A state historical marker that has stood near Camp Lejeune since 1993 has gone missing, and state officials are asking people to let them know if they’ve seen it.
The marker, noting the establishment of Camp Lejeune in 1941, was just outside the base on Lejeune Boulevard in Jacksonville. The 60-pound marker and the pole it was perched on were reported missing by a state Department of Transportation worker, but it’s not clear how long they’ve been gone, said Ansley Wegner, administrator of the state Highway Historical Marker Program.
There are nearly 1,600 historical markers in the program, and every few weeks Wegner learns that one is missing. Her search begins with calls to the local highway or public works department, and then the police or sheriff or state Highway Patrol. If she can determine that a marker was destroyed in a recent auto accident, she’ll put in an insurance claim.
Wegner only recently began enlisting the public’s help after a history buff noticed a sign missing in Forsyth County and asked if he could submit an article about it to the local papers. Last month, the Yadkin Ripple published an item about the missing marker, which commemorated a shallow ford used to get across the Yadkin River from Colonial times through 1927, and an antiques dealer called Wegner the next day to say he had bought it at an auction last summer.
Wegner said she hopes publicity will help find the Lejeune marker, too.
The silver markers with raised black letters are made by Sewah Studios in Marietta, Ohio, of cast aluminum and cost $1,700 to replace. Sometimes they’re stolen and sold for scrap, but they can end up all over the place, Wegner said. She said she once got a call from Danville, Va., where a guy had put a North Carolina historical marker about the birthplace of a Methodist bishop and author on a post in his yard. He said he had bought it at a scrap yard in North Carolina.
“It’s frustrating to me that a scrap yard or auction house would take something that is so clearly state property,” Wegner said.
If you have information about the Camp Lejeune marker or any other one that is missing or not where it should be, contact Wegner at 919-807-7291 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about the Highway Historical Marker Program or an individual marker, go to www.ncmarkers.com/.