Jefferson Davis Monument, Fairview, Kentucky

Jefferson Davis Monument
Entrance of Jefferson Davis Monument
Plaque Above Entrance
Left Metal Entrance Plaque
Jefferson Davis Metal Plaque

Dublin Core


Jefferson Davis Monument, Fairview, Kentucky


The Jefferson Davis Monument in Fairview, Kentucky memorializes the birthplace of the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. According to accounts during a 1907 reunion of the Orphan Brigade, the largest military unit to be recruited from Kentucky for the Confederates, a former Confederate General named Simon B. Buckner suggested a monument should be built for Jefferson Davis. At the reunion, inspired by General Buckner, Dr. C. C. Brown suggested forming an organization to purchase and preserve Jefferson Davis’ birthplace in Fairview. The original intent of the project was to create a "Mecca" for individuals to travel to, so that the people would have a chance to gather, celebrate and maintain the ideals of the Confederacy embodied in their former president, Jefferson Davis; this is made more important to the South by the losing of the Civil War. Another influence that may have spurred the construction of this monument was the ongoing construction of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument in Washington, DC. The organization, to build the Jefferson Davis Monument, soon formed from the donations and membership of the Orphan Brigade and was named the Jefferson Davis Home Association (JDHA). Through fundraising efforts by the JDHA and other organizations, especially with help from the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), land was purchased, and construction began in 1917. With a short period of construction stoppage due to lack of material because of the outbreak of World War I, the 351 foot tall obelisk was completed in 1924. The dream of the JDHA for the Jefferson Davis Monument was to become a Confederate pilgrimage, but over the years it never came to fruition. A debate of whether or not the monument should be taken down has sprung up, but the still monument remains. Today the monument is hardly known with the exception of locals, Civil War buffs, and historians.

The Jefferson Davis monument currently sits in the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site in Fairview, Kentucky. The monument, constructed on a foundation of solid Kentucky limestone is currently part of the Kentucky State Parks systems. A museum on the grounds provides visitors with insights into Jefferson Davis’s life. Visitors of the museum can see exhibits detailing Davis’ political life before and after the Civil War and the building of the monument. At the top of the monument is an observation room with windows in each of the four walls and an elevator, installed in 1929, which takes visitors up to the observation room. The monument is the tallest unreinforced concrete structure in the world, no steel was used to reinforce the concrete walls below its pyramidal top. It is actively the fifth tallest monument in the United States behind the Gateway Arch, San Jacinto Monument, Washington Monument, and Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial.


Major S. F. Crecelius, the architect, was assisted by Ernest McCullogh; G. R. Gregg was the general contractor and builder.


1. Giguere, Joy M. “Young and Littlefield’s Folly”: Fundraising, Confederate Memorialization, and the Construction of the Jefferson Davis Monument in Fairview, Kentucky, 1907–1924." Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 115, no. 1 (2017): 39-73. doi:10.1353/khs.2017.0001.
2. McIntosh, LouDelle, “Jefferson Davis Monument,” Todd County, Kentucky. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1973. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
3. Cristina Carbone, "Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site", [Pembroke, Kentucky], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, Last accessed: December 16, 2020,
4. Jefferson Davis State Historic Site.
5. "Historical Places: Jefferson Davis Monument". Encyclopedia of Kentucky. New York, New York: Somerset Publishers. 1987.
6. Brundage, Cox, Gallagher, and Painter. Confederate Statues and Memorialization, The University of Georgia Press: 2019


Completed in June 7, 1924


Fernando L. Lopez, Max Bezanilla, Sebastian Ebbert




Poured Concrete Obelisk


HIST 402A Fall 2020 and Fall 2021