Present is worst of times for historical markers

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All that's left of the historic marker at the site where Atlanta surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman's army is a broken post that bows toward the ground.

The actual marker was knocked off the post by a truck last summer, and the state doesn't have $300 to fix it.

"The problem is we don't have a marker shop to repair or replace it," said Linda Moye, who oversees monuments and signs at the state Department of Natural Resources. "We had a budget cut a few years ago so we don't have a marker shop, and there's no money in the budget for repairs."

Moye said that up to 50 historic markers across the state are missing or have been taken down for maintenance. Several were in the repair shop when the money ran out and are still there. The state files insurance claims when it knows the driver or vehicle that damages a marker, but most times the signs are victims of hit-and-run accidents. Just in Fulton County, 10 markers are down, and the reasons for their demise vary, Moye said.

Some historic markers could disappear and few people would care. The Surrender of Atlanta sign isn't one of them.

"This marked the site of a vital part of our history," said Sen. George Hooks (D-Americus), one of the Legislature's leading historians. "It marked the place that was the turning point of the War Between the States."

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