Monument and Landscape Restorations

Restoration is a long, precise and deliberate process—one that requires much of the work to be done by hand.  Using the same materials for the replica pieces as in the original construction is critical to the authenticity of the work and the monument itself. Maintaining that originality is costly, but necessary, to keep alive the spirit of those Civil War veterans who came together at Crawfish Springs in 1889 to break bread and make peace in the shadow of Chickamauga Battlefield.

Each monument is a unique design approved by veterans of both sides of the war, steadfast in their desire to commemorate the battles that took the lives of so many of their brothers in arms and in the belief that the Park should be set aside as a memorial for both the Blue and Gray. Over 1,400 features were carefully placed within the Park boundaries, creating a historical representation of the states, regiments, and soldiers that fought in the Campaign for Chattanooga. On this hallowed ground, where those who once fought laid down their arms and came together as a reunited nation, no monuments that glorify people or the conflict are found, now and forever. The Friends will help preserve these memorials as the veterans intended, in honor of our United States.

During the past year, Friends of the Park, encouraged by a matching grant from the  Order of the Southern Cross, raised over $14,000 in private funds needed to restore the Tennessee Confederate Infantry Monument. More than 30 years ago, vandals stole pieces from the bronze soldier that adorns the top of the monument, located at the Chickamauga Battlefield. Many other monuments at the Park also need repairs ranging from small to extensive, creating a deferred maintenance backlog that is not unique to the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.  In fact, throughout the National Park System, the estimated total cost to fix the roads, bridges, trails, plaques, and monuments needing attention approaches $12 billion.

CCNMP’s Chief of Resource Management, Jim Szyjkowski, is tasked with prioritizing repairs within the Park boundary, based on the urgency of the repair and availability of funds. With the grant and matching funds secured for the Tennessee Confederate Infantry Monument, Jim utilized the expertise of NPS exhibit specialist Brian Griffin to fabricate the molds used to reproduce the missing pieces, including a rifle barrel and stock. When the pieces are cast and sent back to CCNMP, Park staff will install them and re-patina to match the statue.

Friends of the Park created the Jewell Memorial Restoration Fund in 2009 exactly for projects such as these, a familiar undertaking in our 31-year history of partnership with the National Park Service. The restored Lytle Monument at Chickamauga Battlefield was dedicated in 2013; the Ohio State Monument on Missionary Ridge followed in 2014. The Friends also raised funds for the re-opening of the iconic Wilder Tower many years ago.

Jessica Blankenship