The Monument Relocation Committee’s final meeting ended with unanimous approval for a resolution including two recommendations for the new home of the Confederate Monument. Daviess County Fiscal Court will discuss those recommendations during its Dec. 3 meeting.
The committee came to a consensus last week to recommend the Owensboro Museum of Science and History as well as the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art to Fiscal Court as their top two relocation sites. It was also recommended that the statue’s base be relocated separately to the Battle at Panther Creek site.
“I just want to say that this committee — whether or not our suggestions are the ones Fiscal Court approves — has done what we were asked to do, and that’s important,” said chairperson Aloma Dew. “The most important thing we did was give the public a chance to participate.”
While some comments received were “rough around the edges,” Dew said the majority were thoughtful and helpful, adding that it was always going to be impossible to make everyone happy.
Though the task hadn’t been easy, Dew commended the committee for being good citizens in doing their due diligence.
Though nobody opposed the first draft of the resolution, committee member Kenny Barr expressed concern that the statue would potentially be placed in storage due to high costs associated with relocation.
Dew argued that it was not the committee’s job to ask Fiscal Court to not place the statue in storage, and said that the money for moving it had been made available through donations.
The committee eventually agreed to include a sentence in the resolution that expressed their disdain for having the statue placed in storage.
The resolution was read as follows:
“After meetings from September 23 through November 11, discussions, comments from the public, and considerable thought and deliberation on the part of each of the committee members, we hereby submit our proposals for relocation of the Confederate statue from the courthouse square.
The majority decision for relocation was to move the statue, first, to the Owensboro Museum of Science and History without the base. The feeling was, this would be an indoor safe space and could be used to provide historic background.
This site received the most positive comments and committee members agreed this would be the best site.
Number two — Owensboro Museum of Fine Art without the base. Because George Julian Zolnay was a well-known and respected sculptor, because he had family ties to Owensboro, because a trove of Zolnay papers have been discovered at the Smithsonian American History Museum, and because the model for the statue was an Owensboroan and former Union soldier, the committee felt this was another safe spot and could be used for art education.
This site received the third most comments in favor after Elmwood Cemetery, but the majority of the committee felt the two locations would be safer and better to be used for education.
The third part of the relocation recommendation was for the base to be moved to the site of The Battle at Panther Creek on U.S. 431, contingent upon owners of the piece of property at that site, the United Daughters of the Confederacy. This was the site of the only Civil War battle between regular Union and Confederate troops in the County and was listed in the official records as the War of the Rebellion. It is an important part of history, and the committee felt this was appropriate.
It seems important to note that the president of the Mollie Morehead Chapter, 605 local United Daughters of the Confederacy group approved placing the statue at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History but also favored Elmwood or the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.
We never received possible sites from the state chapter of the UDC.
We as a committee would like to thank you for the honor of serving on the Monument Relocation Committee and hope that we have fulfilled our charge. This was an emotional issue and there was never one site that would please everyone.
We have considered all the comments and had spirited discussions before reaching our recommendations, which we hope you will accept.
The committee as a whole expresses concern about storage.”