South Charlotte

Monument is mystery in Matthews

There’s a mysterious monument in Matthews near the intersection of County Place Drive and South Trade Street.

You can see it by looking through a break in the fence where ACTS is preparing to build an addition to Plantation Estates.

Town leaders are hoping someone can shed light on how, when and why the large concrete obelisk arrived.

Researching the structure, Matthews Public Works Director Ralph Messera discovered that it was actually patented in 1926 (patent number1,580,719) by Albert Gilbert of Durham. The patent describes a movable concrete highway marker, or monument, designed to arrive in six pieces to be assembled on site.

The Matthews monument matches the drawings, so Messera figures it must have arrived in town in the mid to late 1920s.

Matthews native Caldwell Russell said he and his siblings remember a large coffee pot sitting on top of the monument years ago, but he isn’t sure why it was there. Matthews native Margaret Phillips also remembers a coffee pot, but no other details.

Messera said it’s feasible the monument would have been used as an advertisement, since from the 1920s to 1930s that stretch of road was the route from Charlotte to Monroe. Still, he said it’s curious that there is no documented proof of its purpose.

Town historian Paula Lester said it’s a town puzzle she would like to see solved.

“How did it come to Matthews? Was it something that someone thought they would use but didn’t and it just ended up here? Are there any more monuments like it in Mecklenburg County? We’re putting out feelers all over town to see if anyone else remembers it,” Lester said.

Messera said town officials hope to move the structure across the street to the entrance of the Four-Mile Creek Greenway, but will have to contract with a company for the move because the town does not have equipment large enough to move it in one piece. They don’t want to disassemble it for fear it may not go back together properly.

He estimated the monument weighs 5,000-6,000 pounds.

If you have any information about the monument, contact Paula Lester at or 704-847-7610.