John F. Schaffner
This commentary is going to be brief and to the point. I believe the Sandy Springs mayor and City Council are being very shortsighted and irresponsible in deciding not to do everything possible to authenticate whether the foundation and chimneys found at the new Overlook Park, near Morgan Falls Dam, are the ruins of a house once occupied by the earliest settlers on land now part of Sandy Springs. (See page 1 story “Park Projects” in the June 12-25 edition.)
We have roads named Montgomery Ferry, Johnson Ferry and, yes, Powers Ferry because those names have historic significance. They are named for the families who indeed ran ferries to connect one side of the Chattahoochee River to the other—what is now Sandy Springs to Cobb County. These crossings were as important to the development of north Atlanta as crossings of the Mississippi were to the opening of the U.S. West.
Madam mayor, council members, I urge you to slow down, take a deep breath and authorize whatever study needs to be done to authenticate whether or not the ruins of that home at Overlook Park was indeed the homestead of the Powers family of Powers Ferry fame.
If you don’t want to spend the money, someone will get it for you, I am sure. But don’t pass up preserving a possibly important part of Sandy Springs history for a few dollars, a few days of time and because you place all of your faith in a suspect map of William Sherman’s.
Some historians say Sherman had a tough time finding a suitable crossing of the Chattahoochee—maybe because he had faulty maps.
Yes, our elected officials are guardians of the city’s future. But they also are guardians of its past, which is no less important.
I urge the mayor and members of council to again read the history of the Powers family and this land in history (with this column on our website) before hastily and finally discounting the significance of preserving this small artifact of history for generations of this city to come.