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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Edgar Wilson "Bill" Nye, Fletcher

  • Type

    Marker

  • Subjects

    Historic Cultural Figures

  • City

    Fletcher

  • County

    Henderson

  • Description

    The memorial is one of a series that comprise the “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South.” The plaque for this memorial is attached to a shaft made of irregular sized, roughhewn blocks of granite standing eight feet tall. Other markers in the series have plaques attached to a single large granite boulder; all about the same size but of different shape. Each plaque contains date of birth and death and a statement about the person’s significance to southern culture or in some cases their relationship to Calvary Episcopal Church.

    This marker and another memorial to Bill Nye are installed on the same day in the church yard. They were the first placed in what eventually became the “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South.”

    Images: Far-off view | View of memorials at "Westminster Abbey of the South"

  • Inscription

    IN LOVING MEMORY / OF /EDGAR WILSON NYE / “BILL NYE” / AMERICAN HUMORIST AND FRIEND / BORN IN SHIRLEY, MAINE AUGUST 25, 1850 / DIED AT “BUCK SHOALS” NEAR THIS SPOT FEBRUARY 22, 1896 / ADMITTED TO THE BAR 1876 / HE BELONGED TO THE MASONIC FRATERNITY / A MEMBER OF CALVARY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, FLETCHER N.C. FOR MANY YEARS / HIS BODY IS INTERRED IN YONDER CHURCH YARD / ERECTED 1925

  • Custodian

    Calvary Episcopal Church

  • Dedication Date

    August 24, 1925

  • Decade

    1920s

  • Supporting Sources

      "Westminster Abbey Of South," Spartanburg Herald Journal (Spartanburg, SC) September 24, 1939, Link

      Hicklin, J.B. “Elaborate Abbey To Immortalize South’s Leaders,” Forest City Courier (Forest City, NC), September 24, 1931, (accessed May 27, 2016) Link

      Jenkins, Mark. “Historical Sketch Of Calvary Episcopal Church,” (Calvary Parish, Fletcher, 1959) Link

      Nye, Bill. Bill Nye’s History of the United States, (Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Co, 1894), Archive.org, (accessed June 17, 2016) Link

      “Calvary Church, Fletcher, N.C. Between Asheville and Hendersonville,” in Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (PO77), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Link

      “Edgar Wilson ‘Bill’ Nye,” Find A Grave, http://www.findagrave.com, (accessed June 7, 2016) Link

      “Fletcher Markers,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed May 25, 2016) Link

      “The Bill Nye Memorial,” The Index-Journal (Greenwood, SC), March 4, 1925

      “The Last Tribute To Bill Nye,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch (St. Louis, MO), August 30, 1925

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Bronze, granite

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    A three day celebration culminated in the Bill Nye memorials being dedicated on the 75th anniversary of his birth with many of his children and grandchildren participating in the ceremony. The day’s events also saw the dedication of a Nye Memorial window in the sanctuary and the pew he occupied on Sundays marked with a plaque.

  • Subject Notes

    Edgar Wilson “Bill” Nye was a journalist and one of the main American humorists of the last half of the 19 th century. His newspaper articles were widely read and compiled into numerous published volumes. One of his most well know books is Bill Nye’s History of the United States.

  • Location

    Calvary Episcopal Church is located at 2840 Hendersonville Road at its intersection with Old Airport Road in Fletcher. Eighteen “Open-Air Westminster Abbey of the South” markers stand in two rows in a lawn area to the right of the church facing Old Airport Road. The Robert E. Lee Dixie Highway is located near the street facing Hendersonville Road, a second memorial to Bill Nye is in the church cemetery, near the grave of Bill Nye. The Calvary Church marker stands near the sanctuary.

  • Landscape

    The marker is prominently located in the center of the front lawn.

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