E.T. Wickham: Well that it is as it is

Confederate Sam Davis and Union supporter Bill Marsh. Marsh was E.T. WIckham’s grandfather. “It is all over with now Bill and well that it is as it is.”

The E.T. Wickham site in Palmyra, Tennessee, is one of the country’s spookiest art environments, even in the open field to which the family has relocated most of the statues. Credit the vandals who wrecked the work, but even more the ghost of E.T.’s vision that survived their pummeling.

The statues lining the north-central Tennessee back road were erected in the 1950s and 60s by Enoch Tanner Wickham to honor historical figures and family members. They did not fare well after his death in 1970s, but their state seems to have mostly stabilized.

Thirteen years ago Wickham family members relocated most of the statues to a slightly less back back road. While it’s on the edge of a clear farm field rather than next to woods like the original site, the effect when the work comes into view is still powerful. And several statues remain in the first location.

When I see how compelling these ruins remain, I’m reminded of Wickham’s Civil War tribute: “It is all over with now Bill and well that it is as it is.”

I recently made my first visit to the site in some 25 years. You can see my older photos and commentary here. You can visit the very worthwhile Wickham Stone Park site here.

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