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HOLMBERG: Mystery monument in city famous for them is about faith and unity

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RICHMOND, Va. -- In this City of Monuments, the one at the corner of Horsepen and Glenside Drive just off Monument Avenue is perhaps the most mysterious.

Thousands drive past it every day. Some have stopped noticing it, it’s been there so long. But many do see it and wonder.

The heavy metal triangular sculpture more than ten feet tall has been there since 1986.

It was privately designed, built and installed and has been privately maintained since for 28 years, and will likely stay that way for many more years to come.

It sits on a very unusual triangular plot of land about a quarter-acre in size that was bought by attorney and real estate prime mover William Chewning, who also happened to be a Navy bomb disposal specialist during WWII.

Chewing liked to buy unusual little pieces of land, this one apparently left over when Glenside Drive was built and Horsepen was moved a bit.

He was also a man of faith with a heart scarred by the death of his oldest son, a young family man and endurance bicyclist killed in a riding accident.

William Chewning died 17 years ago after a long battle with cancer. His monument – titled Triunite (tri-unite) but simply called Trinity by him – was such a monumental part of his life, he was out there mowing the grass just days before he died.

Every aspect of it is a testament to his desire for it endure, from its sturdy base, its thick metal, its plain industrial paint (the same stuff used to paint utility boxes) and its routine maintenance. (When the metal became a little pitted, the monument was taken down by the same firm that put it up, refreshed and reinstalled. It’s in mint condition after nearly three decades.

His wife, Edna lives on. Their other son, John, helped care for the monument until he passed away. Daughter Beverly Harris is happy that the monument her father built will carry on.

But what does it really mean? Why did William Chewing put up these rugged crosses and what did he hope we would feel when we see them?

Watch the video report, and decide this mystery for yourselves.

RELATED:  What’s that beefcake monument off Horsepen? Atlas shrugged!

1 Comment

  • Lisa

    Mr. Chewning was a wonderful man!! My mom worked for him when he decided to build this and laid on the floor to help him sketch “Jesus”! We always smile when we drive by and say it’s Mom and Jesus up there! I was too little to remember him, but my mom has always told stories about what a giving, kind man he was! Glad to see his statue and memory live on!

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