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LETTER: Confederate monument’s removal could risk Square’s status on National Historic Registry

Dear Editor:

Did You Know?

Much of downtown Covington is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and Landmarks, including the Downtown Square Park and Academy Park. 

At the center of the square park is a historic Confederate monument erected in 1906 that features a soldier facing westward, symbolic of the fact that the sun had set on the Confederacy. It was erected in 1906 to honor those that died in the War Between The States. Similar to a headstone, it simply honors those that died, and does not promote slavery in any way.

The entire historic district, both buildings, homes, and open space parks are significant designs in landscape architecture. The Historic Square Park in the center of the downtown commercial square and for Academy Springs Park on the southeastern edge of the historic district are both part of Covington history.

These two parks represent two very different open landscape designs. 

Both parks and the central Square Park monument are each clearly and distinctly listed in the National Historic Register. The Monument is clearly classified as a Historical Object. 

Major changes to the parks or removal of the 1906 Square monument could (by published guidelines of the National Historic Register) risk the entire historic classification of the Covington area to lose its accreditation in the National Register. 

The base of the monument also includes a tribute to women who endured hardship when their husbands and sons never came home from the war and they were forced to run their farms and homes without their help.

Plain and simple: The goal we have is to preserve history. 

You can’t change history by removal of a monument.

During the BLM - Antifa and Atlanta area riots, some county elected commissioners voted in 2020 to remove the monument but gave no reason. two weeks later, they stated that they needed to remove it to protect it. They said they had threats that it would be vandalized. Our many open records request to both county and city came back with zero proof they had received ANY threats to damage the monument. The facts are clear — they lied to the citizens of Newton County. Local law enforcement has protected the monument for 116 years. Today, law enforcement has many, many cameras located all around the Square. So tell me why they want to remove the monument .... to protect it? It is currently being protected 24/7 now. They clearly have another agenda.

These commissioners are using taxpayers money to fight us in court, and want to use taxpayers’ money to hire a crane company to remove the monument. All told, they have already spent over $100,000 thus far in legal fees. Add in another $100,000 should they remove it by hiring a crane company. 

The monument and what it stands for has never been a issue in Newton County until 2015 when one new person to the area began a quest to have it removed.

 Save the monument on the Covington, Ga. Square. Get involved in the fight to preserve local history.

Bill Nash

Newton County business owner