Historic marker felled by strong wind

Friday, July 29, 2011
The historic marker telling about James Knox Polk's law office here was blown down by strong wind last week. Repair and reposting of the sign is the responsibility of the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

An act of God pushed a historical marker off its post last week, leaving it on the pavement at the southeast corner of Lewisburg's public square, Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett reported this week.

The Tennessee Historical Commission sign was "a casualty of high winds," Liggett said shortly after City Water and Wastewater Department Superintendent Kenneth Carr described the storm as "the Thursday east rain, which is the opposite of what we normally get."

The sign states, "In a building which stood here, James Knox Polk had an office for the practice of law between the time of his relinquishment of the Governorship of Tennessee in 1841 and his election to the Presidency of the United States in 1844."

Polk's home is about two blocks from the Maury County Courthouse in Columbia. As an attorney, he rode a circuit from courthouse to courthouse as he practiced law.

"Some of the ladies (who work in the Marshall County Courthouse Annex) noticed the sign was down," Liggett said. Register of Deeds Dorris Wayne Weaver "got it out of the street."

The thick aluminum sign was leaned against one of the Annex walls near the FedEx and UPS boxes.

Told of that, Carr had one of the water department employees put it in a less public place at the department's shop and on Wednesday. Dale Sanders, a supervisor at the Tennessee Department of Transportation, retrieved the sign and took it to the state garage on Fayetteville Highway in Belfast.

TDOT has the responsibility of placing and maintaining the signs, according to Linda T. Wynn, assistant director for state programs at the Tennessee Historical Commission's offices in Nashville. She provided the following information about the sign.

This marker was originally placed as a wall marker on US 31 A, Lewisburg, on the front of First National Bank Building, on the Public Square in mid-1955. It was replaced in mid-1987 as a post-mounted marker.

In 1955, the marker's cost was $65.72. By 1987 the cost had risen to $900. If the marker has to be replaced today, the cost would be $1,475.

In 1996, the Tennessee Historical Commission published the Tennessee Historical Markers Guide. It's available for $3 from the THC at 2941 Lebanon Road, Nashville, TN 37214. Checks should made payable to: The Treasurer, State of Tennessee.