POMEROY — “When people understand and appreciate a place of history, they are more likely to protect it,” said Joe Brent, in talking about the Buffington Island Civil War battlefield and the proposed amendment to the existing National Register of Historic Places regarding expansion of the battlefield boundary.
Brent, who is doing research on the project for the Ohio Historical Preservation Office, was speaking at the second public meeting held Tuesday night at the Meigs Museum annex about the Buffington Island Battlefield National Register Project.
In his talk, he stressed the project’s importance to Meigs County in that it provides recognition of a property’s significance in history and its educational value, and to a lesser degree its role in promoting tourism as the site of the only Civil War battle fought on Ohio soil.
The current registry includes only four acres. The proposed new boundary covers 1,573 acres.
To stress the importance of the Battle of Buffington Island, Brent described it as, “the largest battle in terms of acreage, in terms of forces engaged, and in terms of casualties, with the greatest impact on the raid.”
To build more public support for the proposed amendment, a third and final meeting will be held on Sept. 25 at the Portland Community Center. A final decision on the amendment will come in December after full reviews by the public and an advisory board composed of historians, archaeologists and architects, according to Barbara A. Powers of the Ohio Preservation Office who also spoke at the meeting giving details of procedure used to amend a listing.
As for the amendment to include the entire battle territory, Brent listed what it does not do as follows: does not restrict the use of the property unless under jurisdiction of a state or federal agency; does not require continued maintenance of private property; does not require the owner to give tours of property or to open the area to the public, and does not guarantee perpetual maintenance of the property.
It does, he said, encourage owners to consider options before doing work that could damage the structure or site or impair its historic integrity.