Flossie wants to show you a monument that has been seen on the streets of Bath since 1924. It was a big job and a long time in the making! The North Carolina Historical Commission and the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners presented the Bath Historical Society with a bronze plaque commemorating the founding and incorporation of Bath. It seems the original intent was to mount the plaque at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, but for some reason, that installation never happened.
Several years went by and Flossie doesn’t know where the plaque stayed in the meantime. The town needed a monument on which to display the plaque! Mr. and Mrs. Timothy A. Brooks and Miss Lida T. Rodman traveled to the Neverson Quarry near Raleigh to select stones. They were very heavy stones – two were chosen – the base weighed 16,000 pounds! The top stone weighed 12,000 pounds. After the stones were shipped by train to Bunyan (about 10 miles west of Bath) it became a real challenge to get them the rest of the way to town. The bumpy road that the truck and trailer had to ride caused both stones to bounce out of the trailer! Surry Bowen of Pinetown sent equipment to help reload the boulders. Once they arrived at the Bath bridge, there was some worry that the wooden bridge couldn’t withstand the weight of the stones. Mr. Brooks used heavy wooden beams from his lumber mill to brace the bridge.
Whew! The monument was finally erected and was placed in the center of Carteret Street/Main Street intersection. An unveiling celebration was held on June 19, 1924. About 4,000 people attended the ceremony. Men barbequed 32 pigs all night to get ready. School children raised money to help with other food costs; they raised $150 but only $50 was needed for the lunch, so extra money was donated to the Bath Elementary School library for books. The two girls who tied in raising the most money were able to unveil the marker. The picture below shows the brand new marker with Mary Arcadia Tankard on the left and Helen Waters on the right. Their mothers or someone else made Colonial style costumes for them to wear for the occasion.
In 1960, the marker was moved back from its original location; it was pushed back onto North Main Street’s entrance due to the new bridge and widening of the road to allow for the paving of Highway 92 through Bath. Flossie wants to thank Dr. Alan Watson for capturing this and much more information in his book Bath: The First Town in North Carolina, with a chapter of Bath’s 20th century history contributed by Bea Latham and Patricia Samford.