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Clean up work done by the TRA on the west side earlier this year

Goss speaks about "condemned mills"

By Michael Butler

With the recent condemnation status of former mill properties on both sides of the Tallapoosa River, Tallassee historian Bill Goss has spoken out about the historic sites.

"The mill on the east side was recognized by the state of Alabama as a historic structure. A few years ago, I worked with the Alabama Historic Commission, and we got the old mill complex on the west side on the national list. So, it's recognized as a national historic structure. There's a difference between the value of the east side historically and the value of the west side historically.

"I want Tallasseeans to go outside of Tallassee and think about the world. Think about the United States. All over the world and the United States, there are ruins of buildings."

Goss cited a Wikipedia definition of ruins: "Ruins are the remains of human-made architecture: structures that were once complete, as time went by, have fallen into a state of partial or complete disrepair, due to lack of maintenance or deliberate acts of destruction."

The west side mill, a.k.a. Mill No. 1

"All over the world there are historic ruins, which today people pay money to visit," Goss continued. "You don't destroy historic ruins. If those ruins have any value to the community you save them. Out of tribute to all the workers who ever worked in the Tallassee mills, the 1852 mill should be saved as a ruin. The city needs to do a little further research on the buildings and architecture."

Goss referenced a visit made by the National Forestry Division to tour the west side complex.

"They could not believe the structure architectually, how beautiful the buildings were, how well built they were, the quality of the stone," he said. "The Tallassee Redevelopment Authority approached the Talisi Historical Preservation Society, which owned the west side mill. One of the selling points they told us was this, 'If you give us the property, you will never have to worry about the destruction of the 1852 mill. We will maintain the property and clean it up because we're a city entity.' That's why we deeded the property."

The Tallassee Redevelopment Authority has done some cleaning on the property and now must present plans for the complex to the city. Building official John Stonaker intends on presenting plans for both sides of the river at the July 11 council meeting.

"I care about Tallassee just like everybody else does," Stonaker said. "I want it to have some historic value, but also want something we can be proud of."

Notable Ruins - Worldwide
The Parthenon - Greece
The Colosseum - Italy
Babylon - Iraq
Machu Picchu - Peru
Stonehenge - England

Notable Ruins - United States
Bannerman Castle - New York, N.Y.
Ha Ha Tonka Castle - Kansas City, Mo.
Cementland - St. Louis, Mo.
Montezuma Castle - Camp Verde, Ariz.

Notable Ruins - Alabama
State Capitol Building - Tuscaloosa
Fort Morgan - Gulf Shores
Forks of Cypress Plantation - Florence
Boshell Mill Dam - Nauvoo
Ensley Steel Works - Birmingham

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