdivisions of land previously owned by the Grangers. These subdivisions, the Granger Subdivision and the Overlook Subdivision No. 1, were platted in the 1930s, developed from the 1930s to the 1950s, and include homes along and adjacent to West Main Street and Brookland Drive. The Granger Hill Historic District is significant in community planning and development as a good example of residential suburban development by subdivision near the city’s edge in the years just before and after World War II.”

In addition to a map showing all five districts, the boundaries of the individual districts can be viewed on the Planning & Development page of the city of Cartersville’s website,, or obtained for free at the Planning & Development office, located on the second floor of City Hall, 10 N. Public Square.

“City staff would like to remind property owners in a locally designated historic district about the changes to the outside of homes and buildings that require Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) approval before starting a project,” Osborne stated. “Maintenance or repair that does not involve a change in material does not require HPC approval. Changing the paint color and changes to the inside of a structure do not require HPC approval.

“In the Downtown Business District (DBD), signs that meet Sign Ordinance requirements do not require HPC approval. HPC approval is required before starting any of the following projects: replacing or relocating windows or doors with a change in material; new accessory buildings; demolition or relocation of a structure; excavation for construction purposes; and new fences that require a variance.”

Echoing Bowen’s comments, Daneise Archer — chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission — believes maintaining these historic districts not only adds to the overall appeal of downtown Cartersville but preserves its architectural integrity for future generations.

“It is so good for tourism for one thing,” Archer said. “It’s good for businesses because, like last week I had two business associates who visited Cartersville for the first time and they just found it so endearing. They wanted to come back and bring their families to see Cartersville because they are in Atlanta and just the warmth of that downtown district was so appealing to them.

“We’ve had our [Historic Preservation Commission] training all over the state. Every year, the training is someplace else, and unfortunately, we’ve had training held in some communities that have not retained their downtown. You will find in these small towns — they’re boarded up. [Businesses have] moved out to a mall or something. It’s so sad. If they’d invested in the ambience of the downtown then everyone would not have retreated.”

For more information, contact Osborne at or 770-387-5614.