Buncombe County Charters of Freedom, Asheville
The Charters of Freedom monument replicates the display for the Declaration of Independence,
U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights as they are done at the National Archives in Washington,
D.C. The three displays exhibit the Declaration of Independence on the left, the Constitution
(four pages) in the center and the Bill of Rights on the right. The center display measures 12’ x
4’ x 3.5’ to 4.5’ and the side displays measure 4’ x 4’ x 3.5’ to 4.5’. The rear of the left display
has a Charters of Freedom information plaque and the right rear display contains a dedication
plaque. The rear of the center display holds a time capsule with a description plaque. There are
two small plaques on the front edge of the center monument – one says “We The People,” and
the other lists the names of the North Carolina Representatives who signed the Constitution;
John Penn, Joseph Hewes and William Hooper. These are raised lettering to allow school
children to do rubbings. Incised in the stone on each display is its name; DECLARATION OF
INDEPENDENCE, UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, BILL OF RIGHTS. The center display has the
Charters of Freedom seal on a front panel. The granite and glass displays were built to last 300-
500 years. The time capsule at this monument along with others in North Carolina and across
the country will be opened concurrently on September 17, 2087 – the 300th Anniversary of the
Images:Images (courtesy of Foundation Forward, Inc., http://www.chartersoffreedom.com): Far-off view | Information plaque | Time capsule plaque | U.S. Constitution display
Dedication Plaque: THE CHARTERS OF FREEDOM / GIFTED BY THE PATTERSONS / VANCE AND
MARY JO, CODY, MATT, MEGAN, DEVIN / TO THE CITIZENS OF BUNCOMBE COUNTY, NORTH
CAROLINA / ON MAY 22, 2015
“…WHEREVER THE PEOPLE ARE WELL INFORMED THEY / CAN BE TRUSTED WITH THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT” / - THOMAS JEFFERSON – 1789
“… A PEOPLE WHO MEAN TO BE THEIR OWN / GOVERNORS, MUST ARM THEMSELVES WITH THE / POWER KNOWLEDGE GIVES.” - / JAMES MADISON – 1822
“YOU CANNOT CONTROL WHAT YOU DO NOT / UNDERSTAND.” – VANCE PATTERSON – 2013
Information Plaque: THE CHARTERS OF FREEDOM / THE ORIGINAL CHARTERS OF FREEDOM ARE ON / DISPLAY IN THE ROTUNDA AT THE NATIONAL / ARCHIVES IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE WAS / ADOPTED ON JULY 4, 1776
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION WAS ADOPTED / SEPTEMBER 17, 1787, RATIFIED IN 1788, AND / WENT INTO EFFECT MARCH4, 1788
THE BILL OF RIGHTS WAS PROPOSED SEPTEMBER / 25, 1789, AS 12 AMENDMENTS; TEN WERE / RATIFIED DECEMBER 15, 1791. THE REMAINING / TWO WERE NOT RATIFIED BUT APPEAR ON THE / ORIGINAL DOCUMENT. THESE FIRST TEN / AMENDMENTS RATIFIED ARE OUR BILL OF RIGHTS.
Time Capsule Plaque: THE CHARTERS OF FREEDOM / TIME CAPSULE / TO BE OPENED ON / CONSTITUTION DAY / SEPTEMBER 17, 2087 / TO CELEBRATE THE / 300TH ANNIVERSARY ADOPTION OF / THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
The Children and Citizens of Buncombe County, North Carolina
May 25, 2015
35.595780 , -82.548900 View in Geobrowse
“Asheville, North Carolina – Buncombe County,” Charters of Freedom, Foundation Forward, Inc., http://www.chartersoffreedom.com, (accessed July 7, 2016) Link
“Local Students Visit the Charters of Freedom Monument,” Asheville.com News (Asheville, NC), March 23, 2016
“The Charters of Freedom,” National Archives and Records, www.archives.gov, (accessed July 25, 2016) Link
Concrete, granite, bronze
Vance Patterson and family
Although the dedication plaque is dated May 22, 2015 the formal ceremony was held on May 25, 2015
Bronze documents: Tragart Bronze Company, Champaign, Illinois. Granite panels: Goldsprings Granite, Minnesota. Glass: Ace Glass, Columbia, SC. Bronze Plaque: Burke Memorial Park, Morganton, NC. Monument foundation: Suttlemyre Construction
The foundation is reinforced, poured concrete. The structures are reinforced, poured concrete covered with four inch thick polished granite. Each of the six documents is one quarter inch thick etched bronze weighing over 60 pounds.
Charters of Freedom Monuments are being placed across the United States by Foundation Forward, Inc. The foundation’s goal is to provide educational resources to children and citizens in the communities in which Charters of Freedom have been placed. The idea that evolved into Foundation Forward began on May 3, 2012 while Vance and Mary Jo Patterson were attending the National Day of Prayer meeting being held at the on the Old Burke County Courthouse Green in Morganton. The idea came to Mr. Patterson to try and duplicate his experiences when he and his wife had viewed the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights on a visit to the National Archives. He determined to bring that experience to the citizens of Burke County. The first monument was dedicated on July 2, 2014 at the Old Burke County Courthouse. Several dozen additional monuments have since been placed or are planned across North Carolina and in at least nine other states. Among already dedicated Charters of Freedom monuments are memorial complexes in Burke and Cherokee counties.
The memorial is located near the intersection of College Street (U.S. 74) and Court House Plaza on the right when traveling east on College Street. It stands on Roger McGuire Green, at the northeast corner of the Pack Square Park next to the Western North Carolina Veterans Memorial. In the immediate area of the old Buncombe County Courthouse there are other notable plaques, monuments and memorials: 60th North Carolina Regiment, Revolutionary War, Spanish American and other wars, Police and Firemen who died in the line of duty, Medal of Honor recipient Lt. Colonel Robert Morgan and former Governor Samuel Ashe for whom Asheville was named. Several hundred yards to the west stands the monument to Zebulon Vance and several other small markers.
The monument is an educational resource for local schools, patriotic and religious celebrations and thoughtful contemplation.