UPDATED: Montgomery County Prepares to Relocate the Confederate Soldier Statue to White’s Ferry Road in Dickerson
UPDATED 2.28.17 The Confederate Soldier monument is being moved from Rockville to Dickerson, according to Montgomery County officials.
That’s because the ownership of the statue has been transferred to White’s Ferry, Inc. which operates the vehicle ferry at White’s Ferry. The popular ferry transports cars between Montgomery County and the Leesburg, Virginia area on the other side of the Potomac River.
“I fully understand that the statue reflects a piece of County history and that many County residents are proud of the sacrifices and bravery shown by their ancestors,” said County Executive Ike Leggett in a statement. “Nonetheless, as originally enacted, it was not, and is not, part of the heritage of all of our residents. When originally constructed and placed on County property, it failed to reflect both sides of this unfortunate struggle in our history. That is why I strongly opposed keeping this statue on County property and wanted to move it to another location in the County that would be accessible to County residents.”
The statue is not moving anytime soon though. A request for proposal (RFP) to move the 16-foot tall, 25,000 pound statue was posted on the Montgomery County website today. The RFP is looking for a contractor to relocate the bronze statue and its stone base from 29 Courthouse Square to 24801 Whites Ferry Road in Dickerson. The closing date for bidders is 3 p.m. on April 4, and in case you are wondering the county will foot the bill for the move.
“I am happy to provide a place for the statue to be relocated,” said R. Edwin Brown, attorney for White’s Ferry, Inc. “Those who wish to visit it will be able to do just that.”
The statue, the only veterans’ statue in Montgomery County, was donated to the County by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1913 and honored County men who served in the Confederate States Army during the War Between the States, which lasted from April 1861 to May of 1865. The inscription reads: “To Our Heroes of Montgomery County Maryland: That We Through Life May Not Forget to Love the Thin Gray Line.”
You may remember that Leggett initially approved a recommendation to move the statue to the grounds of the pre-Civil War Beall-Dawson House in downtown Rockville. That relocation, however, was rejected by the Rockville City Council in June of 2016. A 20-foot box currently encloses the soldier statue because it was vandalized in July of 2015.
ORIGINAL POST It’s been one year this week since Rockville leaders voted, 4-1, against accepting the 104-year-old statue of a Confederate Soldier from Montgomery County for relocation at the Beall Dawson Historical Park.
During the last 12 months, the monument in front of the Red Brick Courthouse has not moved and there’s been no public discussion about its future.
That’s about to change though, according to General Services Director David Dise, who said a request for proposals (RFP) to relocate the statue will be advertised in the next two weeks.
So where is the monument going to be moved and who will maintain it?
Dise said he is reluctant to share the exact location before a joint press release with Montgomery County and a private owner is issued.
What he would say is that the monument, which remains boxed up after it was vandalized in 2015, is going to stay in Montgomery County.
“What we have done is an exhaustive search of different locations,” Dise said, noting the new owner understands the public interest in the future site.
It was back in 2015, when Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett said he wanted the statue moved. His decision was debated by community members and several potential sites were identified, including the Beall Dawson Historical Park.
Matthew Logan, the executive director of the Montgomery County Historical Society, said he would like the statue to stay where it is with some additional signage for context.
“Montgomery County does not have a great track record for historic preservation,” Logan said, adding that preserving the county’s heritage is important for the future.
Once you move it, Logan says, the value of the monument and the community’s mindset becomes more difficult to understand.
When asked how much it will cost to move the monument, Dise said he didn’t know yet. He said the price tag will depend on who moves it and how it is moved. The life size, bronze sculpture of a Confederate soldier atop a granite pedestal weighs over 11,000 pounds and dates back to 1913. It has an inscription that reads: “To Our Heroes of Montgomery Co. Maryland That We Through Life May Not Forget to Love the Thin Gray Line, Erected A.D. 1913.”
That’s when the monument was first erected in a triangular park called Courthouse Square, bounded by East Montgomery Avenue on the south, Maryland Avenue on the east and Commerce Lane on the north. The monument sat there for nearly 60 years, from 1913-1971, when it was moved to its current location on the east lawn of the Red Brick Courthouse.
It’s next destination remains undisclosed for now.