State News

State effort underway to buy land near Civil War site

Posted September 23, 2014

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— Officials at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham are trying to raise $310,000 to buy a significant tract of land nearby.

The state Department of Cultural Resources says part of the original Hillsborough Road traveled by Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston to meet with Union Gen. William Sherman in 1865 is for sale.

Deputy Secretary Kevin Cherry says the state's option to purchase the 2-acre site expires Oct. 31 – it was supposed to expire Sept. 30, but the owners decided Tuesday to give the state another month – and the state needs money to buy the land after officials were unable to secure a grant to pay for it.

"We need everyone's help, and every little bit counts," Cherry said. "I am not too proud to ask for money for something as important as this."

The land is near the "Unity Monument," and he says the monument is a symbolic point marking where the nation reunified.

On April 26, 1865, Johnston surrendered all active Confederate forces in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida at a farm house just outside of what is now Durham.

"This, for all practical purposes, ended the American Civil War," said John Guss, who manages Bennett Place for the state. "This was the largest of all five of the major surrenders that occurred across the U.S."

A for-sale sign is already posted on the site, and once the state's option lapses, the land could be sold to developers.

"When you don't have that (land), it really takes away from the educational feeling of going out on these historic grounds," Guss said. "Not only will it threaten the viewscape – the natural viewscape – but also we believe there might me some archeology that could be done there."

Donations can be made to the Bennett Place Support Fund, 4409 Bennett Memorial Road, Durham, NC 27705. For more information, call 919-383-4345 or email bennett@ncdcr.gov.

"We want to try and preserve what we can and while we can," Guss said.

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  • Combat MP Sep 23, 2014

    What I find sad is the price tag of $150,000.00 an acre.

  • archmaker Sep 23, 2014

    it is quite sad that the State of North Carolina has their hand out asking for donations to buy a $300k piece of land.

    you know, I'd bet that the City of Raleigh would pony up that money for your Durham site if the State would agree to honor its original contract on the Dix deal. Boom!

    P.S. to the editors, the quote should be "not too proud to ask..." you are missing the extra "o"

  • 68_dodge_polara Sep 23, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Ok that makes sense. I was thinking of Staggville plantation and the very early trading path that ran from Hillsboro to Oxford which would have nothing to do with Bennett Place. Sorry.

  • 68_dodge_polara Sep 23, 2014

    View quoted thread


    That's interesting, I don't know where old #10 is.

  • disc golfing Sep 23, 2014

    View quoted thread


    I always thought it was Old #10..as it runs along the RR tracks.

  • 68_dodge_polara Sep 23, 2014

    I wish there was a way to find out the precise route of the trading path that runs from this area to Hillsboro.