A new stone monument welcoming travelers to Carthage was unveiled on old Route 66 on Friday, marking the first of what is hoped to become many accomplishments for the Vision Carthage Committee.
The city of Carthage paid for the stone marker that now graces the Carthage Memorial Hall lawn and features a giant representation of the symbol of Carthage — the Maple Leaf — created by Carthage artist Rachel Wilson.
While the gray stone is recognizable as the famous Carthage limestone that graces so many buildings here and across Missouri, the Maple Leaf is made of sterner stuff.
"We started with three different mediums," Wilson said. "First we tried concrete, then some other products that are like fiberglass. This is a two-part hard epoxy product, it's weather-proof and stable regardless of the weather."
Wilson said she was brought into the project about a year ago after a chance conversation with committee member and Carthage Attorney John Nicholas.
"I wanted to show everybody I could do something a little bit different so I got real excited about the project," Wilson said. "Since I'm from the area, my kids are going to see it and know that they're mom did that. I've got four kids and they're all going to grow up and say mom did that."
The stone for the monument was provided by Locarni Marble and the words were engraved by West Chestnut Monuments, which also helped the Carthage Parks Department and Carthage Public Works Department install the stone. Landscaping is courtesy Pinewood Nursery.
Janet Stafford, president of the Carthage United Missouri Bank and chairwoman of the Vision Carthage committee, said the committee has grown from a city-sponsored panel to an independent committee with its own bylaws, structure and tax exempt status.
She said the committee recently came up with a five-year plan of action.
"In addition, we have worked to fund, design, and build our first project," Stafford said. "I know that the committee is really proud of this accomplishment and I appreciate all of them for their efforts in this project. Hopefully, this is the first of several more projects to come."