Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Map

Sannoner’s Vision Preserved in Granite

On any given day Downtown Florence can be seen bustling with life. The many stores and events paired with the energy of UNA college life give the area a vibrant flow of activity. This is due in large part to the work of Florence Main Street.

Main Street organizations were funded across the country by grants approximately two decades ago. Their purpose? To bring interest back to the downtown area and help the community to thrive, which is exactly what Ms. Hester Cope dedicated her time and energy to from 1992-2007.

On July 17 Florence Main Street presented a piece of art to the people of Florence in honor of Cope’s commendable service. The art was a 4’ x 6’ granite map of Florence copied from a drawing rendered by Ferdinand Sannoner in 1852. The granite copy was commissioned by the Design Committee of Florence Main Street and retains the original spellings, which differ somewhat from the current spellings.

Said Shaler Roberts,“We celebrate the day that we can never lose the last copy of this map.”

The granite map cost an astonishing $8,000 to re-create. The money for this historic artwork, which is now embedded in the sidewalk on the corner of Tennessee and Court Streets, was raised through the sale of the annual Downtown Florence Historic Homes Calendar.

“At five dollars a throw, (per calendar) it takes awhile to present the kind of art we want to present,” said Billy Warren, President of Florence Main Street, at the presentation.

The hard work and dedication that went into the creation and placement of the map is a direct result of the team work demonstrated inside of the Florence Main Street organization. Every speaker at the presentation–including Warren, current Director of Florence Main Street, Ashley Winkle, Kevin Jangaard, Roberts, John Harris and Hester Cope herself–gave credit for the astounding piece to other members of the team.

“Everyone involved in this did it with love,” said Jangaard.
Cope was the name in every speech, however brief. She was repeatedly thanked, honored and applauded.

“This is a unique occasion and such a great idea,” said Mayor Bobby Irons. ”I really want to thank the Design Committee, and thank you, Hester, for what you’ve done for our city.”

“She is beautiful. She is strong. She is immoveable,” Roberts said, warranting a round of appreciative applause.

As she stood before the crowd with her grandson and granddaughter, Cope praised the map and the layout of downtown Florence, from the wide, four-laned roads to the abundant parallel parking spaces available, and thanked the members of the committee, “I cannot say thank you enough to them,” she said. “It was my privilege to work with Main Street. You do not need to thank me - I thank God every day.”

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