A piece of Marietta history rests beneath layers of vines off Kennesaw Avenue.

The Glover-Wilder Tannery, built sometime in the 1840s, once cranked out about 7,000 tanned hides per year, but now one wall and a separate corner segment are all that remain. Sharp-eyed drivers can spot the brick wall from the road. If you’re heading toward Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, it will be on your right before you get to Tower Road.

The ruins are not open to the public. Bruce and Jane Kyburz, who own the 3.5 acres the ruins sit on, say the footing is not safe around the old tannery, and snakes are known to make their homes there.

But with the Kyburz’ permission, the MDJ tagged along with Marietta Historic Preservation Commission Chairman David Freedman to check up on the place.

Stepping over the tangled undergrowth and piles of dead wood, Freedman said he was pleased at the state of the ruins. He said he was glad to see the walls still looked sturdy and even some of the wooden window frames were still in place.

According to Freedman, the tannery was originally operated by John Heyward Glover Jr. and John Wilder. Other than agriculture, tanning, or making leather out of animal hides, was one of early Marietta’s top industries.

The factory was destroyed by Union troops during the Civil War, and its ruins have stood ever since.

Now, a sign stands across the street from the spot to let pedestrians know some of the site’s history. It was installed July 19.

Freedman said the sign was a collaboration between the preservation commission and Cobb Landmarks, and that the two are seeking other sites appropriate for historical markers.

Jane Kyburz said she’s noticed joggers and dog walkers heading down the trail pause and read the new sign, something she’s happy to see.

The couple has been living in the home for 41 years and has paid to have the ruins maintained and cleared of undergrowth on many occasions.

Now, a for sale sign stands in front of the property, and Jane Kyburz said she hopes the next owners will also keep the ruins in the state they are in now.

“We have three and a half acres, so it will come with it, and I’d hope they preserve it,” she said. “It’s going to have to be a special person who wants an older home, wants to be close to the Square and wants to have some property. So I’m hoping that they will preserve that.”


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