By Gwen Sisson
When thinking about downtown Louisville, one of the key things that always stands out is the monument.
And after 93 years, the monument still holds a special place in the hearts of Louisville residents.
“In the heart of downtownLouisville, the monument represents a tribute to the Confederacy, Spanish-American soldiers and WWI veterans,” said Linda Skelton, director of the Winston County Chamber of Commerce as part of the Winston County Economic Development District Partnership. “People always say that you can’t go anywhere in Winston County without starting at the monument first.”
“To me the Winston County monument is a tribute, as well as a daily reminder, of the debt we owe to our veterans,” said Mike Peterson, president of the Winston County Board of Supervisors. “Particularly those who sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.”
And Louisville Mayor Will Hill said it best, “the monument in downtown Louisville is truly THE landmark of Louisville, Mississippi.”
“Over the past few years we have made efforts to be consistent with the use of our logo,” Hill said. “The current logo for Louisville is on the web, the water tower, banners on the highway and downtown, welcome signs, correspondence, vehicles, etc. and the common and most recognizable feature of the logo is not the font but the silhouette of the monument. Anyone who has lived or visited Louisville recognizes the monument. The traffic flow or traffic laws around the monument may have changed over the years but the monument has remained the same.”
Standing over downtown Louisville, the monument was the first of its kind in the state of Mississippi in honor of the veterans of the Confederacy, Spanish-American War and World War I. Funds were raised and it was agreed the monument would be located on Main Street and Columbus Avenue.
According to historical records, the corner stone was laid July 2, 1921, including the placement of a small metal box with a few items, including a copy of the veteran, the most recent edition of the Winston County Journal and some coins donated by some of the residents present at the small ceremony. The erection of the monument was completed on Wednesday, just in time for the unveiling ceremony.
The grand unveiling was held July 4, 1921 in downtown Louisville, where a special reunion was held for Confederate, Spanish-American and World War I Veterans.
According to historical records, “The Confederate, Spanish-American and World War Reunion held here on the glorious Fourth was a grand success in every particular. One of the largest crowds in the history of the town was present and everything went merry throughout the day, not even the customary shower of rain appeared to dampen the ardor, in fact, a shower would have been welcomed. The predominating feature of the Reunion was the unveiling of the handsome shaft erected on Main Street in memory of the gallant Confederate Soldiers and the young heroes of the Spanish-American and World Wars.”
The day was filled with a parade and a special dinner at the park “where a big dinner was spread for the young soldiers and the large crowd, the aged Veterans being served in the dining hall of the Baptist Church, where they claim to have received the nicest dinner and best attention they have ever enjoyed.”
The crowd present that day was estimated at 3,000 to 4,000 people, many from other towns and counties. According to historical records, “It is generally conceded that this was one of the most successful Reunions and most appropriately celebrated Fourth of July in the history of our county, and will be remembered especially by the old soldiers.