Boulder arrives, but heavy lifting not over
The only high-ranking Civil War general not to have a statue erected in his honor soon will be recognized as his colleagues have been.
Gen. William Rosecrans, born in Kingston Township, served as a U.S. senator, treasurer of the United States and led men successfully into battle during the Civil War. He's also known as the inventor of round wicks for candles.
On Wednesday, July 25, a large glacial boulder was moved into Sunbury's Village Square. The boulder will serve as a base for a bronze equestrian statue of Rosecrans.
The Rosecrans Command Headquarters and the Big Walnut Area Historical Society have been working to raise funds to purchase bricks for a pathway that leads up to the boulder and for the statue.
In the past two years, they have raised $173,000 through fundraising, grants and private donations. They still need $72,500 in order to commission Zanesville artist Alan Cottrill to create a 11/3-scale statue of the general.
A total of $10,000 worth of commemorative bricks have been sold for the walkway leading up to the statue. Those who wish to purchase engraved bricks for the walkway still may do so at the Myers Inn Museum, 45 S. Columbus St.
Janet McKenzie, president of the historical society, said it's about time the initiative to erect a statue is finally coming to fruition.
"We've done well to get to this point and there seems to be an end in sight," she said with a laugh. "Good things take time."
There is a small memorial in honor of the general north of Sunbury on Rosecrans Road. McKenzie said the Rosecrans Command Headquarters has done a great job of upkeep at the memorial and educating people about the historical significance of Rosecrans.
However, the new memorial will be an equestrian statue -- something all other high-ranking Civil War generals have been given, officials said.
Not only will the statue carry historical significance, but the boulder itself has a compelling story.
Chuck Grapes, geologist and member of the historical society, said the glacial boulder was formed by ancient volcanic magma probably more than 2.5 billion years ago.
It then was carried from northern Ontario to central Ohio during the Wisconsin glacial period 110,000 to 10,000 years ago.
Grapes said the boulder weighs 25 tons, making it one of the top five largest glacial erratics in the state of Ohio. He said it is museum-quality and comparable to the boulder in front of the geology museum at Orton Hall on the Ohio State University campus.
"The size of the boulder really distinguishes it, along with the fact that it came down during the last glacial period," McKenzie said.
The boulder was donated to the society in 2010 with the intent that it would be used for the statue.
In order to raise more funds for the statue, the Rosecrans headquarters will hold a garage sale Sept. 15 in the old barn at the Myers Inn.
For more information on the history of Rosecrans or about the statue, visit rosecransheadquarters.org and click on the "statue" tab at the top of the site.