The city of Augusta,Ga.,is being asked to either act now to repair the Confederate Powderworks chimney or turn it over to a private organization before it collapses.
“The chimney must be restored at this time, or it will fall,” Lee Herron, the commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Brigadier General E. Porter Alexander Camp No. 158, told the Augusta Commission’s Finance Committee last week, according to a story in The Augusta Chronicle.
Herron estimated that it would cost $134,000 repair the 147-year-old landmark, the last remnant of a vast Civil War munitions complex along the Augusta Canal. That’s an especially tall order for the city given the tough economic times.
The total estimated cost of repair is $192,000, and the SCV camp has already raised about $58,000, Herron said.
He said he doubted making up the difference will be a priority for the city this year, given the economy, but that maybe his group could raise the funds.
“It’s hard for someone to give money to something that they do not own,” Herron said, showing he has a solid understanding of human nature.
The Confederate Powder Works, the only permanent edifice constructed by the Confederate States of America, was built in 1862 and continued in operation until April 1865.
During its lifetime, the facility produced approximately 7,000 pounds of gunpowder per day, or 2.75 million pounds total. It produced enough gunpowder to fully meet the needs of the Confederate armies and still retained a surplus of 70,000 pounds at the end of the war.
Here’s hoping that the City of Augusta will take this opportunity to let a private organization take over maintenance of this important part of the region’s history, rather than either divert money needed elsewhere to fund core services or simply letting this one-of-a-kind landmark crumble beyond repair.