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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Sam Ervin, Jr. Statue, Morganton

  • Type

    Statue

  • Subjects

    Historic Political Figures

  • Creator

    Alexander M. Hallmark, Blowing Rock, NC, Sculptor

  • City

    Morganton

  • County

    Burke

  • Description

    The memorial to Senator Sam Ervin, Jr. is a life size bronze statue. Ervin is shown with a smile on his face and wearing a suit and tie. His proper left hand is in his pants pocket while the right hand is holding a partially open book with one finger inserted inside. The statue stands on a concrete courtyard just to the right of the south side entrance into the Historic Morganton County Courthouse. A broad walkway leads from the street to the courtyard. Laid into the walkway are two stone plaques with quotes from Irvin and a brief biography. Flanking the walk on both sides is a memorial Rose Garden to Robert “Bob” Byrd.

    Images: Close-up view of the statue | View of the statue and rose garden | Far-off view | Sidewalk plaque | Sidewalk plaque with biography | Rear view of the statue | Byrd Rose Garden plaque

  • Inscription

    Sidewalk biography and quotes plaque, center: SENATOR / SAM ERVIN, JR. / SERVED IN WORLD WAR I AND AWARDED PURPLE HEART, / SILVER STAR AND DISTINGUISED SERVICE CROSS / STATE REPRESENTATIVE, SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE, / UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE, ASSOCIATE / JUSTICE OF NORTH CAROLINA SUPREME COURT, / UNITED STATES SENATOR, CHAIRMAN OF / THE SENATE WATERGATE COMMITTEE / BORN SEPTEMBER 27, 1896 / DIED APRIL 23, 1985

    West side: “I BELIEVE IN CLINGING TO THE TRIED AND TRUE / LANDMARKS OF THE PAST, BUT I AM WILLING / TO TEST THE SOUNDNESS OF NEW IDEAS.”

    North side: “IF THE GOOD LORD HAS MADE US SO THAT WE / COULD HAVE HINDSIGHT IN ADVANCE, A GREAT / MANY OF OUR ERRORS WOULD BE AVOIDED.”

    East side: “I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT THE MOST / PRECIOUS VALUE OF CIVILIZATION IS THE / FREEDOM OF THE INDIVIDUAL.”

    South side: “LIBERTY REVEALS HERSELF IN A THREEFOLD / GUISE AS ECONOMIC LIBERTY, POLITICAL / LIBERTY, AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.”

    Sidewalk plaque #2: “OUR GREATEST / POSSESSION IS NOT THE VAST / DOMAIN, IT’S NOT OUR BEAUTIFUL / MOUNTAINS, OR OUR FERTILE PRAIRIES, OR / OUR MAGNIFICENT COASTLINE. IT’S NOT THE MIGHT / OF OUR ARMY OR NAVY. THESE THINGS ARE OF GREAT / IMPORTANCE. BUT IN MY JUDGEMENT THE GREATEST / AND MOST PRECIOUS POSSESSION OF THE / AMERICAN PEOPLE IS THE / CONSTITUTION.” / SAM ERVIN, JR.

    Rose Garden plaque: ROBERT E. BYRD / (1930-202) / THESE ROSES ARE PLANTED / IN MEMORY OF BOB BYRD TO RECOGNIZE HIS / LIFETIME OF GIVING AND SHARING WITH OTHERS. / ATTORNEYS OF BYRD, BYRD, / ERVIN, WHISNANT & MCMAHON, P.A.

  • Custodian

    Burke County, Historic Burke Foundation, Inc.

  • Dedication Date

    April 23, 2007

  • Decade

    2000s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.745730 , -81.687280 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Senator Sam Ervin, Jr." Sculpture By Alex Hallmark, www.alexhallmark.co, (accessed December 11, 2016) Link

      Ducey, Mitchell F. “Ervin, Samuel James, Jr.,” NCPedia.org, (accessed December 11, 2016) Link

      Huffman, Todd. “Watergate Hero, Country Lawyer Died 22 Years Ago Monday,” The News Herald (Morganton, NC), April 24, 2007, 1, 3

      Young, Marcie. “Morganton Honors Native Son Ervin,” Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), April 24, 2007

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Cast bronze statue, granite plaques

  • Sponsors

    Morgan Public Arts Committee

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    200 family members and admirers were in attendance for the dedication and unveiling ceremony. Judge William Creech, a former aide to Ervin, spoke along with Ervin’s son Jimmy and former NC Secretary of State Rufus Edmundson. Mayor Mel Cohen commented on the Watergate Committees investigation into President Richard Nixon’s involvement in illegal campaign activities. “During those times, he wasn’t just a country lawyer; he was our country’s lawyer,” Cohen said. He also added that “… Senator Sam would not find much in Washington to be proud of these days. The actions there have caused many in the country to lose faith in the system that he loved so much.”

  • Subject Notes

    Sam Ervin, Jr. was a United States Senator for 20 years who gained prominence in the early 1970’s as chairman of the Senate’s Watergate Committee. Ervin was also a highly decorated World War I soldier and Harvard Law School graduate.

  • Location

    The statue is located on the south side of the Historic Burke County Courthouse, which is located at 102 East Union Street, Morganton, NC. The Burke County Confederate Monument stands on the northwest corner of the courthouse grounds and the Burke County Charters of Freedom Memorial is located on the east side of the courthouse which now houses the Historic Burke Foundation, Heritage Museum, and the Visitor Information Center.

  • Landscape

    The statue stands on a paved walkway leading to the main entrance to the courthouse building.

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