Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Granite Map Will Depict Replica of Early City Map

Published: Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FLORENCE - The original map of Florence, drawn in 1818 by an Italian surveyor who chose to name the city after the Tuscany capital, was tattered and battered before it was ultimately destroyed in a mid-19th century fire, according to Ashley Winkle, executive director of Florence Main Street.

The same surveyor, Ferdinand Sannoner, was given $25 in 1852 to replicate the map before it disappeared a few years later.

The only thing that could threaten the map this time around is a jackhammer.

Construction crews will pour the concrete this morning at the intersection of Tennessee Street Court streets for a 4- by 6-foot granite reproduction of Sannoner's map, said David Koonce, manager of the Florence street and solid waste departments.

If all goes according to plan, the work could be finished by early next week, he said.

It will be embedded in the sidewalk with a bronze plaque in neighboring shrubs detailing the rendering.

A design committee with Florence Main Street used proceeds from calendar sales to pay for the $8,000 project.

After plans for a Mobile Plaza statue or information kiosk were met with reservations, the group decided to turn to the map. It'll look a bit different from what is now known as Florence, said Billy Ray Warren, curriculum director for Florence schools.

"All that was really there was the downtown grid," he explained of the earlier map.

Back then, there was only one house in the area between Tuscaloosa Street and Hermitage Drive, he said.

Words will be displayed in their original American Indian spelling because the language had not been standardized at that point.

For example, Tombigbee Street will appear as Tombeckby Street, Winkle said.

Even with the map's longer lifespan, problems still exist. "Once it's in granite, you can't change it very easily," Warren joked.

Brian Hughes can be reached at 740-5720 or

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