The Battle of Nashville Monument: A Symposium
Thurs., Nov. 5 and Fri., Nov. 6, 1998

 

Recreating the Battle of Nashville Monument

"Recreating the Battle of Nashville Monument" was discussed by Ward DeWitt, chairman of the Tennessee Historical Commission; Gary Hawkins of the architectural firm Hawkins Partners, chief contractors for the monument project; and sculptor Coley Coleman, who is recreating parts of the monument.

DeWitt presented a concise history of the creation of the monument, its gradual deterioration over the years, and the efforts in recent years to save it.

Hawkins, a landscape architect responsible for the Concept Plan for the new park in which the monument will be relocated, said he conducted a lot of research in order to be able to display the monument in the proper setting. The park is a two-acre site just south of I-440 and bounded by Granny White Pike, Clifton Avenue, and Battlefield Drive. It sits on the battlefield at the northernmost penetration by Confederate forces. The plot forms the crest of a hill and is dominated by a large pin oak tree. The monument will be situated at the highest elevation, facing east as intended by original sculptor Giuseppe Moretti. There will be onsite parking and pathways so that visitors can view the monument close up. Eventually, there will be interpretive signage and a Wall of Peace, built with $72,000 in funds earmarked by the Frist Foundation.

Of the $225,000 raised for the project, all but about $15,000 will be needed for the relocation and restoration of the monument itself. "We've got a long way to go," he noted. He estimated that $400,000 will be needed to complete the park to the Concept Plan specifications.

Sculptor Coleman noted that he is about halfway completed with carving the new angel which will sit atop the monument's obelisk, which was recently delivered. The sculptures are made of granite from Elberton, Georgia, which is much more suitable for outdoor sculptures than the monument's original Italian marble. (The original oblisk and angel were destroyed during a 1974 tornado). He noted that he had to wait eight months to receive the granite from the quarry. The granite base for the monument has already been situated at the new site. The original bronze sculpture of a youth and two horses has been cleaned and resealed at Rehorn & Kelly on Lebanon Road after being removed from the original site by McCord Crane Co. The bronze, which has appeared black, now has a beautiful light-brown bronze patina.

The original base will remain at the old site on Franklin Road, said DeWitt, who noted that the property should be maintained as a historical site. The small plot of land, now overshadowed by a huge interstate interchange (I-65 at I-440), will revert back to the heirs of the original donators otherwise. Confederate artillery was situated at the site during the battle.

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