Harrub Pilgrim Memorial, Waterbury

A granite memorial in Waterbury’s Chase Park honors the wife of the monument’s donor as well as the Pilgrims who landed in Massachusetts.

The Harrub Pilgrim Memorial, near the corner of Highland and Sunnyside avenues, was dedicated in 1930 to honor the Pilgrims as well as Rhoby Harrub, the wife of the monument’s donor Charles Harrub.

Harrub Pilgrim Monument, Waterbury, CT

The monument, carved from French granite, stands 24 feet tall with 10-foot figures depicting Pilgrim settlers and Native Americans on the monument’s southwest face.

A dedication on the monument’s northeast face reads:

Plymouth Rock does not mark a beginning or an end. It marks a revelation of that which is without beginning and without end. A purpose shining through eternity with a resplendent light undimmed even by the imperfections of men and a response an answering purpose from those who oblivious disdainful of all else sailed hither seeking only for an avenue for the immortal soul. – Calvin Coolidge

A dedication on the monument’s northwest face reads:

Moved by the illustrious record of the Pilgrim Fathers, the donor Charles Harrub in loving memory of his wife Rhoby S. Harrub and of her sympathetic accord, dedicates this monument to the townspeople of Waterbury to keep ever in mind the conquest of hardship and adversity through virile Christian character and unflinching loyalty to almighty God on which was reared the structure of New England.

The monument was created by sculptor Herman A. MacNeil, whose other works include several statues on the Connecticut State Capitol building.

Charles H. Harrub, a Massachusetts native and Navy veteran during the Civil War, served for many years as the chief engineer of the Waterbury Brass Company. Among his inventions was a lubricator for milling machines.

After his wife Rhoby passed in 1921, Harrub donated $100,000 (nearly $1.5 million in 2020 dollars) fund a memorial to honor Rhoby and the Pilgrims. At the time, just after the 300th anniversary of their Plymouth Rock landing, the Pilgrims and the Colonial era were regarded highly.

Harrub, for instance, wanted to highlight the virtues of courage, character and the capacity for leadership.

The monument was moved to its current location to accommodate the construction of Interstate 84. At the time of its dedication, it stood on Riverside Street near Freight Street.

Harrub donated his considerable estate to Waterbury to create a trust that still benefits the community. His wife was also honored by a performing arts facility in Library Park.

Near the Harrub monument, a granite monument dedicated in 1935 honors the original settlement of Waterbury in 1675.

Circus Fire Memorial, Hartford

Circus Fire Memorial, HartfordHartford honors the victims of the city’s worst disaster with a memorial on the site of the 1944 circus fire.

On July 6, 1944, a fire during a performance of the Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus claimed an estimated 168 lives and caused hundreds of injuries.

Circus Fire Memorial, HartfordThose lost and injured during the tragedy are honored with a memorial dedicated in 2005 in a park behind the Fred D. Wish elementary school on Barbour Street.

A memorial ring marking the center of the circus tent lists the names and ages of the victims, the majority of which were children and women.

Circus Fire Memorial, HartfordNear the center ring, memorial bricks bear messages from family members and survivors. Dogwood trees at the site mark the edges of the circus tent.

A pathway from the northern end of the park is lined with granite pedestals with plaques providing information about the tragedy.

Circus Fire Memorial, HartfordThe tranquility of the site on a Sunday morning belie the chaos and tragedy on the afternoon of the fire, which broke out about 20 minutes into the performance. A small fire spread rapidly, aided by paraffin and gasoline used as a waterproof coating on the circus tent. The tent collapsed

In addition to the flames, people died after being crushed in the stampede out of the tent, or from injuries sustained after jumping from the bleachers.

Circus Fire Memorial, HartfordThe cause of the fire was never established.





Circus Fire Memorial, Hartford






Circus Fire Memorial, Hartford






Circus Fire Memorial, Hartford






Circus Fire Memorial, Hartford









Roger Williams Monument, Providence

Roger Williams Monument, ProvidenceRhode island founder Roger Williams is honored with a monument in, fittingly enough, Providence’s Roger Williams Park.

The monument, dedicated in 1877, depicts a standing Williams holding a book inscribed with the words “soul” and “liberty”.

At the monument’s base, Clio (the muse of history) is inscribing Williams’ name and 1636, the year of Providence’s founding.

Roger Williams Monument, ProvidenceThe Clio figure originally held a metal quill in her right hand, and the monument once featured a bronze shield, scroll and wreath near Clio’s feet (the missing elements can be seen in the 1905 black-and-white image from the Library of Congress).

The land for Roger Williams Park, and funding for the statue, were donated to the city by Williams’ great-great-great granddaughter Betsy. The park site was part of Williams’ land grant from the Narragansett tribe and the location of the family farm.

Roger Williams Monument, ProvidenceThe monument was sculpted by Franklin Simmons, whose other works include the U.S. Grant memorial at the U.S. Capitol. Another version of the statue, without the Clio figure, is displayed in the Capitol building.

Not far from the Williams monument, a bronze bust and bench honor Richard H. Deming, a former president of the Providence park commission. The bust was dedicated in 1904.

Roger Williams Monument, Providence






Roger Williams Monument, Providence






Roger Williams Memorial, 1905








Richard Deming Memorial, Providence






Richard Deming Memorial, Providence






Richard Deming Memorial, Providence








Holt Memorial Fountain, Stafford Springs

Holt Memorial Fountain, Stafford SpringsStafford Springs honors business and political leader Charles Holt with a memorial fountain in a traffic near the intersection of Main Street (Route 190) and River Road (Route 32).

The granite fountain was dedicated in 1894 to honor Charles Holt, owner of the Phoenix Woolen Co. and president of the Stafford Savings Bank.

The fountain’s south side bears an inscription reading, “In Memory of Charles Holt,” and the north side lists the fountain’s dedication date.

Holt, a native of Willington, was superintendent of the Hydeville Manufacturing Co. mill and became its sole owner after it had become the Phoenix Woolen Co.

Holt Memorial Fountain, Stafford SpringsHolt, who died in 1892, also served in the Connecticut legislature in 1858.

The fountain was donated by Holt’s wife, Joanna, and his daughter Celia.






Holt Memorial Fountain, Stafford Springs








Holt Memorial Fountain, Stafford Springs








Holt Memorial Fountain, Stafford Springs

















Talking About Civil War Monuments in Hamden

American Soldier MonumentUPDATE: The talk went well. We had a good audience and people said nice things afterwards. I enjoyed the event, and the opportunity to share some information about one of my interests. Thanks for having me.


On Monday, March 11, I’ll have the distinct honor of addressing the Civil War Round Table of South Central Connecticut with a talk titled “Design Trends in Connecticut’s Civil War Monuments.”

The talk will review how the appearance of the state’s Civil War monuments evolved after the war’s end, some of the reasons the Civil War was the first U.S. conflict to receive public memorialization, and the contributions of the state’s leading monument designers and dealers.

We’ll also have copies of our book, Civil War Monuments of Connecticut, in case you’ve worn your copy out, or need another copy as a gift.

The fun kicks off at 7:30 at the Miller Memorial Central Library, 2901 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, CT.

Driving directions:

View Larger Map

Gettysburg Cyclorama Demolition Underway

Cyclorama Demolition UnderwayA friend in Gettysburg passed along this photo of the former Cyclorama building as demolition began on Friday. While the demolition is understandable – the building, which should not have been built 50-odd years ago on an historically significant part of the battlefield, leaked like a colander and had long outlived its usefulness – it’s still sad to see it coming down.

We have a lot of good family memories associated with the old Cyclo:

01. My first visit to Gettysburg in 1989

02. Jen moving to Gettysburg and, among other jobs in town, running the Cyclorama show.

03. Discovering how to sneak past the ticket counter (via the observation deck and straight into the upper lobby).

04. Jen meeting Ed.

05. Chris getting help for a bloody knee after tripping over a Hancock Avenue drainage ditch.

Good times.


Native American Fort Sites, Derby

New Indian Fort, DerbyDerby honors the location of two Native American forts with inscribed boulders.

The site of the “New Fort” is marked on the southwest side of Roosevelt Drive (Route 34,) near the section with Lakeview Terrace and across the street from the Osbornedale State Park garage.

An inscription on the boulder’s northeast face reads, “The new fort. Prior to 1654, the Paugasuck (Paugasset) Indians built their second fort near this spot.”

The boulder’s southwest face bears an inscription reading, “Erected by Sarah Riggs Humprey chapter, D.A.R, 1916.”

A boulder marking the site of the natives’ first fort stands in a small traffic island near the intersection of Seymour Avenue and Division Street. The boulder’s northwest face bears an inscription reading, “Great Neck. In this locality stood the old Indian fort prior to 1654.”

New Indian Fort, DerbyDerby was settled as a trading post in 1654, and was named for Derby, England, in 1675.







New Indian Fort, Derby









New Indian Fort, Derby









Old Indian Fort site, Derby









Old Indian Fort site, Derby

















Monument to the Automobile Age, Becket, Mass.

Monument to the Automobile Age, Becket, Mass.A stone cairn in western Massachusetts honors the construction of a local road that bypassed a dangerous hill.

The Monument to the Automobile Age in Becket, Mass., was dedicated in 1910 to mark the opening of a bypass road that helped early motorists avoid the dangerous Jacob’s Ladder hill. Stones bearing the names of towns from throughout the northeast and eastern New York were added to the cairn, which stands today near the intersection of Route 20 and Johnson Road.

A 2010 stone on the upper left side of the cairn highlights the 100th anniversary of the opening of the bypass, and a wayside marker to the right of the cairn provides a brief history.

Monument to the Automobile Age, Becket, Mass.In the 1930s, the loose cairn was moved across the road. The cairn was shifted again in 1946, and its stones were cemented in place.

Historic images on the wayside marker indicate several stones were placed in new positions. For instance, the green plaque with three names on the left side was originally in the center of the cairn, and the eagle plaque was shifted from the middle to the lower right.

The cairn has apparently been a popular graffiti target, and a number of loose stones at the site bear the names and hometowns of recent visitors.

A cement deer stands a short distance to the west of the cairn, near the corner of Johnson Road. Because, hey, why not? If you’re going to have a large cairn on your road, you may as well add a cement deer.

Monument to the Automobile Age, Becket, Mass.








Monument to the Automobile Age, Becket, Mass.








Monument to the Automobile Age, Becket, Mass.








Near the Monument to the Automobile Age, Becket, Mass.














Judges Cave, New Haven

Judges Cave, New HavenTwo English judges who fled a royal death sentence are honored at their hiding place high above New Haven.

Judges Cave, at the summit of West Rock State Park, is a large rock formation that, to be fair, stretches the common idea of what a cave looks like.

New Haven’s quasi-cave was the hiding place of Edward Whalley and William Goffe, who were among 59 members of Parliament who signed the warrant condemning King Charles I to death in 1649.

That probably seemed like a good idea until the monarchy was restored in 1660 and Charles II ordered the execution of the judges who had had his father beheaded.

The west face of the rock formation bears a marker reading, “Here May Fifteenth 1661 and for some weeks thereafter Edward Whalley and his son-in-law William Goffe, members of the Parliament General, officers in the army of the Commonwealth and signers of the death warrant of King Charles First, found shelter and concealment from the officers of the Crown after the Restoration. ‘Opposition to tyrants is obedience to God.'”

Judges Cave, New HavenThe marker on the west face is a replacement for a bronze plaque on the east face that was dedicated in 1896 and later stolen. (The original plaque can be seen in the black-and-white image, which was taken in 1900).

After fleeing England, Whalley and Goffe stayed briefly in Massachusetts before learning that agents of the Crown were looking for them. In New Haven, they were sheltered by Rev. John Davenport (the city would name streets after all three gentlemen) before hiding atop West Rock.

Their stay at the rock formation lasted about a month before Whalley and Goffe were chased from the cave by a panther. They moved again and resettled in Hadley, Mass.

Judges Cave, New HavenThe site today can be reached by car, or hikers can find it along the Regicides Trail (the excellent Connecticut Museum Quest site offers a good description of a Judges Cave hike). An overlook area a short drive from the cave provides nice views of downtown New Haven and the harbor.






Judges Cave, New Haven








Judges Cave, New Haven









Judges Cave 1900
Judges Cave, 1900. Library of Congress.





Gustave Whitehead Fountain, Bridgeport

Gustave Whitehead Fountain, BridgeportBridgeport honors aviation pioneer Gustave Whitehead with a memorial fountain in the city’s west end.

The fountain was dedicated in May 2012 to honor Whitehead, who reportedly flew an early airplane in 1901 not far from the fountain’s location at the intersection of Fairfield Avenue and State Street Extension.

The memorial features a replica of Whitehead’s No. 21 flyer above a granite base and four fountains. The fountain’s base proudly proclaims Whitehead to be “First in Flight,” and the plane shifts and its propellers rotate in the wind.

According to articles in the Bridgeport Herald and Scientific American, Whitehead successfully flew in Fairfield, Bridgeport and Stratford in 1901, two years before the Wright Brothers flight in North Carolina.

Gustave Whitehead Fountain, BridgeportWhitehead supporters cite poor record keeping, a lack of photographic evidence, and an agreement between the Wright Brothers’ descendants and the Smithsonian Institution regarding the display of the Wright Flyer at the National Air and Space Museums as reasons Whitehead’s earlier flights aren’t recognized or investigated by aviation historians.

The fountain was designed by Theodore L. Grabarz, Bridgeport’s deputy director of public works and the designer of the city’s 2009 World War II monument, and the Whitehead plane was designed by Fairfield sculptor Ron Cavalier.


Gustave Whitehead Fountain, Bridgeport








Gustave Whitehead in Flight








Gustave Whitehead