General Robert E. Lee Monument Dedication Relic - Inventory Number: CON 083
Original silk monument dedication ribbon depicting the equestrian statue with crossed Confederate and Virginia State flag. Badge is marked on the back with manufacturer and Norfolk, Va. Mounted to an original polished cotton satchel containing cotton and seeds!
The Robert E. Lee Monument was the first and is the largest of Monument Avenue's monuments in Richmond, Virginia. In 1876 the Lee Monument Association commissioned the adaption of a painting done by artist Adalbert Volck into a lithograph. The lithograph, depicting Robert E. Lee on his horse, was the basis for the bronze statue created by French sculptor Antonin Mercié. It was noted in the National Register of Historic Places that "the horse is not a representation of Lee’s famous mount Traveller. The sculptor did not find the size of the actual horse to be in keeping with the overall composition and therefore created an ideal mount with the necessary requirements." The cornerstone was placed on October 27, 1887. The statue was cast in several pieces separately and then the assembled statue was displayed in Paris before it was shipped to Richmond, where it arrived by rail on May 4. Newspaper accounts indicate that 10,000 people helped pull four wagons with the pieces of the monument. The completed statue was unveiled on May 29, 1890. The statue serves as a traffic circle at the intersection of Monument Avenue and Allen Avenue (named after Otway Allen, the developer who donated the land to the association). Lee stands 14 feet high atop his horse and the entire statue is 60 feet tall standing on a stone base.
The site for the statue originally was offered in 1886. Over some opposition, the offer was accepted and later withdrawn when opponents complained that the $20,000 for the Lee Monument was inappropriate because the site was outside the city limit. Richmond City annexed the land in 1892, but bad times economically caused the Lee Monument to stand alone for several years in the middle of a tobacco field before development resumed in the early 1900s.
The Lee Monument is a focal point for Richmond. Most popular online maps depict the "Lee Circle" as the center of Richmond.
Inventory Number: CON 083