Mapping Historical Memory
"Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina" offers an inventory of the state’s monuments, shrines, and commemorative public art. Contemporary residents move through a landscape that is graced with hundreds and hundreds of historical memorials, often without being aware of how the memorials came into being. In recent years the commemorative landscape of North Carolina has been the focus of interest and controversy. One aim of this site is to provide the citizens of North Carolina with resources to understand the landscape they have inherited and to make informed decisions about its future.
Every monument has a history: someone decided to memorialize an event or a figure; someone raised money for the memorial, designed it, and identified a location for it; someone dedicated the monument; and someone has maintained the monument. Each stage in the life of a monument tells us something about the community where the monument stands. Whether by exploring the history of a single monument or of many monuments in a locale or across North Carolina, we can learn what North Carolinians have chosen to remember and celebrate at different moments in time. We can also explore what parts of their history they have chosen to ignore, suppress, or forget. And we can explore who has had and who has not had a hand in deciding how and what public spaces have been used to celebrate events and people of the past
This digital collection contains information on roughly 1000 historical monuments scattered across the breadth of North Carolina. It does not claim to be definitive. It does not include state highway markers or historic homes sites. Its exclusive focus is on pieces of public art that either were intended to have or have acquired historical associations.
Beyond rudimentary details about the location, creation, and subject matter of each monument, this inventory, whenever possible, includes links to a wide variety of resources – postcards, photographs, printed publications, newspapers clippings, and manuscript materials – that enable visitors to explore the history of each monument in greater detail.
This site has benefited greatly from the comments of visitors. Genealogists have informed us when we misspelled names. Other users have alerted us to new monuments, memorials we missed, or developments regarding extant monuments. We are grateful for any information that users share with us and encourage visitors to continue to help us enrich and improve this resource.
"Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina" is part of the digital publishing program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library. It is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina.