The statue was originally located in Darien at the state’s first veterans’ facility, Fitch’s Home for Soldiers and Orphans. That facility was founded by Benjamin Fitch, a wealthy dry goods merchant, who helped raise a regiment and promised its members he would care for wounded veterans and their orphaned children.
Fitch’s home became a state facility, and the population ebbed and flowed between the Civil War and the World War I before peaking at more than 1,000 soldiers during the Great Depression.
Recognizing the need for a bigger facility, the state opened the Rocky Hill home for veterans. The vets who moved to Rocky Hill included a 97-year-old Civil War veteran.
In 1950, the Returned Soldier statue was moved from the former Fitch Home site to Spring Grove Cemetery, the site of a memorial flagpole we visited in March. More than 2,100 vets are buried at Spring Grove, the first veterans’ cemetery in the state.
In 1985, the statue was moved to Rocky Hill, restored and placed on its granite base.
The statue was sculpted by Larkin Goldsmith Mead, a New Hampshire native who moved to Italy. Some of his other public works include the statues on Abraham Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield, Ill.
On Veterans Day, we thank the men and women (and their families) who have served our country.