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| ||CARTER SOLDIERS' MONUMENT |
91 Center Hill Road
Dedicated: September 10, 1897
Type: Granite obelisk
CARTER SOLDIERS' MONUMENT is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of honor and respect paid by the Barkhamsted community to soldiers of several wars. It was initially raised near the original location of the cemetery in Barkhamsted Hollow. When the Hollow was flooded ca.1940 by the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) to form Barkhamsted Reservoir, the cemetery and monument were moved to the present location by the MDC.
An indication of the population trend and social history of the town is given by the fact that the monument's plaques record more men serving in the Revolutionary War (132) than in the Civil War (126).The monument was the philanthropy of Walter S. Carter, a Barkhamsted native who 39 years earlier had moved to Milwaukee, then went on to head a New York City law firm. Carter spoke at the dedication. He recounted the history of the United States from its earliest times, as introduction to an emphasis unusual for speeches at Civil War monument dedications, namely, analysis of Civil War strategy as related to slavery. Direct discussion of slavery usually was avoided. Carter first called attention to the long-accepted existence of slavery in Connecticut. He noted that while Lincoln's campaign platform favored freedom, the first two years of the war were fought, with little success, simply to preserve the union, with no thought of justice to the slaves. Only after the Proclamation of Emancipation did the tide turn. He concluded with the statistics that Connecticut sent 60,000 men to the war, of whom 5,600 died, one in ten.
Carter's oration was published in a leaflet, as was that of another speaker, William Wallace Lee of Meriden. Lee saw the war as revolt of the [southern] propertied class against the government, and commended "the spirit which animated the great mass of the common people" in achieving success in putting down the rebellion. Lee's emphasis on and encouragement of the willingness of the common man to die was the more customary analysis for orators at Civil War monument dedications.
CARTER SOLDIERS' MONUMENT is significant artistically because it is a simple design of pedestal and obelisk, depending for its artistic merit on its basic good proportions. In this regard, it evokes SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Norfolk, and LEDYARD BILL MONUMENT, Ledyard.
CARTER SOLDIERS' MONUMENT is a granite obelisk on pedestal placed in the center of a wide grassy plot in front of Center Cemetery. The dedication is to the memory of those who fought in several wars; it is not clear whether the intention is to honor those who died or all who served.
The monument rests on a high rock-faced plinth the surface of which is pitched upward to the dado base of equal height. The dado, modest in size, is covered on all sides by bronze plaques with lettering as recorded below. The base of the shaft carries the dates. The north face of the shaft or obelisk is embellished with two raised stacked rifles encircled at their muzzles by laurel wreaths. Other sides are plain. The obelisk is tapered, terminating in a low pyramid.
Inscription on north face of dado, raised caps in 27' x 27" bronze plaque:
PEOPLE OF BARKHAMSTED
MEMORY OF HER SONS,
WHO FOUGHT TO
ESTABLISH, DEFEND, AND PRESERVE
Above, raised stone numerals: 1776
Bronze plaque on west face:WAR OF THE REVOLUTION, 1775 - 1783.
(three columns of 44 names each)
South face:WAR OF 1812 - 1815.
(2 columns of 16 names, l of 15)
MEXICAN WAR, 1846 - 1848.
(2 columns of 3 names, 1 of 2)
(on base, 10' x 35" bronze plaque):ADDITIONAL NAMES OBTAINED SINCE DEDICATION SEPT. 10, 1897
(26 names, various wars)
East face:WAR OF THE REBELLION, 1861 - 1865.
(3 columns of 42 names)
"Historical Address at the Dedication of the Soldiers' Monument, Barkhamsted, Sept. 10, 1897, by Wm. Wallace Lee of Meriden, Connecticut."
"Oration at the Dedication of the Soldiers' Monument at Barkhamsted, Connecticut, September 10, 1897, by Walter S. Carter."
Richard G. Wheeler and George Hilton, eds., Barkhamsted Heritage (Barkhamsted: Barkhamsted Historical Society, Inc., 1975), frontispiece, pp. 81, 82.