Historic Cobb County landmark burns to ground

- A historical landmark in Cobb County is gone after a mysterious overnight fire burned it to the ground.

To many, the Clarkdale Mill Village Community Center was an irreplaceable part of the once-thriving Coates and Clarke Textile Community. The Cobb County Fire Department said the cause of the fast-moving blaze that destroyed the historic community center is undetermined.

Viewer video showed the intensity of the overnight fire which destroyed the Clarkdale Mill Village community Center.

The Cobb County Fire Department said the building burned to the ground in minutes by the time they got to the location.

Doug Snyder lives next door to the building.

"There were cinders falling all over it was like a volcano. And it was fully engulfed. By the time everyone woke it was fully engulfed," said Snyder.

William Johnson, the curator of the Austell museum, showed FOX 5 News pictures of the Community Center in its heyday in the 30s.

"This property was all purchased by the Coates family back in 1931," said Johnson.

He said the community center was an integral part of the former Coates and Clarke Textile Mill where workers were provided housing, played on baseball teams and worked at the thread mill.

The mill is now a modern building with Austell city offices, a sheriff substation and more.

The community center was one of the last original buildings.

"The history, the stories people had, all they have now is their memories," said Johnson.

The community center was undergoing renovations after Cobb County had bought it with SPLOST, special purpose local option sales tax money.

AikWah Leow, the public information officer with Cobb County said the renovations had just gotten started.

"Almost a million dollars for the restoration, at this point all they had done is started the lead paint removal," said Leow.

She said the million dollars would have paid for design, restoration and establishing activities at the community center, which is now gone.

"It’s like losing something that can't be replaced. It does feel like very sad like someone's passed away," said Snyder.

Leon said it’s unclear what comes next with this project and the remaining more than $800,000 in SPLOST money.

Residents in Clarkdale said, whatever happens, it's impossible to replace what has been lost.

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