Soldiers’ Monument, Norfolk

Veterans of the Civil War and later conflicts are honored with monuments on the green in Norfolk.

The 1868 Soldiers’ Monument, one of the earliest tributes to Civil War veterans in Connecticut, is a tall granite obelisk similar to monuments in Plymouth, North Branford and other monuments dedicated in the late 1860s.

The Norfolk monument bears a dedication on its western face reading, “To the memory of the soldiers from this town who died for their country in the war of the rebellion.”

The western face also lists the names and dates of death of seven residents killed in the Civil War.

The southern, eastern and northern faces of the monument list each list nine or 10 names and dates of death, in rough alphabetical order.

The Norfolk monument was supplied by William Burdick, an agent of the Westerly, R.I. quarries who also supplied the monument in North Branford.

At the northern end of the green, an undated Honor Roll monument commemorates local veterans who died or served in more recent conflicts.

The monument’s central plaque lists four residents killed in World War II as well as four columns of names honoring those who served. Looking at the names, it’s pretty common to see between three and six members of various families listed on the plaque.

To the left as you face the monument, a plaque lists 51 residents who served in the Korean War (including at least five residents who had previously served in World War II).

The Vietnam plaque on the right side of the Honor Roll lists 77 names, including two who were killed in the war. Another plaque on the monument’s right side honors three residents who served in Operation Desert Storm.

At the south end of the green, a memorial fountain dedicated in 1889 honors Joseph Battell, a local merchant whose family was long active in civil and philanthropic affairs.

The fountain, designed by noted architect Stanford White, features a central column supporting a sphere. Water emerges from three fish near the top of the column as well as a lion’s head on its southern face.

The fountain, with spigots that provide water for horses and for people, is rather unusual in that it’s still serving as a fountain. Most commemorative fountains from that era have long been converted into planters.

Battell’s heirs donated the family home to Yale to serve as the summer home of the university’s music school.

The town’s World War I veterans are honored with a monument at the intersection of Greenwoods Road (Route 44) and North Street (Route 272).

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