Smyrna wants refund on alleged Civil War property

by: Diana Davis Updated:

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COBB COUNTY, Ga. —

The city of Smyrna is trying to get its money back on a house it bought about nine years ago.

The house was supposed to be a Civil War hospital. The problem? It turns out it was not and may have actually been built after the Civil War.

The facade of the small brick house on Oakdale Road looks like any 1950s bungalow. It's only the two stone chimneys that hint that the home is much older.

Nine years ago the city of Smyrna bought the house after Civil War buffs claimed it was built in the 1850s and served as a hospital during the Civil War. Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon talked to Channel 2's Diana Davis Tuesday.

"They told us absolutely that it was a Civil War hospital," said Bacon.

Smyrna paid only about $145,000 for the house. Just months after the deal, they got bad news. The state and two independent groups told the city the house was probably built after the war, and never was a hospital, according to Bacon.

"According to the state, it did not have any historical significance," he said.

The house sits about 400 feet outside of the Smyrna city limits.

The city planned to annex the property but when the recession hit, the city dropped the plan. Now Bacon wants to sell the house.

It's at least the third property Smyrna has bought recently.

The city paid $9 million for the blighted Hickory Lakes Apartments and demolished them two years ago. So far, that land sits empty.

It bought another two-story foreclosed commercial project on Concord Road for $250,000. It sat incomplete for several years and was just recently sold for development of medical offices.

The mayor said those were both good moves. He admits he'd like the city to get the house on Oakdale Road off its hands.

"We would sell the property in a heartbeat if somebody wanted to purchase it," said Bacon.

Bacon said the city's preservation and re-use of Aunt Fanny's cabin, the Brawner Taylor house and old Smyrna mental hospital on Atlanta Road shows the city of Smyrna wants to preserve the past.

In retrospect, he admitted the city didn't do its homework on the purchase of the house on Oakdale Road.

"There should have been more detailed study, I think," Bacon said.

Davis could not reach the woman who pushed for the purchase of the property and the city councilman Wade Lnenicka, who also pushed for the purchase, told Davis he was not available for comment Tuesday.