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East Rock Park
New Haven, CT
Dedicated: June 17, 1887
Type: Large square granite pedestal supporting tall round tapered shaft with bronze figures and plaques at base and figure at top
Sculptors: Moffit & Doyle
Foundries: Ames Manufacturing Company and Decorative Bronze Company
Supplier: Moffit & Doyle
Contractors: Smith & Sperry
Stone supplier and stonecutter: Hallowell Granite Company
SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, New Haven, is significant historically because it is a tangible symbol of the honor and respect tendered to its soldiers of several wars by the City of New Haven. The long process of organizing to erect the monument took many years. Dedication Day was a tremendous event, setting a crowd record for the state that may still stand of perhaps 20,000 people marching in the parade before spectators estimated to number 100,000 to 175,000.
Discussion about erecting a war memorial gained momentum in New Haven among members of the Admiral Foote Post of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1878. The G.A.R.'s interest developed a ground swell of public opinion of sufficient strength to cause the city's Common Council to assign a section of the New Haven Green to the Admiral Foote Post as a site for the memorial. On Memorial Day 1879 the site was dedicated with due ceremony.
There the matter rested. No one did anything about raising funds for the monument. There was talk about the desirability of a memorial hall or a free public library in preference to a monument. Nothing happened. Then, on December 5, 1882, an adjourned session of the annual town meeting appointed a committee to proceed with a monument, and appropriated $50,000 for its construction. One faction in the community contended that G.A.R. members had maneuvered events by turning up in large numbers at the adjourned session when light attendance was expected, and thus pushed through their measure in an illegal manner. The feeling was so strong that litigation ensued. The Connecticut General Assembly helped out by passing a resolution on February 28, 1883, that validated and confirmed the action taken by the adjourned town meeting. The courts also ruled that the action taken by the town meeting was in order. In February 1884 the important decision was made to change the site to East Rock Park.
Events went forward. The cornerstone, a block of granite 6' by 4' by 18", was laid on June 17, 1886. A band played, and there were speeches by Governor Henry B. Harrison and the mayor of New Haven. One thousand children participated in the ceremony. The local horse railroad brought all its own rolling stock into use and borrowed what it could from other lines to move people from city to park.
The Angel of Peace was put in place in March 1887, having been scheduled for the previous autumn. Prosperity took her position on June 7, 1887, with her three companions expected at the end of that week, just in time for the dedication. The monument was built without on-the-job accident.
One year to the day from the laying of the cornerstone, on June 17, 1887, the dedication of SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, took place. It was one of the great events in the city's history. Local newspaper coverage began well in advance. President Grover Cleveland, several members of his cabinet, mayors of leading New England cities, and many Civil War generals had been invited, and probably would attend, it was said. The announcement on May 23 that President Cleveland, like many of the others, would not attend did not dampen enthusiasm. A town meeting appropriated $15,000 for the day's expenses. Preparations were put in hand to serve a catered lunch and "collation" in "first-class style" to 750 people at a cost of $750 at the Hyperion Opera House. Arguments flourished over all aspects of the arrangements. There was jealousy within the state. Opposition was voiced in Waterbury and Hartford to participating in the ceremony, and many companies of the Connecticut National Guard threatened not to attend.
On June 6 Adjutant General Camp issued a long announcement about procedures. On June 7 General E.S. Greely, parade marshal, issued General Orders 1 and 2, a column-long listing of marching units and the route to be followed. Everything was set forth in the 48-page Official Program of Exercises Incident to the Dedication of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument at East Rock Park, New Haven, Conn., on Friday, June 17th, 1887. The parade was composed of seven Grand Divisions. The First Division included the Brigade of the Connecticut National Guard, the Putnam Phalanx, and the Governor's Foot Guard and Horse Guard. The Second Division was the Grand Army of the Republic. The Sixth Division was composed of Volunteer Veteran Firemen and civic societies, including the Fratellanza Italianna Society. The names of members of 24 committees were printed.
On the great day the crowds in the city were unprecedented. Even though the weather did not cooperate (it rained), 20,000 men, women, and children marched in the parade to the cheers of spectators estimated to number from 100,000 to 175,000. General William Tecumseh Sherman and General Philip Henry Sheridan were on hand for the occasion. Visitors arrived by train and by foot, by carriage and by horseback; a single train of 85 cars in four sections brought 5,000 people. "The scene at Union depot last night was undescribable," said the new New Haven Weekly Palladium. Downtown was elaborately decked out with decorative arches, banners, flags, and bunting. "The feature of the parade which undoubtedly attracted the most general and complimentary attention from visitors as well as people of New Haven," the Daily Palladium reported the next day, "was the Sunday School division with its guard of boys from the public schools." At the end of the day a 60-stage fireworks display brought the celebration to a close. The penultimate step was a grand illumination with India- and Chinese-colored fires of intense reflective powers, followed by the Grande Finale.
Seven years later a final component was added to the monument. As early as 1885 a proposal had been put forward to attach bronze tablets to the pedestal, listing the names of the soldiers and sailors who died in service during the Civil War. Carrying out this scheme was delayed for years, in part because of difficulty in collecting the names, ranks, and places of death of the honored dead. Nothing was accomplished by the time of the 1887 dedication, and a separate committee was formed to keep the project alive. In the early 1890s, funds were raised by public subscription, and on November 17, 1892, the committee opened bids from five parties for design of the tablets: Alexander Doyle, M.H. Mosman, Karl Gerhardt, Maurice J. Power, and an unidentified fifth bidder. The award for design went to Doyle, and the tablets were cast by Ames Manufacturing Company for $1,250.
After frustrating delays and dissatisfaction with the work (one tablet had to be re-cast), the two tablets, 8', 8" by 5', 6", listing 520 names, were affixed in the recesses of the pedestal on the northwest and southeast sides. Borders of the tablets are half-round raised moldings embellished with regimental insignia spaced by an interlacing ribbon. Dedication occurred on May 30, 1894. Timothy Dwight, president of Yale University, was asked to offer the dedicatory prayer; Governor Luzon B. Morris was present; and Simeon E. Baldwin, later Connecticut's chief justice, delivered the oration. At long last, New Haven's SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, was complete.
SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, New Haven, is significant artistically because it is an example of 19th-century allegorical and ideal art on a large scale. The four female figures on the base and the larger-than-life Angel of Peace at the top are in the tradition of sculpture as venerated in Rome, displaying everlasting truth and idealistic form which were considered to have a permanent uplifting influence in society. The bronze bas-relief plaques reflect the realism introduced by the Paris school of sculpture, and widely adopted in America, while the large scale and comprehensive design of the monument articulate the influence of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, is indeed a period piece, perhaps slightly retardataire in 1887, a major statement of what society in the mid- to late 19th century thought an important monument should be.
Records of the group that for years pursued the idea of a monument are in reasonably good order, providing rare insight into the decision-making process for planning a monument and selecting a design. While the minutiae are voluminous, almost beyond belief, unfortunately the reasons, the rationale, for taking major aesthetic decisions are not in the record.
There were well-known participants in the process, including John F. Weir of Yale University, who did not like the plan, and architect George Keller of Hartford. One faction simply wanted to give the commission to Augustus Saint-Gaudens. Such depth of particulars and accompanying sequence of events is an unusual resource for art and social historians.
The monument committee was chaired by General S.E. Merwin, Jr., proprietor of S.E. Merwin & Sons, pork packers and provision dealers. Merwin was a rising political figure at the time; he served as lieutenant governor of the state during 1889-1893. His committee advertised on or about April 17, 1883, for designs, the advertisement reading, "Designs are invited and proposals will be received until August 1, 1883, for erection of a Soldiers Monument in the City of New Haven, Conn." The cost was not to exceed $50,000, and $300 would be paid for a design accepted and approved. The advertisement was placed in the American Architect, a trade weekly published in Boston, in the Hartford and New Haven daily newspapers, and elsewhere. The intended site was the plot on the Green dedicated in 1879; now there was talk about demolishing the State House to improve the setting for the monument.
While the surviving records of the committee do not include a straightforward list of those who submitted designs in the competition, there is evidence that at least 21 individuals and firms responded, some from nearby, some from afar, some well known, some not so well known. The list of these respondents bears examination: T.H. Bartlett, sculptor, of Boston, wrote on July 11, 1883, saying there was not enough time, but he soon sent two designs on behalf of himself and his son, Paul W. Bartlett, who had been born in New Haven. One of their designs contemplated a 68'-high column surmounted by a 13' figure of Victory with four soldiers at the base, one representing each of the wars commemorated; Victory was to be gilded. A box followed by express on September 26, 1883, containing four sketches, a watercolor, and an oil painting--to help the committee visualize the entries. "Should none of the designs be satisfactory," Bartlett wrote, "we will undertake to make others." On October 8, 1883, he said, "The model in plaster that my son has sent from Paris has arrived" and would be delivered to New Haven.
C. Howard Walker, architect, of Boston, wrote that he had heard from Bartlett that Bartlett had been in New Haven to talk with the committee, whereas Walker had thought that a sealed competition was the procedure being followed. Walker said he, too, would like to come to New Haven; whether this request was granted is not known. Walker submitted two designs: one, to cost $44,500, he described as built of Knoxville marble with a central shaft supporting Liberty on a 12-sided base with bas-relief. Specifications included $2,800 for mosaics, although their nature was not spelled out. This is the only reference in the record to contemplated use of mosaics.
Brown and Stilson, architects of New Haven, submitted a sketch on October 12, 1883, of a monument of which only the base was to be executed in granite. Sculptured figures on each of the four sides were to be bronze or white metal (brittania); the shaft was to be yellow Ohio stone relieved with brownstone trim; and decorative elements were to be of terra-cotta. (See SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MEMORIAL ARCH, Hartford, for extensive use of terra-cotta.)
E. Smith Warren replied from Springfield, Massachusetts. He described his design for a stone monument with four sculptured figures at the base, a shaft with a figure on top, and a medallion of Abraham Lincoln on the side of the shaft.
Ross C. Adams of Carrera, Italy, inquired whether the committee might award $300 for a design and then contract elsewhere for its execution, or whether he who submitted the accepted design could expect to be awarded the contract for construction. In a letter dated June 5, 1883, the Hurricane Granite Company, 523 Market Street, Philadelphia, Lewis M. Hollowell, architect, also wanted to know if the successful design would carry the contract with it, as $300 was below the cost of preparing a design. A description of the site was requested.
New England Granite Works of Hartford (James G. Batterson, proprietor) asked on June 23, 1883, for news regarding its entry. Perhaps this inquiry was a follow-up to an undated description by New England Granite Works in the committee's records of what apparently was one of only two Neo-Classical Revival designs submitted. The statement described a monument 26' square at the base and 54' high. Scroll buttresses at each corner supported heavy fluted pilasters with capitals. Each side of the die was deeply recessed to form niches for reception of groups of statuary. The pilasters supported a richly carved frieze, the whole capped by a dome and surmounted by a colossal 14', 6" statue of Liberty. All sculpture was to be by Charles Conrads. (See essay for Conrads' important role in Connecticut Civil War sculpture.)
The other Neo-Classical Revival design was submitted on October 1, 1883, by Thomas Phillips & Son of New Haven. Its design, 80' tall overall, contemplated a Corinthian column with a cylindrical pedestal on a 26' square platform. Angular buttresses on the platform served as pedestals for four 8' statues representing infantry, cavalry, artillery, and navy. A later account said that a design by J.H. Phillips of New Haven received "favorable" consideration. Other firms and individuals, whose responses to the advertisement are preserved in the committee's records, were the following:
- Morgan's Bay Granite Company, 52 John Street, New York City, with quarries at East Blue Hill, Maine
- J.F. Le Baron, Jacksonville, Florida
- Frank T. Robinson, art critic of the Boston Transcript, who responded on behalf of Preston Powers, a sculptor in residence in Florence, Italy
- Herman H. Duper, Baltimore, Maryland
- Robert Smith, 101 Henry Street, Brooklyn, New York
- Montreal Marble & Granite Works, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
- Monumental Bronze Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut
- Edgar L. Intil, Boston, Massachusetts
- Henry 0. Avery, architect, New York City
- E. Loomis Angell, Bridgeport, Connecticut
- M. E. Beebe, architect and superintendent (presumably of construction), Buffalo, New York, design to be executed in granite and bronze, submitted on July 28, 1883
- William Rabaljc, architect, of no given address.
In their first letter, dated July 23, 1883, Moffit & Doyle, Associated Sculptors, No. 6 Great Jones Street, New York City, made it clear that they wished to be considered for the construction contract as well as for the design. However, they sought to prevent others from performing both functions when in their October 30, 1883, letter acknowledging tardiness they inquired if they could still submit a design, and if not whether they could estimate on supplying whatever design was selected.
Moffit & Doyle prepared a design in the fall of 1883 which they said could be built of granite, or whatever material the committee preferred. They described a 40'- to 50'-monument with a colossal statue of Peace atop a shaft, a drum with four bas-reliefs, and four statues, of Valor, Victory, Army, and Navy ("not the inevitable private at parade rest"). Their wording was studiously vague, everything was approximate and subject to change to suit the committee, but the final result, with a change in names for the figures and with height added to the shaft, was quite close to their first description. Moffit & Doyle wrote again on November 16, 1883, and on February 8, 1884, trying to elicit some response from the committee, though apparently without success.
By October 1, the design subcommittee reported, 15 designs had been submitted from 21 individuals or firms who inquired in response to the advertisement. Evidently, not all actually submitted designs.
In the fall of 1883 the Common Council decided not to remove the State House from the Green. As the site subcommittee by now considered removal of the State House to be critical, the Green was no longer regarded as a suitable place for the monument. The question of where to put the monument was discussed anew, and in February 1884, East Rock Park was finally selected.
At this juncture, Connecticut's leading designer of Civil War monuments, George Keller of Hartford, was brought into the picture. Keller had designed the Soldiers National Monument, Gettysburg, and the U.S. Soldier Monument, Antietam, while employed by James G. Batterson. After leaving Batterson, Keller won competitions for a monument in Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1874 (never executed); for the Civil War Monument in Manchester, New Hampshire (1879); for the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Buffalo (1882-1884); SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MEMORIAL ARCH, Hartford (1884-1886); and for the President James Garfield National Memorial, Cleveland (1885). (Moffit & Doyle took third place in the Garfield competition.)
Apparently the committee wrote to Keller on January 26, 1884, for in his response of February 4 he cited its inquiry, stating that he wished to submit a design only if the committee had abandoned those already submitted and was therefore free to seek a new source. Keller had pursued a similar policy, effectively, in the Hartford SOLDIERS AND SAILORS MEMORIAL ARCH project. On July 14 and July 29, 1884, Keller wrote again, noting that the monument was to be placed in East Rock Park and suggesting a visit to the site and a meeting with the committee. Finally, on October 31, after reviewing his unanswered inquiries, Keller said, "Inasmuch as the preparation of a design involves considerable study, time, and expense, and the inducements of the committee are so very slight to those entering the competition, I regret that I will be unable to submit a design."
Several months after approaching Keller, an even more eminent designer was sought by the committee, as indicated by pencil notes that appear to be minutes of a meeting of the design subcommittee held June 21 (presumably 1884) with four members present, but not General Merwin. The committee voted to return all designs theretofore presented, stating that none was acceptable, and then appropriated $1,500 "for the purpose of procuring designs for a monument on East Rock Park" from Augustus Saint-Gaudens. While it is understandable that the committee should have considered Saint-Gaudens because he was the best-known sculptor and monument designer of the day, there is no specific explanation of why it turned to him at this late date.
Moffit & Doyle caught wind of this turn of events, for on June 18, 1884, Doyle wrote the Committee that it
would be an act of injustice if your Committee should decide to give the work to any sculptor not hitherto connected with the competition without giving those competitors who have already submitted meritorious designs for the monument (when it was intended to place it on the Green) an equal chance for the work. Of course, I well understand that no such decision has been made by the Committee and consequently am not making the slightest charge of injustice....
Whether Doyle's implied threat was persuasive, or for whatever reason, the record contains no further reference to Saint-Gaudens. Instead, by a note dated July 14, 1884, General Merwin asked the committee secretary to write a letter "like the enclosed to those having designs we favor." Unfortunately, the enclosure has not survived, but the implication is that the committee wished selected entrants to re-submit designs suitable for the changed location. Merwin's note lists the following eight names:
- Moffit & Doyle
- New England Granite Company
- Hurricane Granite Company
- T.H. Bartlett
- Ross Adams
- M.E. Beebe
- Preston Powers
How many of the eight submitted revised designs is unknown, but several did. Avery of New York, not in the group, had anticipated events on March 28, 1884, by sending a new drawing for East Rock Park. He described his new design as having four bronze bas-reliefs commemorating the four wars, a shaft capped by the figure of Reknown holding out wreaths of reward to the brave, and in the capital of the shaft the eagle and shield, emblems of the nation. In a letter accompanying Avery's, Browne, McAllister & Company, Steam Granite Works, 431-39 West 14th Street, New York City, with quarry at Round Pond, Maine, quoted $10,000 for the casting of the sculptural bronze. With the foundations, Avery projected the total cost at $26,000, or $24,000 less than the appropriation, but he said the height could be increased from 59' to 75' to increase the cost. On July 26, 1884, Avery, in receipt of a negative letter from the committee dated July 22, requested the return of his three designs.
Moffit & Doyle, again exhibiting good information sources on the committee's deliberations, wrote on May 9, 1884, saying they understood East Rock Park was to be the site, in which event they judged a tall conspicuous monument would be desirable and they would like to submit a design.
The notice proposed by General Merwin July 14 and sent out July 15 and 22, 1884, brought additional responses. Ross Adams advised on August 11, 1884, that he would prepare a plan suitable for the new location by November, to consist of a shaft rising to a height of 72' on a base 26' wide, in New England gray granite. He contemplated a shaft composed of a cluster of four columns surmounted by a 12' statue of Liberty, with four 8'-high figures around the base. Hurricane Granite Company wrote on July 17 that it would be pleased to make a new study, and on January 29, 1885, inquired what disposition had been made in the matter.
Three new entrants appeared at this time, although it is uncertain whether by invitation or not, and whether they actually submitted designs. Westerly Granite Company, 1556 Nassau Street, New York City, with quarries at Westerly, Rhode Island, wrote on July 15, 1884, asking for details of the competition. George E. Bissell of Waterbury wrote on July 21, 1884, and M. H. Mosman of Chicopee, Massachusetts, designer and sculptor, followed suit on July 29, 1884, saying that an item in the newspapers led him to infer the committee was receptive to new proposals.
New England Granite Works elected to pursue the matter no further. It wrote on July 31, 1884, "Please give to bearer our design for Soldier's Monument & oblige." But Preston Powers wrote from Florence in August that he would send another design.
On March 22, 1885, the subcommittee on design decided to recommend acceptance of the Moffit & Doyle entry, and award of the contract for construction to them. The next day the full committee adopted the recommendations, but Professor John F. Weir of Yale University, a committee member, dissented. He had two objections: first, he said, East Rock Park was not suitable for the design selected since the promontory was too large a base for such a monument, and, second, the design was more of an observatory than a monument. He resigned from the committee and later asked that his name be omitted from a list of committee members to be affixed to the monument.
The Moffit & Doyle price now was $65,000, with the statuary and bas-relief to be in terra-cotta. The committee insisted on $50,000 and on bronze for the statuary. Somehow, the committee was accommodated, perhaps by scaling down the size to which the design had grown. Construction finally began in the spring of 1886.
Principals in the successful firm were two sculptors. John M. Moffit (1837-1887) was born in England and came to America as a youth. He designed the figures that represent the four ages of man at the entrance to Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, the reredos in Packer Memorial Church, Brooklyn, and many altars for New York City churches. The particulars of his death at the age of 50, in the year that the East Rock Park monument was dedicated, are not known. The other sculptor, Alexander Doyle (1857-1922), was born in Steubenville, Ohio. At the age of nine he went to live with his family in Italy where he studied sculpture in Florence and Rome, returning to the United States in 1878. How soon thereafter he went into partnership with Moffit is not known, but they entered the 1883 competition for the Garfield National Memorial at Cleveland, which was won by George Keller. At the most, their partnership could have lasted nine years, from 1878 to 1887. Doyle's work includes a bronze statue of General Philip Schuyler in Saratoga, New York, a marble statue of President James Garfield in Cleveland, a bronze statue of General James R. Steedman in Toledo, Ohio, and a marble statue of Senator Benjamin H. Hill in Atlanta, as well as a bronze statue of Horace Greeley in New York City, a monument to Henry Grady in Atlanta, and statues of Thomas Hart Benton and of Blair and John E. Kenna in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol.
The Moffit & Doyle correspondence with the committee was carried on by Doyle. In his first letter, July 23, 1883, Doyle enumerated some of the firm's work, including a colossal bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee ("the largest in America"), a heroic bronze equestrian statue of General Albert Sidney Johnston, and a marble portrait of Mrs. Margaret Haughery (all for the public parks of New Orleans), and all the granite sculptures for the national monument at Yorktown, Virginia. In later letters he mentioned others. "[We] have in hand," Doyle wrote on February 9, 1884, "probably more important public commissions than any other [firm] in America." The only other Civil War monument known to have been designed by Moffit & Doyle is Soldier's Monument, Montgomery, Alabama. They sculpted the statues for soldiers' monuments at Peabody, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Moffit also was the artist for GENL. GRIFFIN A. STEDMAN, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Hartford.
The committee's records are silent on the question of why it chose Moffit & Doyle. It is possible to speculate that the firm's record was a factor. The committee obviously was interested in prominent names, and after the abortive flirtations with George Keller and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Moffit & Doyle and the Bartletts probably were the biggest names available to it. Moreover, the Moffit & Doyle design was conventional, probably a desirable feature to a group of citizens not known to have extensive knowledge in the arts, and who were responsible for spending public funds. Also, Doyle's expertise in handling the committee cannot be overlooked. He couched everything in tentative terms, subject to change to suit the committee, indicating from the first that there would be no "artistic temperament" difficulties. He developed good intelligence sources for local information that helped him fend off the Saint-Gaudens threat in a timely fashion, and that enabled him to be one of the first with a recommendation for the East Rock Park site. Moffit & Doyle were competent professional competitors; they worked hard at it, and did not despair over the various changes and delays; they eventually won out.
The sculptors subcontracted the actual construction to the New Haven firm of Smith & Sperry. Hallowell Granite Company, Hallowell, Maine, supplied, and presumably cut, the red granite. The bronze castings were made by Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts, and by Decorative Bronze Company of New York City. It is not clear which foundry cast which pieces.
SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, New Haven, is located high on a promontory at the summit of the park. It is visible as a needle on the horizon for miles around. The monument is an elaborate composition of base, shaft, and figures, 110' high in all. It is dedicated to New Haven men who served in four wars: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Civil War.
SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, consists of a tall round shaft of smooth, finished granite rising from a massive square pedestal of rock-faced granite ashlar. Four bronze female figures are seated at the corners of the pedestal, and one stands atop the shaft. Four bronze bas-relief panels are set between the statues at the base of the shaft.
Distance from the ground to the top of the crowning statue of 110' is a little less than one-third of the height of the bluff. The monument is approached from all four sides by five 18"-wide steps that form a stylobate 40' square. The top step is 4' wide, to provide a promenade all around the pedestal. The base of the shaft, resting on the pedestal, is composed of a sculptured wreath, four courses of smooth stepped granite, and a ring of 13 raised stars.
Recessed double doors, facing the city on the southwest side of the pedestal, lead to the interior. Over the doorway raised lettering in granite reads "GETTYSBURG PORT HURON FORT FISHER 1861- 1865." The bronze bas-relief above the lettering depicts Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox. On the next face of the pedestal, to the southeast, there is a bronze tablet in the central recess listing names of New Haven men who died in the Civil War. The lettering above reads "BUNKER HILL BENNINGTON SARATOGA 1775-1783," and the bas-relief is a scene of Cornwallis surrendering to Washington at Yorktown. The northeast side has "LAKE ERIE LAKE CHAMPLAIN NEW ORLEANS 1812-1815" over false doors, with a sculptured panel of Perry's flotilla at Lake Erie, while the northwest side reads "PALO ALTO MOLINO DEL RAY CHAPULTEPEC 1846-1848" over a second recessed tablet of more names of Civil War dead. The bas-relief shows a triumphant Scott entering Mexico City.
The plain, slightly tapered shaft, 10' in diameter at its base, rises for 75' without interruption except for five louvered openings that light an interior spiral iron stairway (now in disrepair). At the top there is an observation level, then a truncated cone that supports the crowning statue, the Angel of Peace.
The observation level has four 2' x 5' round-headed unglazed windows in a frieze. Shell moldings that define the top and bottom of the frieze break out over and below the windows to form their lintels and sills. The sills are supported by foliated brackets. The windows afford a view of New Haven, New Haven harbor, Long Island Sound, and in the distance, Long Island.
The stepped truncated cone above the observation level broadens out into a base edged with another molding, this time of shells embellished with rosettes, on which stands the 11' Angel of Peace. She looks out over the city raising an olive branch in her left hand and holding a wreath close to her waist in her right.
The four other allegorical figures in bronze at the corners of the pedestal are 9' high. History, facing west, peruses an open book in her lap. Patriotism, facing south, is a bare-necked bare-armed warrior, drawing a sword. Victory, facing east, holds a laurel leaf and trumpet in her hands. Prosperity, facing north, has a horn of plenty on her shoulder.
The surrounding 350-acre park was laid out by Donald G. Mitchell (1822-1908) in 1882. It may be that a frame pavilion with porches on three sides (demolished ca.1920s) already was standing near the future site of the monument. A crescent-shaped body of land, East Rock Park lies about two miles northeast of the New Haven Green, with its convex side toward the city. The striking feature of the park is its great basaltic cliff reaching an elevation of 360', with its precipitous face extending some 1,800' in length. "The bold picturesqueness of the site," Mitchell wrote in his 1882 report to the park commissioners, "does not invite the niceties of conventional gardening. The things best worth seeing there will always be the rocks and woods and views as nature has shaped them." Mitchell planned the roads (now paved) to provide access to the area, and left the woods. His plans have been largely respected over the years. In his 1882 report he proposed a "Look-out Tower" for the summit. The monument was built five years later.
Baruch, p. 17.
Elizabeth Mills Brown, New Haven, A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976), p. 33.
Donald G. Mitchell, A Report to the Commissioners on the Lay-out of East Rock Park, New Haven, 1882.
New Haven Journal and Courier, June 18, 1887.
New Haven Register, March 7, 1885; Monument Day Supplement, March 27, 1885; and September 17, 1887.
New Haven Weekly Palladium, June 23, 1887, 3:7.
Official Program of Exercises Incident to the Dedication of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument at East Rock Park, New Haven, Conn., on Friday, June 17th, 1887, John B. Hudson, pub.
David F. Ransom, "The East Rock Soldiers and Sailors Monument," The Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 46(April 1981):45-59.
_______________, George Keller, Architect (Hartford: The Stowe-Day Foundation, 1978).
Floyd M. Shumway, "The Much-Loved Landmark Atop East Rock," in Centennial Celebration, Soldiers and Sailors Monument, East Rock Park, New Haven, CT, Sunday, September 20, 1987, pp. 1-11.
SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, East Rock Park, committee records and other papers related to the monument, Document Group 51. New Haven Colony Historical Society. Correspondence received by the committee from the competitors is the largest category of documents in the collection.
W.S. Wells, letter to Timothy Dwight, dated May 30, 1894, written on stationery of the Admiral Foote Post, No. 17, Grand Army of the Republic. New Haven Colony Historical Society.