Documenting the American South

Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes banner
  • Monument Name

    USS Maine Memorial, Tarboro

  • Type


  • Subjects

    Spanish-American War, 1898

  • Creator

    Charles Keck, Sculptor

    Jno. Williams, Inc., New York, NY, Foundry

  • City


  • County


  • Description

    This tombstone-shaped memorial honors the U.S.S. Maine, which was sunk in Havana Harbor shortly before the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. The memorial has two metal tablets: The upper tablet has a twisted rope border. On the right side is a female figure clothed in a robe, wearing a Phrygian cap, carrying a shield, and her right arm outstretched towards a palm branch. The circular shield has Patriotism and Devotion in a circle of stars surrounding a seal. The seal has the shield of the United States below an eagle clutching arrows in its talons. Below the shield is a laurel branch and an oak leaf branch. In the background of the plaque can be seen the mast and remnants of the sinking Maine. Over 1,000 of these tablets were cast and distributed across the United States. The lower plaque holds an inscription for the memorial’s sponsor.

    Image: Inscriptions

  • Inscription

    Upper plaque: In Memoriam / U.S.S. Maine / Destroyed in Havana Harbor / February 15th 1898 / This tablet cast from metal recovered from the U.S.S. Maine

    Lower plaque: Placed by / John W. Cotten / Camp No. 9 and Auxiliary / United Spanish / War Veterans

  • Dedication Date

    February 15, 1930

  • Decade


  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.900730 , -77.535320 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      “Memorial Tablet Unveiled аt Tarboro,” The News And Observer (Raleigh, NC), February16, 1930

      "U.S.S. Maine Memorial," The Historical Marker Database,, (accessed June 2, 2011) Link

      "USS Maine Monument, Tarboro NC,", (accessed June 24, 2012) Link

      “USS Maine Memorial Plaque,” Naval History аnd Heritage Command,, (accessed December 8, 2021) Link

  • Public Site


  • Materials & Techniques

    The upper tablet is brass, the lower tablet appears to be bronze, granite

  • Sponsors

    The monument was placed by John W. Cotton of Camp No. 9 and Auxiliary United States War Veterans.

  • Subject Notes

    The USS Maine was sent to protect U.S. interests during Cuba's revolt against Spain. She exploded in the Havana harbor unexpectedly and without explanation in February 1898. Inflammatory articles blamed Spain and "Remember the Maine" became a rallying cry during the Spanish-American War.

  • Location

    The memorial is on the right when traveling north on St Andrew Street from the intersection with East Wilson St. inTarboro, NC. It is located in the town common that was established in 1760 by the legislative act which crated the colonial town of Tarboro. Several other memorials are located nearby, including Edgecombe County Confederate Monument and Henry Lawson Wyatt Memorial Fountain.

  • Landscape

    The memorial stands in a large park, Tarboro’s Town Common that is one of two remaining original town commons in the United States, the other one being in Boston.

Icon for reporting missing/incorrect information Know anything else about this monument that isn't mentioned here? If you have additional information on this or any other monument in our collection fill out the form at the Contact Us link in the footer. Thank you.