I think I might just continue to refer to White Point Gardens as Battery Park, not only because it’s what I’m used to, but because I can’t find any sign or listing that will agree over whether it’s supposed to be White Point Garden or Gardens. Does it matter? It doesn’t really look like a garden, so I think it would be easier to keep thinking of it as a public park. Yes, I know, technicalities and all that stuff. I’ve called it Battery Park for 14 years, I don’t think it’ll hurt to do it for a little longer.
What I have found is that despite my mom and I covering quite a bit of the park, we still missed several very obvious statues. Some of which I’ve seen in the past and had pictures taken in front of. How did I skip them this time? Maybe because we headed to the side of the park, after walking by the bandstand in the center of Battery Park.
Walking to the end of the Battery Promenade, we walked over to the Confederate Defenders of Charleston statue, which is right on the southernmost point of the park. Sculpted by Hermon Atkins MacNeil, I’ve been trying to find more about it, hopefully an explanation about the symbolism of the two figures. The broken sword that the defender carries, I can understand that… but the rest? I’m not a student of statuary symbols. I remember there was a nude statue at the ANZAC memorial in Australia, but that doesn’t mean I understand why it was sculpted that way. Nor do I see the point for this one, though at least this one has a leaf in place.
After passing some of the cannons (which also make great backdrops for group photos), I found my favorite statue. It has been years since I first took a picture of the little girl fountain, but that picture stayed on my bulletin board for many years. It was sculpted in 1962 for the children of Charleston, and is just the right height for any child who needs a drink from the water fountain.
I always want to pick her up and twirl her around, or at least give her a hug. I don’t think it quite fair that she never gets to put her foot in the fountain, no matter how long her foot seems about to step into the water. If I was a small child again, playing in the park, I would be thrilled to have such a friendly fountain that was just my size.
The U.S.S. Amberjack memorial is there to honor the memory of that submarine and 51 others that went down during World War II. Looking at all the names, it is shocking to remember how many men that have fought for their country, over the years. And how many have fallen, in the process.
When I first found the Hobson Memorial, I was uncertain what it was for. We could see the sun dial and the date and time listed on it (10:26 pm, April 26, 1952), but until I walked around back, I wasn’t certain of its purpose. On that day, the U.S.S. Hobson collided with the U.S.S. Wasp during a wartime training exercise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. According to the statue, it sank in 4 minutes, taking all 176 men with it.
Continuing to walk around the granite monument, I had already noticed the names of U.S. states and the occasional Canadian province on the stones. But some of them kept repeating, and I lost count of how many had Ohio written on them.
We decided that there was probably a stone for every sailor lost, no matter how many times any state was repeated (and I now know that’s correct). One hundred and seventy-six stones, one for every man lost.
We began to walk back across the park, and I stopped to admire the stately rows of live oaks. As twisty-and-turny as they are, you can tell they were originally set out in rows. Eventually, we came to what I would have called a large gazebo, but apparently it was originally a bandstand for weekly concerts. Nowadays, it’s no longer used for concerts (the city thinks it would be too noisy), but for the occasional wedding.
As we left the park, I stopped to look at a memorial placed there by the Daughters of the Confederacy, in honor of the men who gave their lives in the C.S.S. Hunley, which went down in Charleston Harbor after it sank the Housatonic.
I suppose you won’t be surprised at my continued enjoyment of the azaleas of Charleston. I suppose they had to have a few flowers in the White Point Gardens. : ) And since they aren’t yet blooming in Clemson, I enjoyed them for my brief time downstate.