2020 being the year of bigger preoccupations, I think most people thought sound judgment would come from the City Council and, instead of removing the Vance Monument, it would simply have the name taken off. The uh-oh moment came when the appointed commission, conspicuously lacking local architects or representatives from historic preservation, came back with an 11-1 suggestion of removal. Obviously, this group was picked with a predetermined outcome in mind.
Growing up in North Carolina, I had a vague idea of Vance as the first governor from the western part of the state, but not being a likeness of him, never equated the obelisk with the person. I doubt the drummers who danced around “the vortex” in the early ’90s did, either. It is just a cool piece of art with roots in antiquity.
Unlike the smooth finish of Washington’s obelisk, ours is rough hewn of local granite designed by Richard Sharp Smith, and now, with the art museum sphere, pays a local tongue-in-cheek homage to the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It would be a shortsighted to destroy it.
Councilwoman Sandra Kilgore’s excellent opinion piece in the Mountain Xpress [“Full Circle: Can Repurposing the Vance Monument Help Heal the Divide in Asheville?” Jan. 27] should be a must-read for anyone deciding the obelisk’s fate.
— Steve Woolum