Canton metal artist and sculptor Ben Bradshaw was asked to make something meaningful from a piece of local history to auction at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Day annual fundraiser, said Stefanie Joyner, executive director of the Cherokee County Historical Society.
The historical society gave Ben a piece of copper roof flashing from the old Canton Post Office building, located on Main Street. He straightened the wrinkled piece of copper, made a mahogany box and covered the box with the copper flashing, Joyner said.
“We are honored that Ben would be willing to create this box for our silent auction. It’s a unique piece that combines a remnant of the historic Post Office with Ben’s artistry. We expect the bidding to be fierce and the fortunate winner will get to bring home a little bit of Canton’s history,” Joyner said.
The brick Neoclassical Revival U.S. Post Office Building at 190 West Main St. was built in 1928 with James Wetmore serving as acting supervising architect, she said.
The Canton fire department now occupies the building and the copper flashing was given to CCHS by fire inspector Ben Lohman, Joyner said.
Bradshaw, a Canton native who has been a full-time metal artist for eight years, said the chance to work with a piece of Canton’s past was a special one.
“This brought back a lot of memories of the old post office,’ Bradshaw said. “It was fantastic and a great opportunity, and it was very good to get to help them out.”
Bradshaw said the project took him two days to complete. He used mahogany for the box and covered it in the copper.
“I measured to see how much material was available and how large of a box lid I could make and how large it could be. Then I determined the dimensions of the box, and cut the copper from the piece I was given,” he said.
“I used shears to cut the copper and a hammer and metal break to shape it to the box. I formed the copper to fit the box,” he said.
Bradshaw said he often works with copper to make vent hoods and table tops, and he specializes in metal work for homes in the $2 million to $8 million range.
“Doing this for the historical society was a great opportunity. I am honored they asked me and look forward to helping them in the future,” Bradshaw said.
The 11th annual Kentucky Derby Day takes place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at the Rock Barn at 658 Marietta Highway in Canton.
The popular fundraiser includes gourmet food, specialty cocktails, a hat parade and contest, bourbon tasting and a chance to watch the race.
Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased by calling (770) 345-3288 or visiting rockbarn.org. All proceeds benefit the local historical society.