The largest Civil War monument in the mountain state weighs 44 tons and reaches 24 feet into the sky.
Yet it is seldom seen by anyone, because of its present obscure location.
But that’s about to change.
The Soldiers And Sailors Monument is about to go back home to downtown Wheeling.
The hilltop near the gazebo at Wheeling Park is pretty remote.
It provides the Soldiers and Sailors Monument with a beautiful background.
“But it has been vandalized through the years,” pointed out Margaret Brennan, Wheeling historian. “There’s no security.”
It started out life in the downtown area, outside the original Wheeling City-County building.
But the building was torn down, so the monument was moved to the Linsly School.
“And then the road came along, and it had to be moved again,” said Brennan.
So they moved it to the park.
But the city workers didn’t do the best job.
They switched the soldier and the sailor to the wrong sides of the statue!
“And that drives historians crazy,” noted Brennan.
The soldier and the sailor each lost part of a boot.
The soldier lost his gun.
And Lady Liberty, on top of the statue, lost her sword.
She now just holds the handle.
“This massive statue has been through so much,” said Brennan.
For 58 year, it’s been like this.
But now there’s a movement to bring the monument home.
In 1883, when the statue was unveiled, Wheeling was the capital of West Virginia.
So its new home will be the spot where West Virginia became a state.
“It’s where people will see it and where it will enhance West Virginia Independence Hall,” Brennan said.
It will cost $75,000 to move the statue about five miles.
They’ll bring in a conservator to oversee the move and restore the missing parts.
Then the Soldiers and Sailors Monument will be home.
They’re holding a fund-raiser, lecture and auction at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 6, at the First State Capitol Building in Wheeling.
For more information, call (304) 238-1300.