| Wallingford |
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| || SOLDIERS MONUMENT |
553 North Main Street
Erected: October 1902
Type: Granite cylindrical pedestal and figure
Designer: Smith Granite Company
Stonecarvers: James W. Pollette, statue; Frank Catto, eagle;
Charles Rossi, wreaths
Supplier: Thomas Phillips & Sons Company
Height: 18', 6"
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Wallingford, is significant historically because it symbolizes the town's honor and respect for its men who died in the Civil War. The "land of 38 [square] rods [0.23 acre] together with the Soldiers Monument thereon, known as 'Dutton Park'" were created by the Arthur H. Dutton Post, No. 36, Grand Army of the Republic, and deeded to the town on April 4, 1904 (WLR 93/590). The post raised $8,000, starting in 1885. Why it took so many years to raise the money and erect the monument is not known. It is possible that the retardataire character of the figure reflects the delay until 1902 in executing a design selected in 1885.
Dutton Post, No. 36, was organized in 1869 by ten veterans of the Civil War. In 1889 there were 100 members. By 1917 the number had declined to 17. For at least 45 years Memorial Day services were held at the park (Newell, page 810).
The statement by Newell (page 808) that the monument was unveiled in 1911 is unexplained.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Wallingford, is artistically significant because it is a melding of the figure of the familiar soldier with sophisticated stonecarving. The figure, first used soon after the Civil War, appears in many monuments produced in the subsequent three decades. By 1900 some Civil War monuments were beginning to reflect classical Beaux-Arts influence, but Wallingford elected the traditional design, perhaps adopted in 1885.
On the other hand, the design, craftsmanship, and quality of the pedestal supporting the figure demonstrate sophistication that was not common at the end of the Civil War, and reflect turn-of-the-century state-of-the-art practice. The raised rather than incised lettering, wreaths, and eagle, the ogee curves of the base, and the high polish of the lettering all indicate good design and workmanship of the period.
The supplier of the monument, Thomas Phillips & Sons Company of New Haven, was a fabricator and dealer in memorials for several generations. In this case, Phillips acted as middleman between the Wallingford G.A.R. and the Westerly, Rhode Island, quarry, Smith Granite Company, that produced the monument. Smith Granite Company's records provide the names of the craftsmen noted above. The contract price to Smith was $2,150. The monument weighs 45,100 pounds.
SOLDIERS MONUMENT, Wallingford, is located in the center of a small narrow open space called Dutton Park at the north end of Main Street in a residential neighborhood. The monument consists of a conventional figure of a Union soldier supported by an unconventional pedestal in the same tan/gray granite. It is dedicated to Wallingford men who died in the Civil War.
The pedestal supporting the figure is square at grade, and then in a series of transitional sections becomes a cylinder. The first section of the pedestal, the square stylobate, is quarry-finished, while the balance of the memorial, in the same granite, is smooth-finished. The corners of the next section, the transitional base, are chamfered by ogee curves (see SOLDIERS' AND SAILORS' MONUMENT, Norwalk, for a similar solution). Then the section which provides surfaces for the lettering recorded below, the final stage in the changing shapes below the cylinder, is octagonal.
The raised wreaths on the base and the raised eagle on the cylinder are vigorously three-dimensional. At the top of the cylinder a round section projects, forming a capital and simultaneously supporting the figure's base. The soldier faces south, over the eagle. His left foot is forward and both hands, left over right, grasp the barrel of the rifle. His overcoat hangs to the knees, with a cape to the elbows. The soldier wears a moustache and the standard soft visored cap. A bayonet is hanging from his waist belt at his left hip.
The monument as a whole stands on a raised mound of earth contained in a granite curb. There is a cannon on the ground in front of the memorial.
South face, raised and polished caps:ERECTED
ARTHUR H. DUTTON POST
NO. 36 G.A.R.
AND THE PEOPLE OF
TO THE MEMORY OF THE
BRAVE MEN WHO DIED
THAT THEIR COUNTRY
Southeast face, wreath with year date in center:1865
East face:ANTIETAM / GETTYSBURG / CEDAR MOUNTAIN / MORRIS ISLAND
Northeast face, wreath with lettering in center:ARMY
North face:ATLANTA / NEW ORLEANS / PORT HUDSON / APPOMATTOX
Northwest face, wreath with lettering in center:NAVY
West face:NEWBERNE / FORT FISHER / CHANCELLORSVILLE / PETERSBURG
Southwest face, wreath with year date in center:1861
Baruch, p. 17.
Arthur H. Dutton Post #36, G.A.R., entries in minutes April, May 17, and June 13, 1902 quoted in May P. Wooding letter, May 20, 1993.
Clara Booth Newell, History of Wallingford, Connecticut (Wallingford: Wallingford Historical Society: 1956?), pp. 808-812.
Isaac Gallup Smith, Jr., conversation, January 20, 1994.
Wallingford Land Records, volume 93, page 590, April 4, 1904, noted in May P. Wooding letter, May 20, 1993.