ELK GARDEN, Va. — If a move under way in Russell County is successful, any unwanted Confederate monument or statue in Richmond will have a new home.
The Ratcliffe Foundation, which operates the historic Ellenbrook home (known as Number 4) near Lebanon in Elk Garden, has written the Richmond City Council expressing an interest in obtaining the statues and monuments that have been recently removed.
Sam Varney is secretary/treasurer of the foundation and serves, along with this wife, as caretakers at Ellenbrook, said the offer has been made to give those historic artifacts a new home at the Ellenbrook Museum.
The Ellenbrook estate is the historic home of William Alexander Stuart, founder of the Stuart Land & Cattle Company. Construction of the home was completed in 1858.
Stuart was the brother of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart.
Ellenbrook offers a mini museum, which displays artifacts, memorabilia, photos, and articles associated with the Stuart family.
Varney said Ellenbrook has 5,000 acres of land so there is plenty of room for the monuments.
“We don’t know how many there may be,” he said. “We are willing to accept as many as we can hold.”
The cost of moving them to Ellenbrook and taking care of them is not an issue, he said.
“Someone is willing to pay the costs and keeping them here,” he said.
Varney said Ellenbrook would relinquish any hold on the monuments if the city wants them back at some point.
“They can go back to the original owners if things change,” he said. “We are willing to put them on our property and take care of them.”
Not only would it help preserve the monuments but also give the public an opportunity to see them all in one place, and that means a tourist destination.
“We are an hour or less in driving distance of four other states,” he said. “It would be a tourist draw.”
That fact, as well as the desire to preserve the monuments, has not been lost on nearby Buchanan County leaders.
The board of supervisors has passed a resolution supporting the initiative.
The City of Richmond has, as part of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, removed its Confederate monuments and statues, except for the A.P. Hill and Robert E. Lee monuments, which have been tied up court action.
Work to remove the Confederate tributes in Richmond started on July 1, which is the day a new state law took effect allowing local authorities control over war memorials on their property.
Among the figures already removed are statues of Gens. J.E.B. Stuart and Stonewall Jackson.
The Philip E. and Carole R. Ratcliffe Foundation operates as a charitable organization designed to encourage and reward entrepreneurship, create jobs and expand economic opportunity. Based in Annapolis Maryland, the Ratcliffe Foundation provides funds to institutions to encourage entrepreneurship in non-traditional business fields such as the arts, design, health care, environmental science, aquaculture and skilled trades.
— Contact Charles Boothe at email@example.com