The Charters of Freedom monument at Yowell Meadow Park is gaining traction.
Originally conceived in late 2016 by the Sons of the American Revolution, the monument has evolved into a two-pronged approach - using a granite monument from the SAR and the Charters of Freedom display that is growing across the nation.
The donation of the monument to the town was approved by Town Council in January of this year, after it had originally come to the public safety/public works planning and community development committee in September of 2017, said town councilman and SAR member Keith Price. At that time, the monument consisted just of the granite boulder, but council requested more elements be added to the monument -and that’s when Price learned about the Charters of Freedom.
“I realized the Charters of Freedom display that I saw at our courthouse in North Carolina, wasn’t just a ‘one off',” Price said. “My sister mentioned to me they were going to put one in a neighboring community. I then realized it was part of a larger project.”
The Charters of Freedom recreated the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and the Bill of Rights and display them in cases in 26 localities throughout the U.S. The project is growing, as two more will be added by the end of the year and another 27 completed by next year.
The Charters of Freedom Foundation Forward pays for the base cost of the materials, which appealed to the SAR has it would help add the additional elements needed without breaking the bank.
Mike Unruh, Communications and Resources of Charters of Freedom, said the foundation has been impressed by the response of communities adding the display to their areas.
“We’re honored by the level of patriotism across the country, it’s been phenomenal,” Unruh said.
The Culpeper monument would be the first one in Virginia. Monuments have been placed as far north as Clark, S.D. and as far west as Carson City, Nev.
The purpose of the display is to give residents an opportunity to see the documents that founded the nation - in their own backyard.
“Our motto is education, access and community,” Unruh said. “The primary part of that is education. We want this to be used as an educational supplement for school children.”
Unruh and the foundation will be fundraising in Culpeper to help fund the project and part of the money raised through donations will be used to provide buses or handicap accessible vans for veterans.
Price said the monument is about a year out from fruition.
“We are looking at a dedication date for next October to tie in with Virginia revolutionary history, the anniversary of the Battle of Hampton,” Price said. “Which gives us the rest of this year, spring and summer to get all the construction details worked out. And to get into the Charters of Freedom’s fast and packed production schedule.”
The total cost of the project is $33,845 with the Sons of the American Revolution paying $16,115. The town will pay $17,730 to pave the nearly 1,500 square foot area - a 30-foot diameter circle - reinforce concrete footers, add access sidewalks and to provide benches and landscaping.
The SAR’s donation will include the historical panels needed for the Charters of Freedom Monument - replicas of the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Virginia Mist has already agreed to donate the granite boulder, Price said.
“Once we looked at the charter’s part - I have to tip my cap to Charles Rapp in the planning department - he approached Virginia Mist about donating some additional granite for the cap pieces of the charter display,” he said. “It ties in all very nicely together.”
Charters of Freedom will use local materials and local contractors.
“If there are any local contractors that would like to help on this project, they will be recognized on a donor’s plaque that will be attached to the setting,” Unruh said.
For more information about the Charters of Freedom or to donate to the project, visit www.ChartersofFreedom.com.