Hawthorne Hill is the birthplace of a confederate Major General, Castalian Springs, Tenn.
By Adam Ghassemi
CASTALIAN SPRINGS, Tenn. - A new neighbor moving into a historical mid-state community is upsetting the people who live there. Hundreds of acres in Castalian Springs, just outside Gallatin, could become a rock quarry.
MTSU Anthropology Professor Kevin Smith spent Tuesday working with students to excavate the Castalian Springs Mound that dates back to the 13th century.
"This was basically the capital, the Gallatin of its day," Smith said.
Tuesday the group found a piece of sword believed to once be used by Native American Chiefs. Smith believes it's only one of a few dozen in existence. "It's a major find. It tells us this was a really major, important building that we're working on," he said.
Not far from their dig, people are upset about something else that could soon be unearthed.
"It's a tragedy," said retired resident Tom Neal who worries a rock quarry will ruin this small community. "If you picked a place on any map in Tennessee and threw a dart, you couldn't hit a worse place than Castalian Springs, Tennessee," Neal said.
That's because of the area's strong ties to history.
In one direction the Wynnewood gives visitors a look into a stagecoach inn once meant for travelers between Knoxville and Nashville. In the opposite direction, Hawthorne Hill is the birthplace of a confederate Major General. In between, on Old Highway 25, a grassy field could become the home to the quarry.
That's not sitting well with local historian, John Garrett.
"The dream that I've had for the last 30 odd years is to have this be a historical site. This whole area here, and this will just destroy it. That's all there is to it," Garrett said.
People aren't only upset about what the site could be, but the way it was purchased. Hoover, Inc. formed Western Farm Products, LLC to disguise their land purchase. People thought it was going to be a farm. The company's attorney, Tom White, said by phone it's common for major companies to acquire land this way to ensure they get a competitive price.
White also said they're aware of the historical significance of Castalian Spring, but they've researched the property and do not believe they'll disrupt any historical sites.
Many people here hope if the quarry does come, it won't disturb what the community is known for.
"I'm not opposed to quarrying necessarily, but putting it so close to this giant concentration of historic sites really is going to detract for the long term," Smith said.
Hoover, Inc. is hosting a town hall meeting Thursday night to explain the process to residents.
Hoover, Inc. Public Meeting 6 p.m. – Thursday, June 30, 2011 Sumner County Administration Building 355 N. Belvedere Drive
Next month the Sumner County Board of Zoning Appeals will decide if they get a permit to operate the quarry.
County Board of Zoning Appeals 6 p.m. – Thursday, July 14, 2011 Sumner County Administration Building 355 N. Belvedere Drive