On October 7, 1909, in front of a crowd of 8,000 and the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia the only federal monument on the battleground was dedicated.
Backstory and Context
The Kings Mountain Chapter of the Daughters of the
American Revolution took control of the battlefield from Kings Mountain
Centennial Association on 1898. The DAR
began working toward federal recognition of the battlefield with North Carolina
congressmen E. Yates Webb and South Carolina Congressmen David E. Finley, who
successfully petitioned Congress for $30,00 for a federal monument for Kings
Mountain after a rousing speech before Congress in which he proclaimed, “when
honored and decrepit age shall lean against the base of this monument and
troops of ingenious youth shall be gathered around it, and when the one shall
speak to the other of its objects and purposes of its construction, and the
great and glorious event with which it is connected, there shall rise from
every youthful breast… Thank God, I also am an American!”
The 83-foot obelisk monument considered the “handsomest south of Gettysburg” was designed by the New York architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, which also designed Madison Square Garden in New York and the White City at the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair.
The obelisk is derived from ancient Egypt and was the symbol of the sun-god. It remained constant in memorial imagery throughout ancient Rome, and later in France and Great Britain.
The location of the monument was chosen to reflect where the battle ended.
Question: What makes something worthy of memorializing?
Robert W. Blythe, Maureen A. Carroll, Steven H. Moffson, Kings Mountain National Military Park: Historic Resource Study, (Washington DC: Cultural Resources Planning Division, National Park Service, 1995), 58-60,64-65.
"U.S. Monument Postcard," Kings Mountain Historical Archive
"Kings Mountain Monuments Postcard" Kings Mountain Historical Archive
"Picture of U.S. Monument" Kings Mountain Historical Archive
"Picture of U.S. Monument with plaques", Kings Mountain Historical Archive