Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My Visit to Monument Terrace

Monument Terrace

Located at 900 Court Street, Lynchburg VA, Monument Terrace Joins the business area of downtown Lynchburg and the Courthouse Hill. It is a landmark, which has changed and grown over time , new additions have been made. Early Lynchburg business was focused near the James River, but in 1813, Lynchburg's first courthouse was built in the hills above. Therefore, the connection from the James River to the courthouse cut out a path, which is now 9th street in downtown Lynchburg. As put by the Lynchburg Museum System, "the street and Monument terrace represent the most historic corridor in the city". This is big! 

In 1882, someone very important to changing the Monuments appearance came along. This person is August Forsberg. He designed the stone steps and a plaza, as well as a fountain that would be placed on Church and 9th street.  A tragic fire in 1883 caused five volunteer fire fighters to lose their lives.  After this event, August Forsberg added a fireman’s memorial to his plan. This is where the statue of a fireman on top of the fountain in 1925 gets its origin. The fireman’s fountain stood at the memorial until 1924. 

Our current Monument Terrace design is very different. The architect Aubrey Chestermen created the version, which we can see today. This structure was completed in 1925 and was supposed to be a monument to Lynchburg’s lost men in “the World War” of 1917-1918 (The Lynchburg Museum System). This fountain was completed with turtles and dolphins. Yet, this statue was removed and placed into storage. “Monument Terrace design is rooted in the Renaissance. The grand staircase, scrolls at the stair bases, and robust balusters pay homage to ancient Italian design” (The Lynchburg Museum System). An interesting fact about the Monument is that its base contains a time capsule with items related to the Confederacy, including photographs of local Confederates, CSA currency, and hair from General Lee’s famous house, traveler. Pictured above, is when John W. Daniel addressed the crowd at the unveiling of the Confederate monument in 1900 (The Lynchburg Museum System). 

WWI Memorial
As the monument developed there were many different memorial sites added to the stairs leading up to the Confederate Statue. The first part which was added after the dolphin fountain was the Listening Post (the Dough boy) statue. It was installed in 1926 to commemorate WWI, 
which lasted from 1917-1918. 
Spanish-American War

The second part of this monument which was added in 1940 by the Crighill Camp, is to commemorate those who served in the armed forces during the Spanish-American War, which took place only eight months in 1898.

WWII Memorial
The WWII section of the monument has a statue of an inverted rifle with a helmet atop it, the symbol for the loss of a soldier. there are also 182 names of Lynchburg men who lost their lives during this war. This monument was erected in 1986. 
Korean War Memorial

In 1989 the Korean Conflict was memorialized through a plaque of men who lost their lives.

Vietnam War Memorial
The next monument to come up in 1986, is a very personal and close hitting one, The Vietnam War was commemorated when the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 196 erected the monument. MY grandfather served in the Vietnam War, and is in the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 196. He has many, many stories to tell about it, but this brings the memorial to life for me. The Vietnam Veterans, along with veterans of many other wars join together at the bottom of Monument Terrace each and every Friday, and have done so for about 600 consecutive Fridays. They do this to show honor to those lost, and for those still fighting in the current battles America is involved with. The Vietnam war lasted from 1964-1973, and 27 men from Lynchburg were lost. My grandfather was awarded two purple hearts for risking his life to save many of his wounded comrades in battle. What is so inspiring, is that even though a grenade had taken out many of the muscles in his thigh, he was still able to run and pull many men to safety. 
POW-MIA Memorial

The next memorial up the steps of Monument Terrace is the POW-MIA statue. This stands for Prisoner of War- Missing in Action. It pays Homage to those who were taken captive in war while in the armed forces, as well as those who were never accounted for  after returning from war. the Vietnam Veterans chapter 195 erected this monument in 2005. 

Purple Heart Memorial
The Seventh part of Monument Terrace is the Purple Heart Monument. A purple Heart is given to those who are killed or wounded during a time of war. In 2008, a time capsule was places in the monument which was erected by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. 

The top- most part of Monument Terrace is the Confederate Statue which was installed in 1900 by the Old Dominion and Kirkwood Otey Chapters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. This commemorated the war between the states from 1861-1865. 
Confederate Statue

As I mentioned before my Grandfather joins with many other Veterans each and every Friday to honor every faucet of the Monument Terrace. Below are a few pictures of this gathering, my grand father, and Me!
This is my Grandfather, A Marine, welcoming  a young man
named Ethan who is joining the Marines. 

This is My grandfather and grandmother, Gary and Linda Witt.
My grandfather served as a marine in the Vietnam War.

This is Jessica (Left) and Me (Right) visiting Monument Terrace.

A few veterans and supporters meeting.

As of 2/20/2015, they have met 689 weeks in a row. WOW. 

Supporting the Troops.

Saluting  the Doug boy 

Monument terrace is such a beautiful historic site, and I definitely recommend a visit!

Thank you for Reading! If you would like more information about Monument Terrace you can call the Lynchburg Museum at 434-455-6226. Most of my information came from the Lynchburg Museum System brochure for monument Terrace. Pictures were personally taken, and some were retrieved from online. Some information was retrieved by talking to my grandfather as well.

Alyssa Witt
Liberty University '16