Typo etched into sundial at newly unveiled Women’s Monument in Richmond

Capitol Connection

RICHMOND, Va. — Commission members and the Virginia Dept. of General Services is working on a plan to correct a typo on a new monument shown to the public this week on Capitol Square. 

The recently unveiled Virginia Women’s Monument: Voices from the Garden has the names of localities from across Virginia on a sundial in the center of – what will soon be – 12 statues. But one of the counties, Loudoun, is missing the second “u.” 

A handful of visitors to the Virginia State Capitol were asked if they could spell out the county’s name. Lowden, Louden, Loudyn were a few ideas thrown out from people out of state.

“I wouldn’t have gotten that in the spelling bee,” said Joseph Gibson, who was visiting from Ohio, while laughing. 

The only person who got it right is a Virginian, Craig Watt, of Henrico County. After learning about the typo in bronze, he was surprised and thought maybe someone “didn’t do their research.” 

“Well, it really shouldn’t happen,” he said. 

According to the “Hornbook of Virginia History,” published by the Library of Virginia, Loudoun County is named after John Campbell, the fourth earl of Loudoun. He was a commander of British forces in North America during the early part of the French and Indian War. He also served as the governor of Virginia from 1756 to 1759. 

The Virginia Women’s Monument has been in the works for a decade and is the first of its kind in the nation. It recognizes the achievements and contributions of Virginia women over the course of 400 years. The monument features a plaza, bronze life-sized statues, as well as a “Wall of Honor” with more than 230 names on it. 

Half of the statues have been installed, the rest will be brought to Richmond next year once they are finished. 

The monument cost about $3.7 million and is paid for by donations. 

During the dedication ceremony Monday, Capitol Bureau Reporter Sara McCloskey pulled aside a state official to ask if the spelling of Loudoun County was correct and they said it might be a typo. 

In a statement, the vice chair of the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission, former State Senator Mary Margaret Whipple, said “The Virginia Women’s Monument Commission was first made aware of the typo on the sundial on Monday evening. We will confer with the Department of General Services to develop a plan to address the issue and make the correction needed.” 

The Dept. of General Services worked with the commission and contracted artist while the monument was being constructed. 

The design was reviewed by many individuals, the contractor, the commission and DGS, a department spokesperson says. 

“Unfortunately the error was missed. The contractor is in the process of correcting the sundial at no cost to the Commonwealth or the [Virginia Women’s Monument] Commission,” Dena Potter, DGS spokesperson, said in a statement. 

Visitors to the Capitol didn’t think the error took away from the monument’s meaning and purpose.

“I think it’s time,” Gibson said. “Just having seen the Pocahontas statue at Jamestown two days ago and the pivotal roles that women have had in the history of Virginia. It’s due time.” 

Requests were also made for interviews with commission members. The media relations liaison for the commission said no one was available.

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