Sam Ervin, Jr. Statue, Morganton
Alexander M. Hallmark, Blowing Rock, NC, Sculptor
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
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.
Burke County, Historic Burke Foundation, Inc.
April 23, 2007
35.745730 , -81.687280 View in Geobrowse
"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
Cast bronze statue, granite plaques
Morgan Public Arts Committee
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.”
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.
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.
The statue stands on a paved walkway leading to the main entrance to the courthouse building.