Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Jefferson Davis Monument Trip

Sunday afternoon my Mom and Dad who aren't actually my Mom and Dad came into town to visit their daughter (the friend who recently broke her wrist), son-in-law and grandson. I came over to visit for a bit and was told everyone was going to be going to see some historic/tourist sites before they left. Mom wanted to see the monument and museum at Jefferson Davis State Park so we packed everyone into the cars and drove 30-some miles northeast until we got to the 351 foot tall cement obelisk you see above.

Most of the items on display were replicas, but the fife and other pictured utensils were actually from the Civil War.

While the museum can hardly qualify as such, the single room holding a desk and two small display cabinets did have a really neat hardwood floor with square plugs which gave me some quilt ideas.  There was also a $5 elevator ride to get to the top of the obelisk. Altogether, the trip was not really worth $5 and I don't really recommend it as a destination unless you're really, really bored and tired of being in a car while you're traveling through the area.  The 'tour guide' did not possess any information that was not readily available from the plaques in the 'museum' and I got the impression that the only reason the place existed was because Washington got one for being the first President of the United States so the locals figured Davis should get one for being the first President of the Confederate States. Even though they kept trying to compare it to the Washington Monument, the fact is that the concrete in this monument is nearing the end of its lifespan and has begun to dry out and turn to dust (despite what are obvious repairs if you have ever worked with block or cement), whereas the marble and granite of the Washington Monument will continue to stand relatively unscathed - I guess with the exception of acid rain - for at least another century or so. 

There are some pretty, panoramic views of the surrounding farmland that you can get from the top, but i don't think they are worth the $5 admission.

I want to make it clear that I am not knocking what these people have accomplished.  Completed in 1924, this was no small undertaking. They built a structure, the fourth-tallest monument in the United States, which can be seen over 30 miles away by paratroopers making practice jumps on Fort Campbell. They did so using locally-raised funds in a farming and mining community, mostly during World War I. They built it with local labor and locally mined materials. They built it by hand. These facts are what I found impressive about the monument and why I am, actually, glad I got to go.

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