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| || THOMAS McMANUS PLAQUE |
657 Maple Avenue
Dedicated: September 1, 1923
Type: Bronze plaque on granite stele
Sculptor: John G. Hardy
Foundry: Gorham Company
Heights: Plaque, 48"; stele, 7', 6"
THOMAS McMANUS PLAQUE is significant historically because it is a memorial to a prominent individual who participated in the Civil War. Thomas McManus was born in Hartford January 20, 1834, four years after his parents emigrated from Ireland. After graduating from Hartford Public High School, he learned the carpenter's trade and plied it for several years in repair shops of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Rail Road. He then studied law in the offices of Eaton & Collier, being admitted to the bar January 20, 1864.
McManus served in the Union Army, 1862-1863, as a major in the 25th Connecticut Regiment. He saw active service in Louisiana and commanded his regiment at Port Hudson. After the war he was active in veterans' organizations and reunions, being a chief organizer for the erection of the nearby GRIFFIN A. STEDMAN MONUMENT. The 25th Regiment Veterans Association was responsible for THOMAS McMANUS PLAQUE. McManus served as a judge, member of the General Assembly, and director of the Connecticut State Prison at Wethersfield.
At the September 1, 1923, ceremonies the memorial was unveiled by his daughter, Ellen McManus Dooley. The Reverend John J. McCook made remarks, on the traditional subjects of liberty, law, and Union 58 years after the war was over.
THOMAS McMANUS PLAQUE is significant artistically because it is in the tradition of realistic memorial sculpture. Realistic memorial sculpture, such as THE McMANUS bust, continued in favor in America through the early 20th century, when abstract non-representational art influenced much work in the wider field of sculpture. John G. Hardy, sculptor, is not listed in the standard directories. The Gorham Company of Providence, Rhode Island, cast many bronze plaques and figures for memorials in the early 20th century.
THOMAS McMANUS PLAQUE is mounted on a gray/tan granite slab in the center of a small triangular park adjacent to Barry Square at the junction of Campfield and Maple Avenues. The initial camping grounds for Hartford Civil War volunteers was here; hence the name of the street.
The gray/tan granite slab or boulder is large, 7 1/2 ' high, 5' thick, and craggy, with rough surfaces and rough edges. The bronze plaque is recessed into the stone. It has a bas-relief head-and-shoulders bust of McManus in profile, looking to his left, wearing coat, weskit, and bow tie. Full beard and moustache set off a prominent nose. He displays a serious, focused expression.
Lower right corner of plaque, small incised caps:JOHN G. HARDY / Sc
Lower left:GORHAM Co. FOUNDRYS
Raised band, part of sculpture bas-relief:1834 THOMAS McMANUS 1914
Below:BORN IN HARTFORD HE LIVED
HERE AND DIED RICH IN
THE ESTEEM OF HIS FELLOWS
MAJOR OF THE 25TH INFANTRY
CONNECTICUT VOLUNTEERS 1862 - 1863
HE WAS A BRAVE SOLDIER BELOVED
BY HIS MEN
UPON THIS FIELD WHICH WAS ONCE
THEIR CAMPING GROUND HIS SURVIVING
COMRADES IN AFFECTIONATE MEMORY
HAVE PLACED THIS TABLET AS A
TRIBUTE TO HIS MERIT AND
PATRIOTISM AS CITIZEN AND SOLDIER 1923
Hartford in 1912 (Hartford: Hartford Post, 1912), p. 157.
Unidentified clipping dated "9-2-23" in scrapbook, v. 8, p. 156, presumably Hartford Courant or Hartford Times. Hartford Public Library.
Public Art Survey, City of Hartford Fine Arts Commission, 1974.