Asheville’s most iconic landmark is about to get a monumental makeover. The Vance Monument, located at the crossroads of Biltmore and Patton Avenues in the heart of downtown, will undergo a top to bottom restoration beginning in April. Through a generous donation by the 26th North Carolina Regiment to the city of Asheville, the two have teamed up to make the restoration possible.
The Vance Monument is part of the city of Asheville’s public art collection. In 2008, the city conducted a condition assessment on the monument which revealed a significant amount of corrosion, failing mortar joints, corroded markers, and over all dirt and stain. The restoration will be conducted by a professional conservator following the guidelines of the American Institute for Conservation.
During the restoration, the monument will be enclosed in a construction fence, and encased to its full height in scaffolding. The restoration will involve meticulous repair of mortar joints and sealant, followed by an overall cleaning of the monument and the bronze plaques. The final touch will be to repair and paint the wrought iron fence surrounding the monument. The 26th North Carolina Regiment will host a re-dedication of the Vance Monument on May 16, 2015 at 11:00 am at the foot of the monument.
Constructed in 1897 at the west end of what is now Pack Square Park, the Vance Monument commemorates the life of Zebulon B. Vance, U.S. Senator, governor of North Carolina during and after the Civil War, and the first colonel of the 26th North Carolina Regiment. Designed by architect Richard Sharpe Smith who oversaw the construction of the Biltmore House, the monument originally cost $3,000 to construct.
The monument is an obelisk composed of rusticated granite blocks at an estimated height of 75 feet. During the construction in 1897, a Masonic cornerstone was laid on the northeast side of the monument containing a time capsule. The capsule will be removed and the contents catalogued by the Western Regional Archives of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.
Founded in 1981, the 26th North Carolina is a non-profit society with over 300 members. Its mission is to preserve the story and material history of North Carolina during the period of the American Civil War, focusing on aspects of history relating to the original 26th North Carolina Regiment. The 26th North Carolina works in partnership with the North Carolina Museum of History to fund artifact preservation projects within the museum’s collection; and has raised over $150,000 for historical preservation. The major donor to the Vance Monument restoration project is the Vetust Study Club, along with a number of public and private contributors. For information about the 26th North Carolina Regiment, go to 26nc.org, or contact Chris Roberts at 828-712-5162, email@example.com.
The City of Asheville Public Art Program oversees Asheville’s public art collection with assistance of the Public Art & Cultural Commission. The collection includes the popular Urban Trail, a historic walking tour of downtown Asheville; along with other prominent works in the downtown area including but not limited to the Pack Fountain, Energy Loop, Deco Gecko and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. For information about the Public Art Program, contact Brenda Mills at 828-259-8050, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the Vance Monument restoration project, contact Debbie Ivester at 828-259-5804, email@example.com