Florence Museum board to ponder sculpture issue

August 7, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – The issue over what to do with a sculpture featuring Florence Henning Harllee and her father, William Wallace Harllee, will be back before a governmental board Tuesday evening.

The nine-member Florence County Museum Board of Directors is expected to meet and consider making a recommendation of what to do with the statue to the Florence County Council. Each member of the board represents one of the nine county council districts of which a single-member of the county council is elected from.

Called “This Place Will Be Called In Your Name, Florence” the sculpture was constructed by Alex Palkovich and is being kept in an unknown location in Florence.

The sculpture is controversial because of the inclusion of William Wallace Harllee. Harllee was the owner of the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad and the two ends of the railroad met in the area now called Florence. He also was a brigadier general in the South Carolina militia and served as lieutenant governor when the state became the first state to secede from the United States in 1860.

Originally, there were plans to make the community around the Florence Depot “Harlleeville” but that name was taken by another town and Harllee made the decision to name the depot after his daughter Florence. It has been theorized that William read “Dombey and Son” by Charles Dickens and named his daughter after the character Florence.

In its July meeting, the county council voted to authorize County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith and his staff to consider an appropriate location for the sculpture at the Florence County Museum with the advice of the museum’s board of directors and exhibition committee. The county council is not obliged to accept the recommendation of either the board or the committee.

The museum’s exhibition committee met last Tuesday and recommended to the museum board that the board recommend placing it at another location in the county.

Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Florence County Museum.

The issue of the statue may also be before the Florence County Council at its August meeting. That meeting is scheduled for Aug. 16 at 9 a.m.

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