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Contract for new statue OK'd

Vermont company expected to finish project in 8 months

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Contract for new statue OK'd

The statue of the Confederate Soldier loomed over the town for almost 100 years. Its replacement should be finished in May or June 2010.

Work may soon begin on a new monument and Confederate soldier statue on the front lawn of the Franklin County Courthouse.

The Franklin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday accepted a bid from a Vermont company to totally replace the original statue of a confederate soldier and the monument that stood on the lawn.

Total cost of the project will be $162,949. The contract was awarded to Rock of Ages in Graniteville, Vt. and calls for total replacement of the statue and monument from the ground up, according to Mike Thurman, the county's director of facilities.

The nearly 100-year-old county landmark was destroyed on June 7, 2007 when hit by a pick-up truck.

Thurman said that the truck driver's insurance company has agreed to pay the maximum insurance coverage amount of $100,000.

The county's insurance paid the balance, less $1,000 deductible, according to Thurman.

The replacement monument will be made of Sealmark blue gray granite while the statue will be made from Danby white marble, he added.

Once the company has received notice to proceed, Thurman said the company has 240 calendar days to

complete the project.

Rock of Ages will pick up all the pieces of the original statue and take it back to Vermont. Once there, the company will use the pieces to build a new one as close as possible to the original, Thurman explained.

Once the new monument and statue are completed, the company will return all of the original granite and marble statue pieces to the county, he said.

After all the paper work has been signed, Thurman anticipates the Vermont company will pick up the original monument and statue "hopefully by the end of the month."

When the work is done, the company will put the monument and statue together "from the ground up" on the courthouse lawn starting with a new foundation.

The eight-month project should be completed by May or June.

Since the original monument was dedicated in December 1909, according to historical records, a rededication ceremony may be done in December next year, Thurman said.

"That would be the (Franklin County) historical society and the Jubal Early United Daughters of the Confederacy's decision," he said.

Thurman, Dr. J. Francis Amos and Judge W.N. Alexander II served on a special committee that has overseen the replacement project.

Linda Stanley with the historical society and Roddy Moore with the Ferrum College Blue Ridge Institute were consulted when discussions first began.

Thurman said a lot of informed people were consulted during discussions about restoring the original monument and statue, which were both heavily damaged.

"Several companies said they could restore the monument and statute (from the shattered pieces) but none would guarantee how long the repair would last," Thurman said. "Those who had knowledge of such matters also said that where missing granite and/or marble pieces had to be filled in, those areas would be visible when they got wet from rain or snow."

Historical records show that the monument's foundation was put into place Sept. 10, 1910.

A special unveiling ceremony was held Dec. 1, 1919 on the courthouse lawn. Congressman E.W. Saunders and Samuel W. Williams, Virginia attorney general, were guest speakers.

It is not clear from the records it the statue was in place at the time or was added later.

The monument was made possible by the R.H. Fishburn of Roanoke who was a Franklin County veteran, along with the Jubal A. Early United Daughters of he Confederacy.

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