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| ||SOLDIER'S MONUMENT |
3 East Granby Road
Dedicated: July 4, 1868
Type: Tall brownstone pedestal and figure
Supplier: James G. Batterson
Architect: George Keller, attr.
Sculptor: Charles Conrads, attr.
Height: Approximately 21'
SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Granby, is significant historically because it is a symbol of honor and respect offered by the community to those who died in the Civil War. The date of the monument, 1868, is early. It preceded the park, which was laid out in 1875 by the Soldiers' Monument Association, formed in 1870. The park was located on a section of an earlier town common which was unused because it was wet low ground, a gully used as a dumping ground (see also SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Southington). Proper drainage was a first step in creating the park. The work included erection of a wooden fence, which disappeared at an unknown date, around the entire 7/8-acre park. The tennis court was added in the 1890s. The soldier's musket turned up missing in the mid-1940s. New plantings in 1965 may have included the shrubbery which now conceals the lower part of the monument.
SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Granby, is significant artistically because it came from the shop of James G. Batterson at the time he employed George Keller as architect and Charles Conrads as sculptor. Batterson was a principal entrepreneur in the Civil War-monument industry. Presumably Keller designed the pedestal and Conrads sculpted the figure. The pedestal has architectural interest because of the two-stage feature of its dado, with the design of the top of the upper stage repeating the lower in its transition to the next section above. The figure is unusual because the overcoat is worn over the shoulders (see also KNIGHT HOSPITAL MONUMENT, New Haven) and because of the contemplative posture of the head. The severe weathering of the stone of the statue is dramatic, as compared to the good condition of the stone surface in the pedestal. Apparently, they are different brownstones.
The lettering "J.G.Batterson, Sculpt." in the base is not out of character for Batterson. He called himself an architect and sculptor, although in fact he was an entrepreneur who employed men with professional and artistic skills (see essay).
Most Connecticut Civil War monuments erected in the 1860s were simple obelisks (see CIVIL WAR MONUMENT, Cheshire, and SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, North Branford, for examples). SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Granby, is the earliest in Connecticut to have a figure, although Batterson had supplied a similar pedestal with the same figure to Deerfield, Massachusetts, the year before (dedicated September 4, 1867). An alternate figure furnished by Batterson, at parade rest wearing the overcoat in conventional manner, was adopted for the monument at Antietam, Maryland, on September 16, 1867. The Antietam version became standard for Civil War monument figures in Connecticut and elsewhere. The Deerfield monument is documented by drawings and correspondence in Keller's hand, strengthening the attribution for Keller and Conrads at Granby to near-certainty.
SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Granby, is sited at the northern end of a small park, which is the Town Green. It is dedicated to those who died in the war. A tennis court is next to the monument, while a late-20th-century light gray granite obelisk, commemorating several wars, is to the south. The park of 7/8 acre was increased in size by 0.3 acres in 1980 when the street configuration of the central intersection was altered.
The monument rests on a low mound. Thick evergreen shrubbery planted on the mound grows up to the level of the lower stage of the dado, obscuring the plinth, pedestal base, and some of the dado. The high plinth and high pedestal base lead up to a molding formed by two flat surfaces at 90 degrees to one another, just below the dado. The corners of this molding are broken off through deterioration, as are other corners of moldings and angles of stone on the monument.
The dado is in two stages, stepped in size. The top of the lower stage breaks out in a band that carries the battle names recorded below under a slanted surface that is transitional to the setback upper stage of smaller cross section. The top of the upper stage repeats the design of the top of the lower stage, with four raised stars in the band that breaks out, and the slanted surface above serving as cornice leading to the smaller mass above, this time the base of the figure. Corners of the upper tier are chamfered.
The soldier figure stands on a high two-tier base with his right foot forward. The musket is missing, but hands are in place to hold the barrel. The overcoat is worn over the shoulders, covering sack coat and waist belt. Socket of his bayonet is just visible at the left hip; a cap box is on the belt. The soldier wears luxuriant moustache and beard, and kepi. He is looking down, in a contemplative pose. The brownstone of the figure appears to be of different quality from the pedestal. The surface of the figure's stone is rough, perhaps because of weathering akin to the sugaring of marble; it seems to be eaten and pock-marked.
In the south section of the Green, beyond the tennis court, there is a gray granite obelisk with bronze plaques commemorating World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam Conflict. Two bronze plaques on the ground nearby have lists of names.
Front (south) face of base of statue, incised u.c. and l.c.:J.G. Batterson / Sculpt.
Front (south) face of pedestal base, incised u.c. and l.c.:"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more."
Above, lower stage of dado, incised caps:THIS MONUMENT IS ERECTED BY
IN COMMEMORATION OF THE BRAVE MEN
FROM THE TOWN OF GRANBY,
WHO LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES FOR THE UNION
IN THE WAR OF THE GREAT REBELLION.
ERECTED JULY 4, 1868.
Above, raised caps:ANDERSONVILLE
Above, upper stage of dado:(list of 10 names arranged by unit and showing date of death)
West face of pedestal base:"They that sow in tears will reap in joy."
Above, top of lower stage of dado:SHARPSBURG
Above, upper stage:(8 names with dates of deaths)
North side, top of plinth: U.S. Geological Survey in co-operation with the State of Connecticut Elevation above sea level 215 feet 182 W 1923 250 dollars fine for disturbing this mark
North face of pedestal base:"Death is swallowed up in victory."
East face of pedestal base:"Faithful unto death."
Baruch, p. 10.
The Bible, I Corinthians 15:54 for "Death is swallowed up in victory" (the next line is "O death, where is thy sting?"); The Revelation of St. John the Divine 2:10 for "Faithful unto death."
"Granby - Beautification Comes Near Park Centennial," The Hartford Courant, August 27, 1965.
The Granby Drummer, March 1972.
The Heritage of Granby (Granby: Salmon Brook Historical Society, 1965), pp. 69-73.
Carol Laun, Granby Municipal Historian, research notes. Salmon Brook Historical Society.
Minutes of Granby Town Meetings, v. 3, 1870, pp. 162, 196, 198, 200, 210, 215; and 1875, pp. 214, 215.
Resolution Incorporating the Granby Soldiers' Monument Association, Connecticut General Assembly, May Session, 1870.