December 17 HDC Meeting Recap
At its meeting on December 17, the City of Rockville’s Historic District Commission voted 3-1 (with one abstention) in support of moving the Confederate soldier statue from its current location next to the Red Brick Courthouse in downtown Rockville to a site in the Beall-Dawson Museum Park. The Beall-Dawson property has been the home of Montgomery History for the past 50 years, though it is owned by the City of Rockville.
In his testimony, Executive Director Matthew Logan outlined this organization’s position: “Montgomery History’s primary concern throughout this process has been to ensure that an important piece of our past isn’t discarded, warehoused, or moved out of the county. And while the Beall-Dawson property is far from an ideal location for a monument commemorating Confederate soldiers or for such a massive piece of public art, we embrace the opportunity to save and interpret it for the benefit of Montgomery Countians for generations to come.”
Logan urged the HDC to consider two conditions. First, the statue should be oriented to face either the east or west (it has always faced south) to avoid blocking its view with street signs, power lines, and trees. Second, Logan called on the HDC to require that funds be set aside to ensure that the interpretation is done in such a way as to promote understanding of the statue and the complicated history of race relations in the County.
The next step is for the City of Rockville’s mayor and Council to formally accept the donation of the statue. It is anticipated they will vote on this issue at a meeting in early February 2016.