The Texas Historical Commission (THC) executive committee unanimously approved plans to relocate the Confederate monument to the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, calling the plans a “model” for the state on Wednesday.
“Judge, I’d like to thank you for your leadership, not only living up to the agreement but helping us frame the agreement,” said THC Chairman John L. Nau, III. “It is a first and, I’m certain, it won’t be the last. And you all are the model. This is me personally. I think, on behalf of the commission, I want to thank you, the Commissioners Court.”
The committee also suggested the county invite executive members to the ribbon cutting once the installation is complete.
“We are very fortunate that we have a professional staff that has an eye for the long-term preservation of our artifacts, this and many others,” said Denton County Judge Andy Eads. “This is just a great partnership between the local elected officials, our community advocates, the THC and our staff. We wanted to do the right thing, the right way.
“I do not believe we’d have this artifact today if we did not take the action we did collectively last year,” Judge Eads said. “We are in the business of historic preservation. Part of that is preserving our artifacts. And, I think the appropriate and timely actions taken by the THC in conjunction with the Commissioners Court preserved this artifact for future generations. That is what we are all about. I think this new home and new location just still on the Denton County Square but indoors is a great new location.”
The installation of the permanent exhibit at the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum is anticipated within the next six months.
“Although the Confederate Statue relocation and contextual additions have taken time, it’s been well worth it,” said John Baines, member of the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Art Committee. “The committee has worked together to come up with what we think is the best thing for Denton County and the memorial.
“We submitted a proposal to the state of Texas on the relocation and contextual additions and we were pleasantly surprised at the state’s acceptance, appreciation and the glowing words regarding our submission,” Mr. Baines said. “This is a testament to the county leadership and the committee they selected. I’m glad to be a part of the Denton community and work on projects such as this.”
The Denton County Commissioners Court approved a resolution on June 9, 2020, to execute a State Antiquities Code Permit Application to remove and relocate the Confederate Monument from its current location for the purpose of interpretation. On June 17, 2020, the Texas Historical Commission, Denton County agreed to resubmit the permit application to address Texas Historical Commission members’ specifications regarding reinstallation of the monument. A new application was submitted to the THC on June 18, 2020.
The THC specifications included:
- Working with the executive committee on the location of the reinstalled memorial
- Description of the history of slavery in America and its causal impact on the Civil War
- Description of the African American experience as that experience related to the legacy of the Civil War at the time of the memorial’s initial construction in 1918.
- Asking the county to consent to the continuing jurisdiction of the THC for the administration of the permit.
On June 25, 2020, Denton County retained the services of a professional fine arts moving company to remove and relocate the monument. It has remained in climate-controlled storage owned by the county since then.
The monument, in its entirety, measures 18 feet, 54 inches in height. The ceiling height for the Courthouse-on-the-Square is 12 feet, 8 inches. As a result, a permanent exhibit inside the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum will feature the statue of the soldier and two engraved tablets from the original monument.
The exhibit will be surrounded on three sides by a 3-D version of the Confederate monument where it was once located on the Courthouse-on-the-Square lawn. In addition, a narrative will explain the history of the monument as well as the history of slavery statewide and locally. A kiosk at the exhibit will also feature videos including narrators from the committee on everything from the removal of the monument to the history of slavery in America to the African American experience during the Jim Crow era to the history of the United Daughters of The Confederacy and Confederate monuments.