Historic Billy Goat Hill To Be Preserved

Sherman Marched Up It Thinking He Had Reached The Ridge

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Historic Billy Goat Hill in East Chattanooga will be preserved, Bobby Davenport of the Trust for Public Land said Wednesday.

Mr. Davenport said 36.1 acres of wooded land at the top of Billy Goat Hill is being acquired from Stein Construction Company.

He said the land is appraised at $500,000. He said Stein Construction is making a donation of half the property. The $250,000 required for the purchase is coming from the Civil War Preservation Trust.

Union Gen. William Sherman's troops advanced to Billy Goat Hill in late 1863 thinking they had reached Missionary Ridge, where Confederate troops were conducting a siege of Chattanooga.

Mr. Davenport said a number of Civil War trenches are still visible at Billy Goat Hill.

He said preservationists have been trying for decades to set aside the historic side. He noted that former County Executive Dalton Roberts was interested in an effort to "Save Billy Goat Hill."

Mr. Davenport said, "It's one of those beautiful Chattanooga hilltops that we look at every day. It is also one of the sites that has been at the top of the list for those seeking to preserve Civil War sites."

He said Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise has donated an adjacent 1.2 acre site at Billy Goat Hill.

Mr. Davenport said the state of Tennessee will be holding the property.

He said it is hoped to eventually assemble enough property to go along with the nearby Sherman Reservation of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Battlefield to justify a park ranger being stationed on Missionary Ridge.

Mr. Davenport said, "I've been meeting people from all over the country who go up and down Missionary Ridge every day."

He said visitors who come here for the Civil War history contribute significantly to the economy.

Mr. Davenport said the property was bought by Stein Construction Company for possible use as a "borrow pit," but he said the firm "never laid a shovel to it."

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