The Jefferson City Historic Preservation Commission decided Tuesday to recommend a Confederate marker on Moreau Drive not be removed, but instead be better contextualized with future additional markers.
The Sterling Price marker is a large brown stone on a gray stone base, bearing a plaque that reads "Deciding against attack, the Confederate Army under Gen. Sterling Price turned from Jefferson City October 7, 1864."
In 1864, Confederate forces, led by Gen. Sterling Price, planned to attack Jefferson City in order to secure a possible victory and help turn the tide of the war, which at that point was already leaning toward the Union, which eventually won.
The marker was dedicated April 6, 1933, by the Winnie Davis chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Discussion about the marker began at the commission's July meeting and continued Tuesday.
Those who spoke in front of the commission expressed support of leaving the marker as is, but they encouraged additional context or other markers in the area.
Associate City Attorney Bryan Wolford presented the commission with some information regarding the possibility of action taken to move or alter the marker.
The city owns the Sterling Price marker and the land it sits on, meaning the city has the ultimate say in what is done.
While the HPC could make a recommendation of what they believe should be done, the final decision and any action would be made by the Jefferson City Council.
At this time, no decisions have been made regarding the marker by the City Council.
Wolford also spoke to the commission during the public comment period as a resident in opposition of removing or altering the marker.
Cole County History: Gen. Sterling Price's threat to Jefferson City in 1864Read more
Wolford serves as the secretary and treasurer for Camp Lillie of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and is also a member of the Parsons Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
"This historic marker neither glorifies Sterling Price nor does it praise the Confederacy," Wolford said. "Some people seek to remove or alter this historic marker because it simply says 'Confederate.'"
Wolford said instead of removing the marker, the city should make use of the space around the marker to add contextualizing information and other markers, including some for the Union forces, to remember the "battle that never was."
"History is complicated, especially when viewed through modern values and morals," Wolford said. "But it is our history, and it should not be erased. Rather, it should be studied so modern generations can learn the lessons of the past."
Richard Frank, also a member of Camp Lillie, said he was in opposition of the marker being moved, as did Doris Schmutzler and Pete Oetting.
Frank said, while the marker mentions the Confederate forces, it doesn't praise them.
"I'm against doing anything to that monument because, for one thing, it doesn't glorify the Confederacy," Frank said. "It doesn't glorify slavery. It simply states the fact that the Confederate Army was stopped."
Frank said, although it was erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy, the marker could really be looked at as a tribute to the Union forces that prevented the Confederate forces from attacking the city.
Frank and Oetting echoed Wolford's suggestion of adding more context and history around the marker.
Oetting, with the Sons of Union Veterans, said his organization would be willing to work on erecting other monuments or historical information on the site.
"We are against the removal of any war monument or marker," Oetting said. "We would be interested in putting a marker up there for the Union side."
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After hearing the public comments and discussing their options, the commission decided to send a summary of public testimony to the City Council and give the opinion the marker should not be removed, but additional information should be added as time and money allow.
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In other business Tuesday, the commission approved a demolition request for 1560 Bald Hill Road. The commission has to approve demolition reviews for properties older than 50 years.
The home, built in 1952, is too deteriorated for repairs and the homeowner, Chris Billings, plans to build a new structure on the property, according to the demolition review documents.
The commission approved the demolition because the home did not have any specific historical value and was not listed on the National Historic Register.
Also Tuesday, the city staff introduced an upcoming nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
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Document: 2113 W. Main St. National Register nominationView
Staff is preparing a nomination for 2113 West Main St., also known as the Sugarbaker property. The property includes two buildings — a Colonial Revival home built in 1939 and a laboratory built in 1953.
It was purchased by Everett and Geneva Sugarbaker in 1950. The Sugarbaker family was well known in Jefferson City for their community involvement and medical practices.
The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is also currently in talks with the Sugarbaker Foundation to create an all-inclusive park on the property and a new facility for the Special Learning Center.