Preservation Society hosts first in series of workdays at Lock A

English Ivy can be seen growing around a monument dedicated to General Joe Wheeler and members of his command who crossed the Tennessee River in 1863. Though the Society hopes to keep much of the Ivy that was introduced to the area by Miss Annie Wheeler, the vines will have to be controlled to protect other plant species. 

The Lawrence County History and Preservation Society’s community cleanup day at old Lawrence County Park, also known as Lock A, was just the beginning of more workdays to come, according to the Society.

“We will schedule another workday at Lock A during our December meeting,” the group posted to their Facebook page following the cleanup. “If you couldn’t make it today, don’t worry, you will have more chances to help us make an impact on this historic area.”

The Society hosted a cleanup day at the park in North Courtland on Saturday, and their first objective was to pick up litter and clear overgrowing Chinese Privet from the main entrance to the park.

LCHPS President Ann Britnell said 15 volunteers showed up for the effort, District 1 Commissioner Jesse Byrd, members of the Forestry Service, members of the Sons of the Confederacy, LCHPS members, and TVA Recreationalist Derek South and his wife, Emma.

South met with the Society on the work site on Friday to map out an area and scope of work.

Britnell said the group had planned to eradicate as much of the Privet as possible, but South also intends to research for the best way to control English Ivy growing in the park.

“Chinese Privet and English Ivy are both aggressive plants,” Britnell said. “Miss Annie Wheeler planted the Ivy; that was her trademark. She planted it on the monument (inside the park), it’s been left growing for years, and now it’s growing on the trees.”

The group intends to keep some of the Ivy growing because it was a signature planted by General Joe Wheeler’s daughter, but Britnell said it will need to be controlled to keep it from harming the trees and other plant life. 

She said the 15 voluteers helped clear much of the Privet as well as a couple of dead trees in the area Saturday morning. The group also collected 29 bags full of trash and litter.

Lawrence County Solid Waste collected the bags from the site on Monday, Britnell added. 

“We’ll have a meeting on Monday, Dec. 2, to decide when our next workday will be,” she said. “Derek, (Linda) Peebles, and I were all very pleased with the work we accomplished. We were pleased we had so many turn-outs.”

TVA has offered to place picnic tables in the park, and South is working to have a sign erected to show the park is being maintained by LCHPS, according to Britnell. 

LCHPS is a non-profit formed for the protection and preservation of Lawrence County’s historic sites and structures. For more information about the Preservation Society, or to volunteer, email



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