| Naugatuck |
view large image
| || SOLDIERS' MONUMENT |
229 Church Street
Dedicated: May 30, 1885
Type: Granite pedestal, shaft, and figure
Designer, fabricator, supplier: Ryegate Granite Company
Height: Approximately 35'
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Naugatuck, is significant historically because it is a symbol of the honor and respect tendered by the citizens of Naugatuck to those who served in the conflict of 1861-1865. The Isbell Post of the Grand Army of the Republic began a campaign to erect a monument in autumn 1879. On February 3, 1880, the town voted to spend not more than $3,500 for the purpose. The site selected was School Green. The post raised $1,460 for the project, and asked the town to provide the balance of $2,000 by taxation. At a special town meeting in November 1882, it was voted to do so. Contract was let to Ryegate Granite Company, South Ryegate, Vermont, in October 1884.
Prominent citizens associated themselves with the effort. Chief among the supporters was Bronson B. Tuttle, chairman of the committee, and John H. Whittemore, who were the owners of the Eastern Malleable Iron Company, Naugatuck's principal industry. Receipts of the Soldiers' Monument Fund were $4,523.41. Disbursements were $3,500 for the monument, $385 for the curbing, and $577 for the celebration. $61 was unexpended.
The dedication on Memorial Day 1885 was a major civic event. The day began with a "national salute," fired at dawn. Throughout the day thousands participated; refreshments were served. The main oration was delivered by the Reverend Edwin S. Lines, rector of Saint Paul's Church, New Haven, who was a Naugatuck native. At the end, "Evening trains carried away the guests of the day."
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Naugatuck, is significant artistically because it is an example of the pedestal, shaft, and figure design with unusual emphasis on quarry-finished surfaces. This technique may be associated with the supplier, Ryegate Granite Company, South Ryegate, Vermont. So far as is known, the Naugatuck monument is the only one in Connecticut produced by Ryegate. How Ryegate happened to be selected for the commission is not known.
The high-relief quarry finish of most of the planes in the monument is distinctive, setting it apart from others. The nicely tooled smooth borders are effective in contrast. The risers of the base, the arched frames of the dado faces, the sections of the shaft, the face of the cornice, and the face of the statue base all conform to the plan, giving an effective sense of unity to the monument. Such extensive use of quarry-finished surfaces is seldom found elsewhere. The figure appears to be conventional. Information about the design and execution of SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Naugatuck, is regrettably limited.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Naugatuck, is sited in the center of a public space known in 1885 as School Green, now Town Green. The Green is surrounded by a school, the (new) City Hall, and two churches. An 1895 fountain designed by McKim, Mead & White is a few feet west of the monument, while a World War I memorial flagpole by Evelyn Beatrice Batchelder Longman is across the street to the west. The site has been developed extensively since the monument was erected.
The gray granite memorial consists of a base, pedestal, shaft, and surmounting soldier's figure. It honors all men from Naugatuck who served in the Union forces. The dados of the pedestal carry inscriptions, while battle names are lettered in three horizontal bands on each face of the shaft, as listed below.
A circle of granite curbing 9" high by 14" deep with rounded top surrounds a bed of flowers at the foot of the monument. The faces of the base's three risers, and the balance of the monument as well, are quarry-finished in high-relief set off by smoothly tooled margins. The inscriptions on the faces of the dado are within raised borders, slightly peaked at the top. Bold moldings assist the transition from pedestal to shaft, which again is heavily quarry-finished with the bands for battle names robustly carved. The coved capital of the shaft is supported by two carved foliate brackets on each face. Its crown molding is quarry-finished.
The capital supports a two-tier base for the figure, the first level quarry-finished, the second smooth. The figure stands with his right foot forward. The butt of his rifle is in front of his left foot, at right angles to the right foot. His uniform overcoat, with cape, is knee-length. A cartridge box is attached to his belt at right hip, bayonet at left. Right hand is on the rifle muzzle, left at mid-barrel. The face, turned a few degrees to the right, has moustache and goatee, under visored cap.
Front (east) face of pedestal, raised caps:ERECTED BY THE CITIZENS OF
IN MEMORY OF HER SONS
WHO FOUGHT TO MAINTAIN
Above:CEDAR MOUNTAIN / WILDERNESS / FT. WAGNER
North:THE DEEDS OF THOSE
WHO DIED IN DEFENSE
OF THE GOVERNMENT
OF THE PEOPLE
Above:MALVERN HILL / GETTYSBURG / ATLANTA
West:THE CITIZEN SOLDIER,
FEARLESS IN WAR,
INDUSTRIOUS IN PEACE.
Above:CHANCELLORSVILLE / PETERSBURG / ANTIETAM
South:MAY THE GOD OF NATIONS
OUR COUNTRY IN THE
BOND OF PEACE
"The Soldiers' Monument, Naugatuck, Conn., Decoration Day, 1885," dedication booklet. Naugatuck Public Library.