And who is Margaret S. Fletcher?
This is The John C. Brown Bridge. This bridge in Rockville is dedicated to the memory of the first Maryland man killed in the Korean war.
He died in June of 1950 and the monument dedicating the bridge in his name came on August 26, 1950.
Brown, a corporal, was killed in action and the plaque was posted on the bridge. Later the bridge was re-dedicated and the plaque was placed on a monument near the foot of the bridge, courtesy of the local VFW.
Here is a wideshot of the plaque dedicated to Brown, sitting on its monument on Rockville Pike and Edmonston Avenue:
As it turns out, according to Rockville City Manager Rob DiSpirito, Brown was a Baltimore man and had no link to Rockville, but when he died, "Out of a spirit of patriotism," the community decided to dedicate the bridge in his memory. The monument is apparently cleaned and maintained by the state.
Here is a close up of the monument:
Recently Rockville police say someone struck the monument with a car, knocking it off its pedestal and leaving it on a nearby sidewalk.
Rockville public works recently removed the plaque from the stone monument because the city is planning to rehabilitate the bridge and upgrade the monument. Since an errant driver separated the monument from its pedestal, the city decided to finish the job. "We have the plaque safely stored away and it will go on a new pedestal," DeSpirito explained.
But look what was underneath the monument:
As it turns out when the monument was originally purchased, someone reused an old grave stone. "It isn't uncommon," DeSpirito said, "for families to upgrade their gravestones and then the old stones are reused."
What exactly happened in this case, however, DiSpirito said, is unknown. "It is a mystery," he explained.
Did someone overcharge the state for a monument in 1950? Who is Margaret S. Fletcher? How did the 25-year-old die? What is her life story? Is there any relation to John C. Brown? How exactly did her gravestone end up on Rockville Pike? - where you can see it today.
Meanwhile according to Craig Simoneau, Rockville director of public works said there is no significant connection between Fletcher and Brown and the plaque will soon be re-attached to a new monument. "We are currently planning to renovate the bridge and the other mystery for us is when will we be able to get it done."
Leaving just two mysteries left: When will the bridge be renovated - and who is Margaret S. Fletcher?