Connecticut's Civil War Monuments

 
 

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Litchfield

MONUMENT, Litchfield
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  MONUMENT

The Green
4 Camp Hill Road
Northfield in Litchfield, CT

Erected: September 1866
Type: Brownstone obelisk with flame finial
Sculptor: Julius Grover
Supplier and stonecarver: Nelson Bolles
Height: Approximately 20'

Historical Significance

MONUMENT, Northfield in Litchfield, is significant historically because it is an early example of a Civil War memorial. Such monuments were just beginning to appear in the year after the end of hostilities. It is also significant because it is the only monument in Northfield, and consequently has always been known simply as the MONUMENT.

A committee to erect MONUMENT was chosen at Center Schoolhouse on January 16, 1866. The plan was to have the monument in place on the selected site on the Green, recently vacated by the Episcopal Church, for July 4, 1866, but delays put off the day until September. Thirteen yoke of oxen drew the stone from Marble Dale in Washington, Connecticut, under the charge of Northfield resident Joel Thorpe.

During the mid-1980s the monument was rehabilitated by Mr. Keck of Terryville. The good condition of the fence indicates that it, too, has received effective maintenance and repair in recent years.

Artistic Significance

MONUMENT, Northfield in Litchfield, is significant artistically because it is an early example of a Civil War memorial. Also, it is significant because of the concept and graceful lines of its finial. The flame may be an eternal light, tying in with the sentiment expressed on the shaft that those who died should never be forgotten.

Nelson Bolles, a stonecutter in Marble Dale, a quarry town 15 miles to the west, supplied the monument. Marble Dale takes its name from the stone found there; whether there also was a brownstone quarry in the vicinity at one time is not known. The lamp finial was carved by Julius Grover, an uncle of a Northfield resident, Mrs. Albert Wedge. Nothing is known of his artistic background.

Description:

MONUMENT, Northfield in Litchfield, is sited in the center of Northfield's Green, a small triangular park. Surrounded by a fine cast-iron fence 31" high, it is an embellished brownstone obelisk dedicated to those who died in Civil War service.

The fence is composed of elliptical balusters set between upper and lower rails bordered by C curves. At the joins (cusps) of the C curves of the upper rail a pointed leaf motif reinforces the rhythm and vertical thrust established by the balusters. The paneled corner posts are topped by vase finials.

MONUMENT rests on a rubble foundation. A brownstone plinth supports the pedestal, which has names of the dead lettered on its four faces. The name LINCOLN is in raised capitals above the pedestal at the base of the shaft. A similar treatment exists at SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Plymouth. The outstanding feature of MONUMENT is its finial. Thin anthemia leaves form the square base of the finial, rising to a coved cornice from which emerges a double flame.

Lettering

(All names are of men who were killed in action or died in hospital.)

Front (south) face of dado, incised large/small caps:

(3 names)

    Shaft, above dado, raised caps:

LINCOLN

    Above, small incised caps:

"THAT THE GENERATIONS TO COME / MIGHT KNOW THEM."

East:

(3 names)

West:

(2 names)

Sources

William E. Devlin, Historic and Architectural Resource Survey of Northfield, Connecticut, Statewide Historic Resource Inventory, Form #5, Connecticut Historical Commission, Hartford, 1986.

Many newspaper clippings in bound volume 1925-1934. Gilbert Library, Northfield.

Margo D. Scott, A Village to Remember (Privately printed, 1990), cover il. and p. 14.