What is the National Register of Historical Places?

The National Register of Historical Places is the official list of all the nation’s places deemed worthy of preservation. Before the 1960s, preserving historical buildings was not seen as a pubic policy matter. That all changed in 1966 when the first national policy towards preservation of these places was put together. Signed by Lyndon B. Johnson on October 15, 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act was born, and with it came many organizations:

  • State Historic Preservation Office
  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • National Register of Historic Places
  • Section 106 review process

These organizations help to preserve beautiful historical places like the Rockmart Slate House. They also help to educate locals in the area about the significance of a certain building or structure.

The Rockmart Slate House is officially listed on the National Register of Historical Places

As of June 24th, 2009, the Rockmart Downtown Historic District, including our beloved event venue, was listed as historical places. The area roughly bounded by Water Street, Beauregard Street, Marble Street, and Elm Streets are included in this list. This district of Rockmart buildings being noticed as historic properties allows for preservation programs to be used if needed. These programs, such as the Main Street program, helps redevelop an older town while keeping it’s historical face and value.

Why is this important?

This district of buildings in Rockmart being listed on the National Register of Historical Places has helped in three ways. This helped to create job opportunities, educate the community, and also it helped to bring in tourism. Tourism in Rockmart? Well.. a certain type of tourism.

In the last few years people are getting tired of the same old tourist attractions, lodges, and typical restaurants. People are shifting to want more local food, activities, and ways to connect with the community and history. So for a smaller town like Rockmart this could not be better. This term called Small or Heritage Tourism is a massive part of smaller town’s revenue. In some cases it can be the top revenue source they have. Many smaller business are popping up around this area because of this small or heritage tourism. For example, the addition of South Marble Coffee is a business that does a great job bringing the existing community together in Rockmart, while also attracting a smaller crowd outside of the town.

As this trend continues to grow, even more people will get to experience the history, culture, and heritage of Rockmart.

We are very passionate about preserving the past while also opening up experiences with the community. The Rockmart Slate House is about gathering people for all types of events from all over Georgia. While also making sure that not only the structure survives properly, but so do the stories, memories, and ideals.

Rockmart Slate

Unknown to most, Rockmart slate has been used for landscaping and building all around the world. Not only as far away as London, England but also has been used in the Golden Gate Bridge. Slate has been quarried around Rockmart since the 1850s and is also how Rockmart claimed it’s name when the town was chartered in 1872.

During the Civil War and for some years after, Van Wert, a town settled by Welsh miners in 1838, held place as a bustling business center in Polk County. Naturally, then, when railroad planners first began speaking about running track through the county, they immediately thought of Van Wert, a town of slate and rock quarries, as the logical place for the Southern Railway depot.

As it turns out, however, railroad planners took advantage instead of a grant they saw no reason to refuse. A wealthy landowner, Colonel Seaborn Jones, offered the railroad land and money to build a station one mile west of Van Wert, in the area that became Rockmart.

Incorporated in 1872, Rockmart grew up around the railroad. The city takes its name from the area’s Rock Market, one that boasted an abundance of slate, limestone, iron shale, and clay.

Among Rockmart’s attractions is the Seaborn Jones Memorial Park, which shares with its visitors the Euharlee Creek and the Silver Comet Trail, the popular running and cycling route that winds more than 60 miles from Smyrna to the Alabama border. –  Georgia.Gov

Rockmart Brick Company, Shale plant near Rockmart, Polk County, Georgia.

The Rockmart Slate House

The Rockmart Slate House building is one of the two oldest surviving buildings in Rockmart, Northwest Georgia. Once called the Cummings building, it was built around 1860-1880 from the slate in the Rock Market.

To restore the historic event venue, the concrete mortar was knocked off the inside of structure to achieve the vintage look it has now. Countless hours were put into prepping, knocking the concrete off, pressure washing the slate rock, and sealing with concrete sealer to give it a jaw dropping look.

Not only was time spent making renovations, but the building was actually saved from falling during the makeover. On the back side of the building the wall was falling out due to a light pole that had been pulling the building slowly over the years. Before any major damage was done, the wall was pulled back in and reinforced.

What is the building being used for now?

From the 1800s to now hosting events, parties, cooperate dinners, and much more, this building has seen a lot! The historic venue can be rented starting at only $150 an hour* and can seat 85 people! More on pricing and availability.

Located in Polk County, it is less than an hour away from Kennesaw and about an hour away from the Buckhead, Atlanta areas. In the heart of downtown, any event can be a perfect fit with catering being one of many options available. Plenty of parking is available in front of and around the venue. Also around the venue is the Seaborn Jones Memorial Park, Euharlee Creek, and the Silver Comet Trail.

Rockmart Presbyterian Church

The other of the two oldest buildings is a Presbyterian Church that still stand today as the Rockmart Presbyterian Church. (Shown Below) The church was built at the same time as the Rockmart Slate House was constructed. The Rockmart Presbyterian Church states,

“In the late 1860’s, eight dedicated Presbyterians, including early Welsh settlers, met in the Van Wert Methodist Church. They formed the congregation from which the Rockmart Presbyterian Church grew. The church held its organizational meeting on May 28, 1871 and is the oldest continuing Presbyterian Church in Polk County. In 1878 the land was obtained from philanthropist Seaborn Jones for a token payment of five dollars. During the next four years, the current building at the corner of Slate and Marble Streets was constructed. It was made of native slate with walls 28 inches thick. While the slate exterior remains almost exactly the same, the interior has been remodeled.”