Sections of the Hugh Chatham Memorial Bridge will come to life again at Jonesville’s historic Mineral Spring Memorial Park.
The park, located between Mineral Spring Drive and River Road in Jonesville, features a mineral spring, historic stack-rock wall made by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, and a work-in-progress military monument made from sections of cement railings from Hugh Chatham Memorial Bridge.
During the Revolutionary War, patriot soldiers were believed to be garrisoned at this site to watch for British troops using the Yadkin River as a route for foraging supplies and searching for patriot forces.
The memorial monument will honor these early patriots from the Yadkin Valley, and specifically the areas that became Surry, Yadkin and Wilkes counties. It will also honor veterans of all war eras through the present.
Each side of each bridge railing will have a list of veterans’ names from the tri-county area affixed to it. The memorial currently has five sections of bridge railings, and each will mark a different era. “We anticipate that we can affix thousands of names of men and women who have served since the Revolutionary War through present times,” said Judy Wolf, Jonesville historical society chair. “We’ve already collected over 3,000 names from Internet sources and from individuals.”
The park will not only be a memorial for veterans, but also a tribute to the history and heritage of Jonesville. Wolf said there are many significant aspects to the park. “One of the reasons these Hugh Chatham Memorial Bridge railings are significant is because Chatham Manufacturing always respected those who served,” she said. “It’s also appropriate because you can actually hear the river from the site; the river that these railings once stood over. It truly represents this community.”
The property was donated by John Wesley and Charles Mathis of Jonesville.
“Will Gwyn and Greenhill Environmental have been most generous,” Wolf said. “Will Gwyn’s great great grandfather was one of the first residents in Jonesville before heading across the river, which makes his contributions that much more special.”
Volunteers, such as members of Jonesville’s Latter Day Saints, have been a big help in clearing the area, she said.
Members of the Jonesville Historical Society hope the rest of the project can be funded through grants and donations and ready for the public by this fall. Donations are graciously accepted by Jonesville Historical Society as well as names to be included on the markers. For more information, send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Darcie Dyer at 835-1513 or email@example.com.