Dr. Larry Krumenaker has always loved history, but being from New Jersey, he had focused mostly on the Revolutionary War.
"When I moved to Atlanta, all I knew about its Civil War history was that Sherman came, burned down the city and they made a movie," says Krumenaker.
That wasn’t enough for the science professor and history buff. "I like to go back in time, walk in the footsteps of others."
Landscape history is what Krumenaker calls it – being able to stand where an event took place and imagine it as it once was.
In particular, Krumenaker was fascinated with the 36 forts he learned had once formed a perimeter around Atlanta. Where were they now? No one seemed to know.
"I don’t like not knowing," says Krumenaker. "So I decided to solve the mystery."
After studying two Civil War-era maps that showed the forts and overlaying them on modern maps of the city, Krumenaker set out to see the locations in person and document them with photographs and maps that would help others find them.
"I would start at a MARTA terminal and go in one direction, then start again another day and go in another direction. Sometimes I searched on foot, sometimes I rode my bike."
There were times Krumenaker’s exploration came close to getting him in trouble. "I once biked right into the middle of a drug bazaar. That was a little disconcerting."
Krumenaker was able to pinpoint the locations of every fort, but there was little physical evidence of most of them. "There are two that are good specimens," he says, "and nine more with some remnants. Only four have markers at their locations."
Krumenaker photographed both the ruins he found and the spots where forts once stood but where nothing was left of the historic structures.
"Where one fort stood, there’s now a dog park," he says, "but you can still stand in that spot where Confederate soldiers fought to defend their homes and experience history a little more personally."
Krumenaker collected his research, photographs and historical information and turned them into an urban trails tour book called "Walking the Line."
"Any tourist or local can pick up my book and follow the three trails to see the locations of all 36 forts and stand on those historic places themselves. The book also provides historical context."
Krumenaker, who now spends most of his time in Germany doing research for his next projects, returns to the U.S. several times a year for book tours and speaking engagements. He was recently set up at the Chickamauga Battlefield to promote his book and the calendar he created to go with it.
"The 2017 calendar notes 80 important events of 1864 as related to the Atlanta campaign. It includes modern photographs of historic places, maps and information about persons of interest."
"Walking the Line" and Krumenaker’s 2017 calendar are available at the Eastern National bookstore inside the Chickamauga Battlefield visitor center on Lafayette Road.
To learn more about Dr. Krumenaker and his book and calendar, as well as upcoming products, you can visit hermograph.com.