The work to complete the Charters of Freedom display continues in front of the McDowell County Courthouse. County officials said they hope to have a dedication ceremony later this year.
The settings for the Charters of Freedom have been completed and await the installation of the documents. Contractors have also replaced the walkway leading from the city sidewalk to the courthouse and have designed it to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to County Manager Ashley Wooten.
These settings made out of brick will soon display bronze replicas of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
A year ago, the McDowell County Commissioners enthusiastically agreed to accept the donation of a set of monuments displaying the replicas of the nation’s founding documents. Foundation Forward Inc., a private non-profit organization based in Morganton, offered to donate this display to McDowell County at no cost to the county. The only thing expected from the county would be to identify and prepare the site.
In addition to the settings, the contractor hired by the county also removed the flagpole to prepare it for relocation. This flagpole was originally donated by the Rowe family in honor of Master Sgt. Shufford Cline Rowe. On July 4, 1967 a dedication service was held at the county courthouse. The flagpole was dedicated in memory of Rowe’s service to his country during World War II.
The original plaque with Rowe’s name and his biographical information is being restored and will be returned when the project is complete. The flagpole will be placed in the center of the walkway, said Wooten.
The next step is for the McDowell County Veterans Memorial, which was erected in the 1980s, to be restored offsite by Blue Ridge Monuments. When the memorial returns, it will be reoriented to face the flagpole and the Charters of Freedom, according to county officials.
On Tuesday, Blue Ridge Monuments was working to remove the sections of the memorial for restoration.
“The Board is excited to see the improvements to the Courthouse lawn,” said Commission Chairman David Walker. “The completed project will be a tribute and memorial to our freedoms and the people who have fought and died to protect those freedoms.”
The county will conduct a ceremony to unveil and dedicate the work within the next few months, according to Walker.