On August 14, 1900, cloaked in darkness, a group of Elberton citizens toppled the town's Civil War monument. The next day, they buried it.
These were not anti–Confederate activists. On the contrary, Elberton, like many Southern towns in the 1890s, wanted to honor the lost cause. It also wanted to promote its new granite industry as part of the vibrant new South. A Confederate memorial, made from Elberton granite was the perfect way to do both.
The Italian sculptor had clearly never seen a Confederate soldier—the statue was wearing the wrong uniform. The squatty figure with bulging eyes was lampooned as "a cross between a Pennsylvania Dutchman and a hippopotamus," earning it the unaffectionate nickname “Dutchy.” So down came Dutchy, replaced by a new statue.
Dutchy was buried face down for nearly a century, but he was exhumed in 1982, run through a local car wash, and placed in the Elberton Granite Museum. He's still there—a silent monument to the crossroads where the backward glance of the Lost Cause collided with the vision of the New South on August 14, 1900, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.