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| || SOLDIERS' MONUMENT |
Intersection of SR 7 (Main Street) and SR 341 (Bridge and Maple Streets)
Dedicated: June 9, 1886
Type: Granite obelisk on aedicula
Architect: Robert W. Hill, attr.
Supplier: Plymouth Granite Company, attr.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Kent, is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of honor and respect paid by the Kent community to its men who served in the Civil War. An undated unidentified newspaper clipping gives an account of its dedication ceremony. The dedication date is established by the "Programme for Soldiers' Monument Presentation, at Kent, Wednesday, June 9, 1886." Since the date on the monument is 1885, it appears that the dedication was delayed for a year after erection, for reasons unknown.
A parade celebrated the dedication with marching veterans from Kent and Cornwall, the Sharon Band, and the Mattatuck Drum Corps, followed by dinner at the town hall. The Honorable B.G. Northrup noted that Kent's was the third monument in the Housatonic River Valley, following Derby and Sharon. His principal message was that when a monument immortalizes the memory of dead heroes, it performs its highest mission in quickening patriotism. This theme dominated most Civil War monument dedication speeches: the dead were honored and the living were encouraged to prepare to die. Ex-Governor Charles B. Andrews was the final speaker.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Kent, is significant artistically because it is a near-duplicate of the earlier (1871) SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Woodbury. Kent is a darker gray granite and has three risers in its base instead of two, incised rather than raised state seal, and base 7' square instead of 6'. But the trabeated dado or aedicula, the main design feature, is the same and the obelisk is the same. Accordingly, SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Kent, is attributed to Robert W. Hill, the well-known architect of Waterbury whose creation of SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Woodbury, is documented, and Plymouth Granite Company is considered to be the fabricator for the same reason. The possibility remains that others copied their work.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Kent, is in the middle of the intersection of Main Street (SR 7), where it becomes South Main Street, and SR 341 where Bridge Street becomes Maple Street. A low concrete curb circles the monument close to it; passing traffic comes within a few feet of the monument. It is dedicated to all Kent men who served in the Civil War.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Kent, consists of a high base, aedicule dado, and tall obelisk shaft. The monument rests on a concrete pad, reflecting the fact that it was moved in 1924 a few feet west, from the true center of the intersection, when SR 7 was widened. In the high base of three risers, the face of the top riser is polished, to receive the lettering recorded below. The aedicula is designed with flanking fluted pilasters on scrolled bases. The fluting is broken half-way up the pilaster by a diamond, while each pilaster capital carries a raised polished star. There is little in the way of architrave or frieze in support of the low pediment. The lines of the pediment are horizontal on either side of the central peak. All four faces of the dado are polished surfaces, but only the front has lettering; the others are plain. Because the lettering is incised in a polished surface, it is difficult to read. A panel at the base of the shaft is rounded at the top. On the front the Seal of Connecticut is incised under the rounded line. The tall slightly tapered obelisk shaft terminates in a pyramid.
Front (northeast) face of third riser in base, caps incised in polished surface:ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF KENT / 1885
Above, dado:A TRIBUTE OF
HONOR AND GRATITUDE
TO HER CITIZENS
WHO FOUGHT FOR
LIBERTY AND UNION
Unidentified, undated (1886) clipping giving account of dedication ceremonies, at Kent Public Library.
Emily M. Hopson, Kent Municipal Historian, letter, July 16, 1994.
Programme for Soldiers' Monument Presentation, at Kent, Wednesday, June 9, 1886.