A Patriotic Pulpit Wayside

An exhibit showing a black and white photo shows an ivy covered structure and a colored insert picture showing archaeologist excavating a plot of land.

A Patriotic Pulpit

Exhibit Text

Only a handful of original rostrums still exist in the United States. Formal platforms for speakers and dignitaries—like the one you see reconstructed here—were common to all national cemeteries and provided focal points for decades of patriotic speeches and ceremonies during veterans’ reunions and Memorial Day activities in the years following the Civil War. Some even served as bandstands for summer concerts. The original 1883 Stones River rostrum (above) was torn down in 1941-42 after it had deteriorated beyond repair.


Subtext (1)

The Rostrum is beautifully located in a grove of native trees . . . and will be very greatly appreciated by the people who attend the Decoration [Memorial Day] ceremonies.
—James Gall, Quartermaster Department Inspector, after inspecting the new Stones River rostrum in March 1883.

Subtext (2)

Ground-penetrating radar helped archeologists find the foundations of the original Stones River rostrum in 2004.


Last updated: May 5, 2020

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