Civil War Trust Approves Acquisition of Cool Spring Battlefield

The Civil War Trust has approved the acquisition of the 195-acre Textron Financial tract at the Cool Spring battlefield. In a letter sent to the chairman of the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, James Lighthizer, President of the Civil War Trust announced the organization’s decision and outlined the additional steps that the the Trust approved to support the park.

The text of the letter is included below.


March 2, 2012

The Honorable Michael J. Hobert
Chairman, Clarke County Board of Supervisors
101 Chalmers Court, Suite B
Berryville, VA 22611

Dear Chairman Hobert:

I am pleased to inform you that the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest battlefield preservation organization, has approved the acquisition of the 195-acre Textron Financial tract at the Cool Spring battlefield. Additionally, the Trust has approved a grant to Clarke County for the payment of a membership fee to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA), as well as a commitment to provide seed money for a newly-created organization to support the park.

Specifically, the Trust approved the following:

  • The acquisition and transfer of the 195-acre Textron Financial tract to the NVRPA for the creation of the Cool Spring Battlefield Regional Park. The NVRPA will be subject to a conservation easement on the property that the Trust will grant to Virginia Department of Historic Resources when the property is acquired.
  • A grant of $37,500 to the County to assist in the payment of an annual membership fee in the NVRPA. The grant shall be made in a lump sum in 2012 or in equal installments over two-, three-, or four-year period, at the option of the County. This grant, together with a grant of $37,500 from the Piedmont Environmental Council (for a total of $75,000), is intended to defray the County’s cost of membership in the NVRPA while that body implements its Operations and Facilities Management Plan for the park.
  • A commitment to provide $5,000 of seed money for the creation of a “friends of the park” group or foundation to support the park. It is intended that this newly-created nonprofit organization would be a vehicle for the following:
    1. Raising money to put toward the County’s annual membership fee to NVRPA.
    2. Establishing a network of volunteers to assist in the stewardship of the park.
    3. Coordinating with community organizations, local schools, and state and national history and tourism organizations (e.g. Virginia Tourism Corporation), to promote the use of the park.

Additionally, in order to promote the Cool Spring Battlefield Regional Park and a non-profit organization to support the park, the Trust will provide information about the park on its website,, which received more than over 1,000,000 unique visits in 2011, and its award-winning magazine, Hallowed Ground.

The Trust and its Board of Trustees views the creation of the Cool Spring Battlefield Regional Park as an opportunity of national significance. That the tract can become a fully-functional interpretive park for the benefit of local residents and heritage tourists is a landmark achievement for the County, as well as the Trust and its local partners.

Thank you again for the opportunity to work together on this important effort.


James Lighthizer, President, CIVIL WAR TRUST





  1. cheapshot says:

    This letter from the Civil War Trust makes it sound like the County approval is a done deal. Did I miss something? Nothing in the letter makes their aqquisition contingent upon county membership in the Park system. So the property is already preserved-great. Now we can save the money and have them preserve the property themselves. I think that is the best outcome. Unless of course they did this with the tacit understanding that the county had already decided to approve the park membership, before the official announcement. That smells a little fishy…….

  2. Fairfax View says:

    Obviously, the second battle of Cool Springs is over. I am glad to read that decisions were made to result in a final progressive outcome. In addition everyone in Clarke County should revel with excitement that the end will include as an option having the Civil War Trust paying for your NVRPA membership. Myself, I would be horrified if I lived and paid taxes in a county that was in such terrible financial condition a $65k membership became a decision point.

    Hello… This was over when it started. As the cart started down the road a contingent of nay-sayers actually wanted a bankrupt “private” investment company to continue to operate a seasonal golf business that has lost money for 10 years. Really, like that was an option! You were ready to subsidize with your county tax funds an Atlanta Company to keep the West Virginia workers employed at a golf course that looses money? Correct?

    You should feel fortunate the cart didn’t make a turn. The third battle of Cool Spring would have probably been fought in the courts by lawyers representing the investment company and the Civil War Trust vs Clarke County. At this point the cost for your county legal fees and settlements would make the NVRPA membership fee look like a happy meal. The tail would wag the dog since you can’t afford the fight.

    At this point relax and for some as hard as it is say “Cool Spring Battlefield Park”. After a while it won’t be that difficult. I don’t live or pay taxes in Clarke County but do promise when I visit the Cool Spring Battlefield Park in my Lexus SUV with my wife, 1.3 kids and ATM card I won’t bring an old sofa and toss it out along your highways.

    • Outstanding commentary! Thank you for your perspective and promise to visit. Many of us welcome visitors…

      • Of course we like visitors. We need money for the new park since they only have enough money for the first year. That’s OK because they can put all of the extra into the school system.

    • I think I am reading this wrong. Are they paying every year or just a total of $75,000. If it is just $75,000 then that will pay for only one year.

      The last time I checked, West Virginia schools offer more than Clarke County schools.

    • Sunshine says:

      Fairfax View
      The decision has not been made.
      The letter from Mr. Lighthizer is just another political maneuver to reduce local interest and the membership fee is only one item in a long list of concerns from many Clarke residents.


    • Sunshine says:

      One of my responses was redacted so I’ll adjust my remark.

      Fairfax View…
      I take exception to your comment. The underlying tone to the ignorance of Clarke residents and improper list of concerns represent your lack of awareness to this situation.
      The process allowing residents to express their concerns is appropriate and permits another perception thereby an authority can adjust accordingly.

    • funeralforafriend says:

      Did I miss something ? When was it ever mentioned that the county was approached to subsidize the golf course ? The course making or losing money has nothing to do with the decision.The course paid their tax bill on time and that’s all that the county requires of them.The county has no concern if it is profitable or not as long as the county gets it’s money.I would guess there are some profitable business’ who don’t pay on time, so that argument is worthless.

      On your way out to the battlefield in your SUV you might want to have a geography CD playing so you can study a bit before arriving , since the park is located in VA not WV !

    • herb lukik says:

      Actually, for years Virginia National was staffed with Clarke County residents who cared (and still care) a great deal about the course and were perpetually underfunded and undermanned. That was the real Battle of Cool Spring. When you do visit the golf course-battlefield park-walking ground-scenic observatory-river access-equestrian space-public property-conservation easement, watch the potholes on Parker Lane; they’re haunted by the ghost of John Brown. Preciate.

  3. Sunshine says:

    So the BOS meet tomorrow March 5th at 9am in the Main Meeting Room at the Government Center to discuss Cool Spring Battlefield Park.

    Will they make a decision that will leave the Sheriff’s Dept, Fire & Rescue Companies, School Board and many residents shaking their head?

    I’m hoping they (BOS) get over this fashionable large county ego and leave it to the other richest counties in America that are over the mountain. They may be thinking it’s a feather in their hat but it’s not tickling other programs that need true consideration.