SAVANNAH -- Weekend vandals who left tire tracks on the grass and stones of the Soldiers Stone Monument at Battlefield Memorial Park did as much as $25,000 damage to the memorial at the corner of Louisville Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The monument, which is maintained by the Coastal Heritage Society, includes 800 granite stones that sit atop submerged pylons and represent those who died or were wounded during the Battle of Savannah in 1779 during the American Revolution. The vandals, whose tire tracks cut circles in the grass and on top of the monument, damaged more than 70 stones, 35 of which had to be removed completely.
“The monument doesn’t look like a whole lot from the top, but it was a tedious thing to get done,” said Eric Davenport, senior project manager for Coastal Heritage Society Construction Preservation.
“There is a pylon under each stone, and we had to follow a specific grade to make sure they were all even and on the same elevation,” Davenport said. “We’re going to spend an astonishing amount of time and money trying to get this back to the way it was, and we may never get it back the same way it was.”
Davenport said whoever damaged the monument left behind shards of silver from the rims of the vehicle’s tires, which was most likely a truck. Savannah-Chatham police are reviewing the traffic camera at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard because the monument property isn’t equipped with security cameras. Davenport also has been in contact with surrounding hotels and Parker’s convenience store in hope their cameras might provide more insight into the vandalism that he believes happened late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
He urges anyone with information to come forward.
“We’re trying to repair this as quickly as we can. Any information would be helpful,” said Davenport. “It’s a great space, a lot of people use it and we use it for interpretation to tell the Battle of Savannah. It’s a crucial part of our programming, and it’s unfortunate because we can’t do a good job of telling that story right now.”