In 1914, members of the Women’s Relief Corps dedicated a statue in City Square Park commemorating the sacrifice and victory of the Union soldier after the American Civil War. The statue was one of thousands produced and erected in cities across America – at least in the North.
Given the fact that more than 100 years have passed and the Civil War is, for the most part over, it’s not surprising to learn that there are people today who actually thought the statue was that of our namesake, Francis Marion. However, there are probably not many people who do not know that the statue in the park, whoever it represented, suffered as one of the many victims of the 2020 derecho. In fact, his head was detached and was, for a time, missing. The accompanying picture attests to the fact that the head was recovered and remains safe in the hands of the Parks Department.
Proudly, a representative of our board was invited to join in a committee formed by the Parks Department to consider the statue’s future. Due to the material (zinc) from which the statue was constructed, the skill necessary to repair such an artifact is hard to find. After several months, the committee decided the history was worth preserving, a qualified conservator was identified, and the City Council agreed to proceed. William Faulkner was not wrong – history is not past, it is present and future.