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| || SOLDIERS' MONUMENT |
Intersection of SR 44 and SR 272
Type: Granite obelisk
Supplier: William A. Burdick
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Norfolk, is significant historically because it is an early example of a Civil War monument, erected soon after the war. It is a tangible symbol of the honor and respect accorded by the community to its Civil War dead.
The cost of $2,200 was defrayed in part by a town appropriation of $750, with the balance raised by private subscription. The year date of 1868 is given by Dennis.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Norfolk, is significant artistically because it is a simple but elegant design, refined in every detail. The monument depends upon its proportion and minimal well-chosen moldings for its grace. "The monument is simple, effective, grand: in its silent massiveness it shall tell the story to posterity of the steadfastness, even unto death, of those whose glorious deeds it commemorates, and whose memory it preserves" (Crissey, p. 315).
The monument dates from the early years after the war, before elaboration of Civil War monuments became fashionable. Its strength is its simplicity. While Isaac Gallup Smith, Jr., scion of the Smith Granite Company family, in his letter of February 6, 1994, states that it is a standard design, it is an example of the standard executed with notable skill and taste.
William A. Burdick, credited by Crissey and Dennis with design and production of the monument, was not a designer, but he was a prominent figure for decades in the Westerly, Rhode Island, granite-quarry industry. See also his SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, North Branford. Presumably, in these projects he sought commissions, then arranged for their execution in Westerly for his account.
SOLDIERS' MONUMENT, Norfolk, is a tall obelisk consisting of pedestal and tapered shaft of gray Westerly granite. Serenely sited in the center of Town Green, it was erected in 1868 to honor Norfolk soldiers who gave their lives in the war.
The lines of the monument are simple and modest. The plinth is a single riser. Transition from the base of the pedestal to the dado is accomplished by asymmetrical convex and concave moldings and a fillet. The dado's top corners are marked by lamb's tongue moldings. At each top corner, the face of the dado is cut away, recessed, in a line paralleling the lamb's tongue and continuing two-thirds of the way down the vertical edge or arris. Above the pedestal a low base and cyma molding lead to the tapered shaft, which terminates with a low pyramid.
Front (west) face of pedestal, incised caps:TO THE MEMORY OF THE
SOLDIERS FROM THIS TOWN
WHO DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY
IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION
(followed by 7 names with dates of death)
South face:(9 names and dates)
East:(9 names and dates)
North:(10 names and dates)
Theron Wilmot Crissey, comp., 1744-1900 History of Norfolk, Litchfield County, Connecticut (Everett, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Publishing Company, 1900), p. 315.
Frederick S. Dennis, The Norfolk Village Green (Norfolk, 1917), pp. 64 and 65.
Cay Fields, Norfolk Municipal Historian and Director, Norfolk Historical Museum, letter, October 5, 1993.
David F. Ransom, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Norfolk Historic District, Norfolk, Connecticut (Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Departent of the Interior, 1981).
Isaac Gallup Smith, Jr., letter, February 6, 1994.
Alice V. Waldecker, Norfolk historian, letter, February 28, 1994.