City plans to take over care of statue
United Daughters of the Confederacy has cared for monument for centuries
By Kevin Walters
THE TENNESSEAN • May 17, 2010
FRANKLIN — Franklin's Confederate solider has kept a sharp eye on the city for 110 years. Now it's time he started to look sharper himself. City officials are set to take over the upkeep of the iconic Civil War statue in Franklin's Public Square per a new agreement with the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Franklin Chapter No. 14.
Members of the UDC erected the marble statue on Nov. 30, 1899, to commemorate the anniversary of the Battle of Franklin. Since then, the heritage group has watched out for the statue's condition. If approved, Franklin and the UDC will work together to make sure the statue stays in good condition. Aldermen could vote on approving the contract later this month.
"Our chapter worked hard to preserve and maintain the monument throughout these years," said Louise Beauchamp, UDC chapter president. "It does mean a lot to us. We think it means a lot to the citizens of Franklin."
One thing the statue needs is a good cleaning. Moss has grown on its backside — which is the side facing north — and has discolored the statue. The 6-foot-6-inch statue, which has a chipped hat, stands atop a 37-foot pedestal. City Administrator Eric Stuckey said the moss can be removed with mild soap and water. No exact time for the cleaning has been set, but crews might do it at night to avoid traffic, he said.
In 1899, the monument was erected at a cost of $2,700. Over time, it has become synonymous with Franklin. "Everytime you see a commercial about Franklin or see Franklin on TV, you almost always see the Confederate statue," Beauchamp said.
In other Civil War-related news, Franklin Mayor John Schroer wants to create a Franklin Battlefield Preservation Commission that would replace the city's Battlefield Task Force.
The 18-member commission would formally advise aldermen and the city on matters related to the city's military history and serve as Franklin's "historic and cultural preservation brain trust," according to the ordinance.