State historical marker for Johnson C. Smith University goes missing

State historical marker for Johnson C. Smith University goes missing
A state historical marker commemorating Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University is missing. (via The Charlotte Observer)

A state historical marker commemorating Charlotte’s Johnson C. Smith University is missing.

North Carolina’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources asked Thursday for the public’s help in locating the metal marker, which was cast in 2001 and stood on Beatties Ford Road at Dixon Street.

The department didn’t immediately respond to Observer questions about when the marker disappeared or how unusual it is for a cultural marker to be taken. It asked that anyone with information about its disappearance call the Highway Historical Marker office at 919-814-6620.

The marker had never been stolen or vandalized in the past, Smith spokeswoman Emiene Wright said by email.

Smith’s is one of more than 1,600 silver and black markers commemorating historical places, people and events — the department calls it “history on a stick” — on North Carolina’s roadsides. The program, created in 1935, is one of the oldest of its kind in the U.S.

The Presbyterian Church founded Biddle Memorial Institute in 1867 to educate future preachers and teachers among the 3,000 former enslaved people who lived in Mecklenburg County after the Civil War. The institute’s name was changed in 1923 following a gift by Jane Berry Smith of Pittsburgh in honor of her late husband.