Harnett Obelisk (Sculpture)

The monument in the photograph above is in the median of Market Street at its intersection with 4th Street in the town of Wilmington, North Carolina. It is officially referred to as the “Harnett Obelisk, (sculpture)” in the Arts Inventory Catalog of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. 1 It is a monument in the style of the Washington Monument which stands five hundred fifty-five feet, five and one-eigth inches [555′ 5-1/8″] tall. By comparison,, this monument, including the base and obelisk, has a total height of 28 feet 10 inches tall. Except for the size, the two monuments appear similar in shape. The Washington monument has been described as resembling ” . . . an unadorned Egyptian obelisk with a pointed pyramidion.” 2.

Directly behind the monument is the back side of a building of St. James Church that is along 4th Street. The grave of Harnett is there but cannot be seen in this photograph.. To the far right in the photograph the parapet of the main church building of St. James Parrish can be seen. St. James Church is an Episcopal church that fronts on 3rd street.

The cornerstone for this monument was laid April 1906, erected by the North Carolina Society of Colonial Dames in honor of Cornelius Harnett and installed November 1906. The address by Professor Alphonzo Smith on the occasion of this event is outstanding.  It is adorned with inscriptions on four sides of the embossed area that extends upward from the base a distance that appears to be about seven or eight feet in height.

The inscriptions are not easy to read unless one is close to the monument. On the left below is a photograph taken of the inscription for Harnett on the north side of the monument and to the right is a reprint.

From left to right below, on the south, east and west sides of the monument, the following inscriptions appear:

1. Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS), Web, http://siris-artinventories.si.edu/ipac20/ipac.jspsession=E3090396L90J6.33748&menu=search&aspect=Keyword&npp=50&ipp=20&spp=20&profile=ariall&ri=&term=&index=.GW&aspect=Keyword&term=&index=.AW&term=harnett+obelisk%2C+%28sculpture%29&index=.TW&term=&index=.SW&term=&index=.FW&term=&index=.OW&term=&index=.NW&x=9&y=6#focus

2. Washington, DC, A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, web site at http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/wash/dc72.htm

Additional Resource. Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina. Link.

  1. 1 []
  2. 2 []

Comments are closed.