The War Memorial Tower on Fox Hill in Rockville, Vernon, was constructed between 1937 and 1939 as a memorial to Veterans of all wars from the town of Vernon. Before it was built, an earlier tower made of wood had stood on the site. Built by a Mr. Jeffrey of Meriden, it stood from 1878 until it was destroyed in a blizzard in 1880. Visitors were charged 15¢ to climb the tower and use the telescope at the top. The ruined building was not restored, but around 1889 the artist Charles Ethan Porter, Jeffrey’s brother-in-law, was using the surviving first floor as his studio. By 1923, the last remains of the structure had disappeared. The new Memorial Tower, built of stone, was designed by Walter B. Chambers of New York and was modeled after a 1500 year-old Romanesque tower near Poitiers, France. The WPA provided the labor and materials. The Tower is in Henry Park, named for E. Stevens Henry, a merchant and politician, who bequeathed Fox Hill and the surrounding area to the city of Rockville.
Memorial Hall in Windsor Locks was dedicated in 1890 in honor of the town’s Civil War veterans. Funds for the building‘s construction were provided by Charles E. Chaffee, a textile manufacturer. Soldiers Memorial Hall originally housed the J.H. Converse Post, No. 67, Grand Army of the Republic. The Post, formed in 1884, was named for Major Joseph H. Converse, who was killed in action at the Battle of Cold Harbor, on June 4, 1864. Memorial Hall was designed by Frederick S. Newman in the Richardsonian Romanesque style (Newman also designed the Linden apartments in Hartford and the Chicopee Bank in Springfield) The museum inside the Hall now honors Windsor Locks veterans of all wars and the building hosts the town’s American Legion post. Memorial Hall is open to visitors by guided tour. Read the rest of this entry »
Standing at the northwest end of Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Wepawaug River in Milford, is then 29-foot Memorial Tower. Built in 1889 to celebrate Milford’s 250th anniversary, the bridge and tower honor the city’s founders, whose exact resting places in Milford Cemetery are not known. The bridge and tower feature stones inscribed with the settlers’ names and dates. A collection of historical artifacts are also mounted to the structure, which was built on the site of the city’s first mill and features an original stone from the mill. An inscription on the tower honors Robert Treat, a notable early settler and governor of the Connecticut Colony. Over the tower‘s entrance is a stylized portrait of a Native American and a representation of the mark of Ansantawae, sachem of the Wepawaug or Paugussett nation, Milford’s original inhabitants.
The Groton Battle Monument commemorates the Battle of Groton Heights, fought during the Revolutionary War on September 6, 1781. The battle was a result of the British raid on New London, led by Benedict Arnold. Fort Trumbull, on the New London side of the harbor, and Fort Griswold, built on the heights on the Groton side, were built to protect the strategic port of New London. Arnold had information from an American turncoat which enabled the British to avoid the fire from Fort Griswold‘s guns and surprise the Americans. The British forces then burned New London and, after a fierce battle, in which 150 rapidly assembled American defenders faced a British force of 800, Fort Griswold was captured. The American commander, Col. William Ledyard, is said to have been killed by his own sword after surrendering to the British. According to American sources, a massacre of the Americans followed the surrender, although British sources mention neither the death of Col. Ledyard or a massacre.
Today, the remains of Fort Griswold are part of a Connecticut State Park. Also on the park grounds are the Monument House Museum and the Groton Battle Monument. The Monument is a granite obelisk, constructed between 1826 and 1830. It is the oldest monument of its kind in America, preceding the Bunker Hill Monument and the Washington Monument. The Groton Monument has a marble plaque listing the names of those who fell defending Fort Griswold. In 1881, the centennial anniversary year of the battle, the top of the monument was enclosed and its height raised to 134 feet. Visitors to Fort Griswold can climb the tower and reenactments of the battle are also held at the Park.
The most recognizable structure at Yale University is the Harkness Memorial Tower. Designed by James Gamble Rogers, with ornamentation by the sculptor, Lee Lawrie, the Gothic-style tower has long stood as a symbol for Yale. It was constructed between 1917 and 1921 and was donated by Anna M. Harkness in honor of her deceased son, Charles William Harkness, Yale class of 1883. Rodgers, who designed many buildings at Yale in the Collegiate Gothic style, was also the architect for the Harkness family. He said the design for the Tower was inspired by the 15th-century tower of “Boston Stump,” the parish church of Saint Botolph in Boston, England. Apparently, the often told story that Harkness Tower was once the tallest freestanding stone structure in the world is a myth. Inside, the Tower contains the Yale Memorial Carillon, which was originally installed in 1922 and expanded in 1964. It is played by Yale University Guild of Carillonneurs.
When the city of Hartford chose to have an arch over a bridge (which once crossed the Park River, now underground) as its Civil War monument, it was seeking a design quite different from the usual types of Civil War monuments. It would be the first permanent triumphal arch in America. It is also one of the earliest monuments to use the term “Civil War.” A competition was announced, which irritated the architect George Keller–as a famous designer of Civil War monuments, he was unhappy not to be commissioned or even consulted. As all of the submitted designs went over budget, Keller was eventually able to reconcile with the city and plan the monument. The structure he created still remains a unique achievement for combining Classical and Gothic elements in a unified design. It is Keller’s most famous project (along with the James A. Garfield Memorial in Cleveland, Ohio). The monument, located on the edge of Hartford’s Bushnell Park, was built of Portland brownstone and was dedicated on September 17, 1886, the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. The ashes of Keller and his wife were later interred in the east tower. The Arch was restored in 1986-1988, but has sometimes suffered damage due to cars crashing into it.
As we count down the the last hours and minutes of 2007, it seems appropriate to showcase a clock tower. The Keney Memorial Clock Tower, located at the intersection of Albany Avenue, Main and Ely Steets in Hartford, stands on the site of the wholesale grocery business run by the brothers, Henry and Walter Keney, who lived in a house nearby. Henry Keney’s will left funds for both the memorial, which was dedicated to his mother, Rebecca Turner Keney, and for the creation of Hartford’s Keney Park. The Clock Tower, constructed of brownstone in 1898, was designed by Charles C. Haight and was modeled on the Tour Saint-Jacques, a surviving Gothic tower in Paris. The Keney Clock Tower stands 130-feet high and is Hartford’s only free-standing tower.