The Civil War Preservation Trust is please to announce that this week it successfully closed on the purchase of an 84-acre portion of the Spring Hill battlefield from General Motors, LLC, ensuring that the historic landscape will be protected forever. Significant funding for the $2 million acquisition was provided by a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program, an arm of the National Park Service.
“The completion of this landmark transaction is great cause to celebrate,” said CWPT president James Lighthizer. “These 84 acres, when added to the adjacent 100 acres of protected land immediately surrounding Rippavilla Plantation — plus 90 acres CWPT owns elsewhere on the battlefield — have created a true destination for anyone seeking to understand the critical Franklin-Nashville Campaign of 1864.”
Acquisition of this key part of the battlefield is the result of a decision by GM to divest itself of surplus land holdings in Spring Hill. Uncertainty surrounding the eventual fate of the property landed Spring Hill on CWPT’s annual list of endangered Civil War battlefields in 2008 and 2009, and on the Tennessee Preservation Trust’s list of endangered historic sites in the Volunteer State in 2007 and 2009. The preservation effort was publicly announced during a September news conference at historic Rippavilla Plantation, where Sen. Lamar Alexander praised the undertaking as a potential boon for heritage tourism in the Volunteer State during the Civil War sesquicentennial.
Lighthizer noted that a transaction of this scope is never possible without the support of numerous individuals and organizations working together toward a common goal.
“Every person who will walk these fields to learn about what transpired here owes a debt to the corporate leaders at GM, who placed a priority on seeing this land set aside for future generations of Americans,” he said. “Similarly, this happy outcome would not have been possible without the significant efforts and assistance of the American Battlefield Preservation Program and Tennessee Historical Commission.”
Now that the land is protected, CWPT looks forward to partnering with the dedicated staff and management of Rippavilla Plantation to open the land to the public and develop integrated interpretation tools for visitors.
With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. CWPT has preserved more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land across the nation, including 2,260 in Tennessee and 194 at Spring Hill. CWPT’s website is www.civilwar.org.