Edgar Allan Poe monument to be relocated on Capitol Square

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — If you’ve been by the Virginia State Capitol lately, you’ve likely noticed all the construction and demolition.

Several projects are underway.

Right now, the Capitol building is surrounded by metal. The bleachers and barricades are already in place for the Jan. 13 inauguration.

Not far from there, the General Assembly building is still in the process of being demolished. Crews are working to get rid of it while preserving the historic facade.

But the most recent change to come to the Square was announced Friday.

The Edgar Allan Poe monument is being moved to the northwest corner of the Square, close to the General Assembly Building. Currently, it’s near the Bell Tower.

The monument, dedicated to the writer and poet who grew up in Richmond, has been on display for nearly six decades.

George Edward Barksdale, a retired physician who greatly admired Poe, approached Governor Thomas Stanley in 1956 with the idea of erecting a monument to Poe and offered to pay for the statue if the Commonwealth would fund a pedestal and installation. The General Assembly accepted the gift, and the Poe monument was unveiled on Oct. 7, 1959.

The tribute to Poe will be relocated due to the construction of two new monuments.

The first is Mantle, the Virginia Indian Tribute. That project should be complete by the end of December.

The other project is the planned Virginia Women’s Monument, Voices from the Garden. Groundbreaking is expected in early December and the plaza should be finished by 2019.Justin Gunther, an architectural historian with the Capitol Square Preservation Council, said it didn’t make sense to keep Poe where he was.

“We were concerned about Poe because the scale of these two new monuments is quite large in comparison to the smaller size of Poe,” said Gunther.

Gunther said, in its new spot, Poe will stand out.

The move will be completed by Fine Arts Specialists. The company specializes in art relocation and has worked on other projects on Capitol Square, including the mounting of the Thomas Jefferson statue inside the Virginia Capitol extension.

Gunther said all of the monuments on Capitol Square — new or old — help expand the dialogue on important Virginians and their past.

“We have this wonderful collection of outdoor sculpture here on the Square to appreciate and to learn about all of Virginia’s 400 years of exceptional history,” he said.

The Poe monument will be moved Monday or Tuesday.

Watch the video above to learn the romantic reason historians believe the Poe monument was placed in its current location.

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