Making good on a promise to rid its Buckhead campus of a Confederate-praising Civil War monument, Piedmont Atlanta Hospital has given the massive stone block to an anonymous owner.

“Piedmont transferred ownership of the monument in the fall to an owner who was willing to preserve it,” said John Manasso, a spokesperson for Piedmont Healthcare, the hospital’s parent organization.

The monument dedicated to soldiers on both sides of the Civil War’s Battle of Peachtree Creek that stood on the grounds of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital. (File/Gould B. Hagler)

Asked why the new owner is not being identified and whether it is an individual or an institution, Manasso only said, “For the time being, we are not going to provide any additional information.”

Erected in 1944 on the hospital grounds at 1968 Peachtree Road, the monument refers to the Battle of Peachtree Creek, which took place in that area as the Union fought to seize Atlanta. The language on the memorial praises the “American valor” of both sides in the war.

The monument was put in storage in 2017 during construction on a new tower and other facilities. Despite growing controversy over Confederate-honoring memorials, Piedmont initially said the monument would be returned to the campus in 2020 following construction. But after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, Piedmont said the memorial was gone for good — though its exact fate was to be determined.

“Out of respect to our employees and the communities we serve, we have no intention of reinstalling the monument,” Manasso said at the time.

The monument was erected by the Atlanta Historical Society, which is now the Buckhead-based Atlanta History Center. And the History Center has a different view of such monuments today, saying they are part of the “Lost Cause” myth that downplays the role of slavery as a cause for the Civil War. The notion, the History Center says, dates to the post-war “Reconciliation” period when Northern and Southern groups emphasized national unity while allowing segregation and related racist laws.

The monument, like most of its kind, dates to the “Jim Crow” segregation period of 1877 through the 1950s, when they were part of an effort to emphasize White supremacy, the History Center says in a “Confederate Monument Interpretation Guide” it issued in 2015 in the wake of a racist mass murder at a church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Claire Haley, a History Center spokesperson, said in an email that the museum is not the new owner of the Piedmont monument and is not in possession of it. The History Center “has not acquired any Confederate-related monuments/memorials following last year’s controversies,” Haley said.

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John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.