Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yes, Something Is Definitely Missing

After my last post I did receive many comments, which I published, and a number from friends verbally.  To you all, I say thank you.

Other than the comments idea, I have really noticed that something is indeed missing from downtown.  I have asked some friends about it and they agree, it IS missing.  It is not something that we all knew where it was and now it is gone, but something that has not been there for more than a century.

I have been drawn to the Courthouse Square for as long as I have been working downtown.  There is something about it that just keeps bringing me back.  I think that it is the monuments and the people that they represent that start to bring history alive for me.  The trees and the fountains(even when they didn't work) helped make the place livable and though they are now gone I still go back for the history.

It was November of 1887 that the people of Lexington unveiled a statue honoring John C. Breckinridge, the youngest Vice-President in American history.  He was placed right in the middle of Cheapside, whether it be a park or a parking lot, and only recently was moved to make way for the pavilion.

October of 1911 saw the displaying of the statue honoring Gen. John Hunt Morgan and whether or not you can get past the anatomically inaccurate depiction of his steed "Bess", it is still a grand statue.  It proudly sits on the courthouse lawn just a few blocks from the family home and hails the love which he had for the Southern cause.

Elsewhere around town, there are other signs and plaques which tell the tales concerning these two men.

Now, I ask you, with the newly opened Henry Clay Public House overlooking the old court house and the restored Henry Clay law office just up Mill Street, and the former location of the Henry Clay High School about a mile out Richmond Road, and the legendary "Ashland estate" even farther out, are we not missing something?

This city has made a big deal about Henry Clay and everything connected with him for a good long time, yet the one public statue that we have of him is stuck in the cemetery, high on a pedestal, where nobody can appreciate it.  Why is that?

This whole idea struck me when I saw this photo a few weeks ago.  How does New Orleans have a Henry Clay statue at ground level and we don't?  How could they have had one since 1890 and we don't?

I really do think that something is missing.


Aaron German said...

When I first got to town, the tall statue in the cemetery did catch my attention whenever I saw it. After some time, I decided to go see what and where that statue was, which of course led me to the cemetery. So there is something to be said for the statue on the pedestal. It's just too bad that the beautiful cemetery grounds could be used as a park for picnicking and playing in the grass.

Streetsweeper said...

Aaron, The cemetery statue will catch anybody's eye - when they see it. My premise is that such statues of our most prominent citizens should be in more accessible areas and that everybody should see them.

I also disagree with your ideas for cemeteries as they are sacred places. Showing respect for the dead does not include active recreation nor alfresco dining.

Aaron German said...

I've not done the math. Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure if we respect all the dead in places designed not to be used for the living of life, we'd eventually run out of space to live in. This makes me think we ought to rethink your idea of what respect for the dead entails.

About the statues, I think you've got a good point. Though I guess I ought to worry about too many statues too.

Lex Streetsweeper said...

Aaron, My thoughts on respect for the dead come directly from the scriptures of the Books of Moses, you may call them the Old Testament, but they have been around for a long time. Just like pausing in silence for a funeral procession to go by. So few folks do that these days.