This impressive gate, directly across S. Greene Street from the spot where February One Place dead-ends, stands on the city’s Governmental Plaza. The columns and arch, as well as the gate itself, are covered with a total of 105 silicone bronze icons. Each icon shows an invention, event, or person from the last 1,000 years that helped to make life in Greensboro what it is today. These are not always connected to events occurring locally or to local people. For example, electricity was not invented in Greensboro, but it has a major impact on our lives. A few of the icons are as follows:
- A chair represents the furniture industry which is so important in this area
- The Lost Colony takes us back to the beginning of European settlement of North Carolina
- The Battle of Guilford Courthouse reminds us of this major battle fought within the present-day city of Greensboro
- A drinking gourd is a symbol of the Underground Railroad
- The Statue of Liberty represents immigration, an important part of today’s Greensboro and of our past.
The community was involved in each step of the process. Anyone who wished could contribute ideas, and a committee carefully considered all of them before selecting those represented on the gate. Individuals and organizations contributed money towards the project, which cost about $150,000. Seventeen artists designed the icons, and sculptor Jim Gallucci’s local studio completed the project.
The gate, from base to top, is 19 feet, 4 inches tall on the street side and 20 feet tall on the plaza side. The difference is due to the sloping ground at this spot. The moving part of the gate is 6 feet wide and 13 feet, 10 inches tall. The superstructure is made of galvanized steel. The icons are expected to last 1,000 years!
The gate will eventually have a permanent base. Nameplates listing financial contributors will line the steps, the base and two remaining squares. Major contributors will be listed on nearby kiosks. The kiosks will also list the icons and tell who made each of them and who sponsored it. A numbered pattern at the kiosk will assist people in finding the icons.
No one can guarantee that you’ll agree with every topic chosen for an icon or with the artist’s interpretation of each of them, but every viewer will undoubtedly be challenged to think about Greensboro’s past and future—and possibly even motivated to learn more!
More Guilford County, North Carolina History:
Greensboro Historical Museum
Guide to Guilford: History
Historic Guilford Photos