| Guilford |
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| || SOLDIER'S MONUMENT |
31 Park Street
Dedicated: May 30, 1877 (pedestal); June 2, 1887 (entire monument)
Type: Granite pedestal and figure
Designer: Firm of James G. Batterson
Supplier of Pedestal: John Beattie
Supplier of Figure: Thomas Phillips and Son
Height: Approximately 15'
SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Guilford, is significant historically because of its stop-and-start record of creation, not atypical for Civil War monuments. Discussion within the community for a Soldier's Monument began as early as 1872, but resulted in no action. Several years later, when $1,300 was raised, a Batterson design, already submitted, was modified and contract given to John Beattie. He produced the base only, of local pink granite, and it was duly dedicated on May 30, 1877. In 1879 the die, lettered, was placed on the base, presumably by Beattie since the stone is the same.
Finally, in 1884, the matter was revived and completed by contracting with Thomas Phillips & Son of New Haven to furnish a figure of Quincy, Massachusetts, granite. A second dedication occurred on June 2, 1887, with those in attendance including Governor Phineas C. Lounsbury, United States Senators Joseph R. Hawley and Orville H. Platt, representatives of Grand Army of the Republic posts, and many others. Entire cost was $2,585, consisting of $1,215 for the base and die, $935 for the statue, and $435 for expenses and ceremonies.
Conjecture suggests that the initial decision not to use the Batterson firm, which would have supplied stone from its Westerly quarries, was based on understandable community pride and desire to have the monument made from stone quarried locally. Possibly, the Guilford-area quarry did not have the artistic talent and stonecutting capability to produce the figure. The alternative of returning to Batterson, who could have supplied the figure, probably was out of the question. Phillips was an established firm with connections of long standing to major quarries, and was able to furnish the figure from Quincy.
The history is clouded by a statement in a 1937 Shore Times clipping that the statue is of Rhode Island granite. The color of the statue granite, however, is too dark for Westerly, is the expected color for Quincy, and supports the record that Phillips supplied a Quincy product.
Another odd item of information is that the General Assembly, both House and Senate, passed House Bill 468 in 1931, for the appointment of a commission of three residents of Guilford to maintain the Soldier's Monument on the Green. Activities of this commission, if any, are not known.
SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Guilford, is significant artistically because of the mixture of talents and stones that went into its creation. An early design proposal was made by the James G. Batterson firm of Hartford for base, die and pedestal, and figure, but not adopted. Several years later the Batterson design, modified, became (except for the figure) the basis for a contract awarded to John Beattie, about whom nothing is known, who used the pink granite from nearby Leete's Island quarry, which is similar to the better known local Stony Creek granite. Ten years later the figure of gray Quincy granite was furnished by Thomas Phillips & Son of New Haven.
The Guilford monument is conventional in design, but highly unusual in that it was furnished by two different suppliers using different colors of granite, ten years apart, to the basic concept furnished by a third party.
SOLDIER'S MONUMENT, Guilford, consists of a tall base and high dado of pink granite, no shaft, and a conventional figure of gray granite. Facing south in the center of Guilford Green, it memorializes those Guilford men who died, and all who served, in the war of 1861-1865.
A 1990 photograph shows the monument surrounded by shrubbery, now gone. In its place is a platform of pink granite squares. The monument is pink granite, except the figure. Three tall risers form the base. The third riser, which may be considered the base of the dado, is in two stages. The upper stage is a cyma molding with a small segmental pediment projecting from it in a plane with the first stage. This surface, on the front, is inscribed with the lettering recorded below. Since the surface is polished granite, the incised lettering is difficult to read. On the other three sides, surfaces of the same shape are plain, without lettering.
There is a battle name in each of the four sides at the next stage, which is the bottom of the dado. The die of polished granite contains the incised lettering recorded below. At the top of the die a band of raised polished stars runs around all four sides. The pedestal cornice is stepped out to support a small truncated pyramidal-shaped section with top scotia molding, on which rests the base of the gunmetal gray figure.
The soldier stands at rest with his right foot forward and pointed slightly to his right. Butt of the rifle is in front of his left foot, parallel with the right foot. Left hand is over right at the muzzle. He wears overcoat with cape. Accoutrements are suspended from waist belt at his right hip and at back, bayonet at left hip. Looking to his right, the soldier is wearing moustache and kepi.
South front of base of pedestal, incised caps:IN MEMORY OF
THE MEN OF GUILFORD
AND IN HONOR OF THOSE WHO SERVED
IN THE WAR FOR THE UNION,
THE GRATEFUL TOWN ERECTS THIS MONUMENT,
THAT THEIR EXAMPLE MAY SPREAK TO COMING GENERATIONS
Above, in recessed panel with rounded corners in base of die, raised caps:ANTIETAM
Above, in dado, incised caps:(14 names with units)
East face of base of dado:GETTYSBURG
Above, in dado, incised caps:14TH C V
(14 names without units)
Above:15TH C V
16TH C V
Above:(13 names with units)
Baruch, p. 17.
The [Guilford] Shore Line Times, 1937 clipping and January 7, 1971.
Lesley Deardon, "The Soldiers Monument," typescript, 1958, folder G. M. 63, "Soldier's Monument." History Room, Guilford Free Library.
Robert F. Gould, preliminary S.O.S.! Questionnaire . Connecticut Historical Commission."Soldier's Monument," folder G. M. 63. History Room, Guilford Free Library.