9/11 Memorial, Westport

9/11 Memorial, WestportThe state of Connecticut’s monument honoring residents who were killed in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, sits in a well-landscaped section of Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. 

The state’s 9/11 Living Memorial features a dark granite monument inscribed with a dedication on its northeast face reading “The citizens of Connecticut dedicate this living memorial to the thousands of innocent lives lost on September 11, 2001 and to the families who loved them.” 

The memorial is in the Sherwood Point section of the park, overlooking Long Island Sound on a small section of land extending beyond the park’s beaches.

9/11 Memorial, WestportThe northwest and southeast sections of the memorial are lined with two rows of granite markers bearing the names of 152 residents who died in the attacks. Visitors have placed sea shells, flowers and other mementos on many of the markers. 

Four benches stand to the northeast of the large granite monument, and the area around the memorial features gravel pathways and shrubbery to create a peaceful area for quiet reflection. 

Standing in front of the granite monument, viewers face southwest toward Manhattan and the former site of the World Trade Center. On a clear day, the Twin Towers were visible, and on Sept. 11, smoke from the fallen towers could be seen from the location of the memorial. 


9/11 Memorial, Westport










9/11 Memorial, Westport










9/11 Memorial, Westport

War Memorials, Norwich

War Memorials, NorwichA small triangular park just north of the Soldiers’ Monument in Norwich features monuments to the major wars of the 20th Century as well as to an early American who helped settle the design of the U.S. Flag. 

The area between Broadway and Washington Street, near the Chelsea Parade park, features a granite and bronze monument to the first World War, as well as granite monuments honoring those lost in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, as well as the Vietnam POWs/MIAs. 

The south end of the park, along William Street, features a small granite marker bearing a dedication to those who were lost in “all wars, actions and conflicts.” The marker contains a small eternal flame enclosed in glass. 

Both faces of the World War monument feature large bronze plaques topped by eagles and the U.S. star emblem, and bear the dedication “to the men and women of Norwich who served their country in the War War.” The years 1917 and 1918 appear within wreaths. Both sides feature nine columns of local residents who served in the conflict, with stars indicating the names of residents who were killed. 

War Memorials, NorwichNorth of the World War monument is a granite monument honoring those lost in the Second World War on the east face (toward Broadway) and the Korean war on the west face (toward Washington Street). The World War II dedication reads: “To commemorate those who served in World War II and to those who paid the supreme sacrifice in order that our nation may continue to the glory of God and to continue in his principles amongst men this monument is dedicated and in solemn memory of those who paid the supreme sacrifice in Vietnam 1964 1975.” (The other side expresses a similar dedication to those who served in Korea). 

The prisoners of war and missing in action from Vietnam are honored in a dark granite monument north of the World War II monument that  bears a polished POW/MIA logo. 

World War Monument, NorwichThe POW/MIA logo is repeated in the Vietnam War monument, which stands to the immediate north. That monument bears the dedication “In honor of the brave servicemen who gave their lives in Vietnam” above a dozen names and dates of death. 

A nearby Freedom Tree is dedicated to a local service member captured or reported missing in 1973. 

A small rock north of these monuments bears a plaque dedicated to Capt. Samuel Chester Reid (1783-1861), a Norwich native who commanded a privateer ship during the War of 1812 and who helped design the 1818 version of the United States flag. The 1818 flag established the convention of adding a star to represent each state (the nation had 20 states at the time, but the flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes) while retaining 13 stripes to represent the original colonies. 


War Memorials, Norwich










World War II Monument, Norwich









POW/MIA Monument, Norwich










Vietnam Memorial, Norwich









Reid Memorial, Norwich










Reid Memorial, Norwich










World War Monument, Norwich










War Memorials, Greenwich

War Memorials, GreenwichThe town of Greenwich offers an impressive collection of monuments along Greenwich Avenue. 

A granite monument outside the Greenwich Commons “pocket park” (in front of the Board of Education offices) was dedicated in 1956 to honor those lost in World War II and subsequent conflicts. The monument depicts a WWII-era solider staring toward the south with a woman and a young girl kneeling or standing at his side. Beneath this image is the dedication “in reverent memory of those from the town of Greenwich who made the supreme sacrifice World War II Korea Vietnam”. 

In front of the monument, a large flagpole with an eight-sided granite base carries the names of Greenwich residents lost in World War II and Korea. Seven panels bear 185 names of World War II heroes, and one panel has 13 names of residents who were lost in Korea. 

To the south of the monument, a smaller granite marker carries 24 names of local residents killed in the Vietnam War. 

War Memorial, GreenwichNear this monument is a statue of military aviation pioneer Raynal C. Bolling, who was killed in the first world war. Beneath a bronze statue of Bolling looking to the sky is a simple inscription bearing only his last name. The rear of the monument is inscribed with his name and biographical information, as well as an explanation of Bolling’s role in the early days of military aerial combat.  

Bolling Air Force base in Washington, D.C, is named for the aviator. 

The sculptor of the Bolling monument, Edward Clark Potter, also created the lions outside the New York Public Library, the statue of General Henry Warner Slocum in Gettysburg and other monuments. 

Near the Bolling monument is a tree that was planted April 9, 1914 by the Grand Army of the Republic, the post-Civil War-era veteran’s organization. Unfortunately, the dedication listed on the bottom half of the marker (which has apparently been disturbed by the tree’s roots) is covered by grass and soil, and we didn’t think the local police would be pleased by the efforts of a monument blogger found uncovering the inscription. 

Raynal Bolling Memorial, GreenwichA little further south on Greenwich Avenue is the town’s World War monument, a 50-foot obelisk that sits in a small park in front of the town’s Post Office. The obelisk has a multi-sided base bearing the dedication “in honor of the men and women of Greenwich who served in the World War” as well as “in memory of those who died and an inspiration to all who follow.”

Another side of the base lists the following battles: Second Battle of the Marne, North Sea, St. Mihel, Ypres Lis, Meuse Argonne and Verdun. 

(The images in today’s post were taken in late February, when the tree near the World War monument still had Christmas decorations. The town’s Civil War monument, at Maple and East Putnam avenues, was highlighted in an earlier post.) 




World War Memorial, Greenwich












World War Monument, Greenwich









Veterans’ Memorial Flagpole, Darien

Veterans’ Memorial Flagpole, DarienA four-sided sculpture at the base of a flagpole in the center of the Veterans’ Cemetery next to Darien’s Spring Grove Cemetery honors 2,184 veterans from Connecticut and several other states.

Many of the veterans buried in the cemetery lived at the nearby Fitch Home for Veterans and Their Orphans, which was the first such facility for veterans when it opened in 1864.

The monument, dedicated in 1936, features four figures representing veterans from the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I. On the west face of the monument, a Civil War soldier is standing with his right arm supported by a rifle. On the east face, a sailor represents veterans of the Spanish-American War. On the south face,  a stylized Doughboy figure is standing with his right arm held above his head (the significance of this gesture escapes us). On the  north face, there is a muscular figure whose meaning also eludes us. As the Connecticut Historical Society description of the monument phrases it, “The symbolism of the fourth figure is not clear.”

Veterans’ Memorial Flagpole, DarienThe sculptor, Karl Lang, was a local resident who also contributed to the carvings at Mount Rushmore. 

The flagpole sits at the center of a small traffic island and is surrounded by four evergreen bushes. The flagpole also sits at the center of 11 rows of headstones that radiate from the center in eight sections, creating a square pattern that is best appreciated in an aerial view such as this one.  

The Fitch Home for Veterans and Their Orphans was founded in 1864 by Benjamin Fitch, a Darien native and dry goods magnate who was one of the nation’s first millionaires by the start of the Civil War. Fitch helped to organize a regiment, and promised to care for any veterans who were wounded in action. In 1864, Fitch donated five acres and $100,000 (an estimated $1.4 million in 2009 dollars) and built a hospital, chapel, library, residence hall and administrative buildings. A year later, the facility expanded to house children who were orphaned by the war. 

Veterans’ Memorial Flagpole, Darien

In 1888, the facility was taken over by the state of Connecticut. The veterans’ home expanded a number of times between then and 1940, when the state moved the facility to a new home in Rocky Hill. 

The former chapel building was moved across Norton Avenue in 1950, and is used today by the local VFW post as well as for community and social events. The cemetery was closed to new veteran internments in 1964.






Veterans’ Memorial Flagpole, Darien












Veterans' Cemetery, Darien











History of CT Veterans’ Home

Connecticut Historical Society: Civil War Monuments of Connecticut

War Memorial, Waterbury

 War Memorial, WaterburyA 1958 granite memorial to veterans of all wars stands at the center of Waterbury’s green. The monument features a multi-faceted base, above which four columns rise. The columns are connected by granite blocks with engraved emblems of the service branches that are varied on the different sides to prevent favoritism among the branches. 

The east face of the monument bears an inscribed dedication “in honor of all those who served in the wars of our country. The inscription is flanked by markers bearing the names and dates of the American Revolution as well as the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. 

The north face honors the War of 1812 and the Mexican War; the west face honors the Civil and Spanish-American wars; and the south face honors the two World Wars. The north, west and south faces also feature stone eagles sitting above the shield of the United States.  

War Memorial, WaterburyThe large round black items near the base of the monument are spotlights, although at a casual glance, they may look like trash cans. The monument is also surrounded by a low evergreen hedge.

Near the War Memorial is a Freedom Tree flanked by two sets of monuments in honor of service members who were declared missing in action during in Korea and Vietnam. The Korea monument has four names, and the Vietnam monument has two. 

These images of the war memorial were taken in mid-February, when a large menorah still graced the green. The Civil War monument in the background of some images sits at the west end of Waterbury’s green, and will be profiled on Wednesday. 


War Memorial, Waterbury









War Memorial, Waterbury










War Memorial, Waterbury











POW/MIA Memorial, Waterbury









Uncas Monument, Norwich

Uncas MonumentA monument to Uncas, the first Sachem of the Mohegan tribe, marks his burial in what remains of a Native American cemetery in Norwich. 

Uncas, who died in 1683, led the Mohegans after they split from the Pequot tribe over issues including strategies for responding to the arrival of English settlers and tribal succession planning. Uncas favored collaborating with the settlers, while a faction of Pequots led by Sachem (head chief) Sassacus preferring fighting over land and control of the local fur trade. 

The Uncas monument sits in a small burial ground on Sachem Street. The square base of the monument was dedicated in 1833, with President Andrew Jackson participating in the dedication ceremonies. The granite column was dedicated nine years later in 1842, after organizers had resolved several problems with the monument, including quarrying granite that met their specifications and reaching a consensus on the proper spelling of “Uncas.”

Uncas MonumentThe dedication ceremony was marked by several speeches praising Uncas for his cooperation with the settlers, but for some reason, no Mohegans were invited to participate. Organizers apparently assumed the tribe was extinct, and didn’t know that survivors were living in nearby Montville. 

“Buffalo Bill” Cody laid a wreath at the Uncas monument in 1907 when his Wild West stunt show visited Norwich. 

The Mohegan’s burial ground may have covered as many as 16 acres over what is now a well-developed residential neighborhood. Today, a sixteenth of an acre remains. 

In 2008, the Mohegans dedicated a memorial to ancestors whose graves were lost to redevelopment of the burial ground on the site of a former Masonic lodge near the Uncas monument. 


Uncas Monument marker
Uncas Monument, 1906 postcard

Swamp Fight monuments, Fairfield

Swamp Fight Monument, FairfieldTwo monuments in Fairfield commemorate the Great Swamp Fight, during which English settlers defeated Native Americans on July 13, 1637.  

The Swamp Fight was the last major action in a series of battles between the Pequot tribe and English settlers over land and trade in southern New England and Long Island Sound. 

During a massacre in Mystic on May 26, 1637, an estimated 600 Pequots died after settlers and allied Mohegans (who had separated from the Pequots earlier in the century) burned an occupied fort and shot people trying to escape the fire. 

A group of Pequot survivors who had occupied another fort traveled west after the massacre and sought sanctuary in marshlands in today’s Fairfield. The last 100 warriors within that group were defeated on July 13 after 180 noncombatants were allowed to surrender. By September of 1638, a treaty had divided the surviving Pequots among rival tribes and settlers who used them as slaves. 

Swamp Fight Monument, FairfieldThe Swamp Fight Monument, dedicated in 1904 by the Connecticut Society of Colonial Wars, today sits on a small triangle of land along the Post Road, near a Peoples’ United Bank branch and a popular Dunkin’ Donuts outlet. A large stone monument bears the simple inscription on its east face that “the great Swamp Fight here ended the Pequot War.” 

This inscription is much more sedate than some of the historical texts written during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which tended to describe the Native Americans with less-than-glowing terms. 

The only other marking on the stone lists its dedication date. 

Much of the land where the Swamp Fight took place has been lost to development, including the construction of Interstate 95. Driving along the interstate just past exit 19, you can see marsh plants rising above the small surviving portions of the swamp. 

Researchers from the Mashantucket Pequot Museum plan to survey the Southport area over the next couple of years to try to identify locations or relics from the areas where the battle took place. 

Swamp Fight fountain, SouthportThe Swamp Fight is also commemorated by a fountain, dedicated in 1903 by the Daughters of the American Revolution, that sits at the intersection of Main Street and Harbor road in the Southport section of Fairfield. The fountain, topped by a light fixture, features water-spigot lions on the north and south faces. Since we visited this monument in mid-February, we’re not sure if it has been converted into a planter, as many commemorative fountains from that era have been.

The water trough on the north side of the monument bears the inscription “This fountain commemorates the valor and victory of the colonist forefathers at the Pequot Swamp,” which is a slightly more strident message in praise of the settlers than the matter-of-fact listing found on the other Swamp Fight monument.  

Swamp Fight fountain, SouthportSitting in a T-shaped intersection, the fountain is an example of the middle-of-the-roadway sculpture dreaded by monument bloggers, who generally prefer to take pictures while standing on the safety of a town green. 





Swamp Fight fountain, Southport













Fairfield Museum and History Center

Whittemore Memorial Bridge, Naugatuck

Whittemore Memorial Bridge, NaugatuckThe Maple Street bridge across the Naugatuck River was dedicated in 1914 to John Howard Whittemore, a local industrialist and philanthropist who died in 1910. Whittemore founded the Naugatuck Malleable Iron Company, which became Naugatuck’s largest employer during the post-Civil War boom.  The company supplied iron for railroads, carriage makers and producers of shears, among other industries.

Whittemore, who was also a director of the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad, donated a number of buildings to Naugatuck, including the 1893 Salem School, the Congregational Church and the Howard Whittemore Library, which was named after a son. He also played a role in raising funds for the local high school, the Soldiers’ Monument on the green and other local institutions and private causes.  

Whittemore’s firm, now named the Eastern Company, continues to supply industrial hardware, security equipment and metal castings.

Whittemore Glen State Park, on the border between Naugatuck and Middlebury, was once part of the Whittemore’s land holdings. 

High Water Mark, NaugatuckThe bridge, which bears a plaque honoring Whittemore on the  northwest abutment, also serves as a memorial to the devastating floods that hit the Naugatuck River Valley on August 19, 1955. Just above the Whittemore plaque is a notch, eight feet and two inches above the sidewalk, marking the crest of the flood in Naugatuck. 

The flooding occurred when two hurricanes struck the state within five days of each other and flooded most of the state’s communities. As a smaller river, the Naugatuck did not have flood monitoring equipment of controls found on some larger rivers, which increased the damage to riverside and downtown sections of many of the area’s communities. 

In Naugatuck, four people were killed, while further north in Waterbury, 29 people died in the floods. 

Whittemore Memorial Bridge, NaugatuckAdditional information about the 1955 floods is available from the Connecticut State Library. The Derby page on the Electronic Valley Web site has information and images about the flood damage in that town and there are a number of images of Waterbury at this site.










Looking north along Route 8.
Looking north along Route 8.

Veterans’ Walk, West Haven

Vietnam Memorial, West HavenOn President’s Day, we’re highlighting West Haven’s Veterans’ Walk, a collection of monuments and tributes at Bradley Point that was dedicated in 2007.

The largest monument in the Veterans’ Walk collection features four black granite slabs that are dedicated to the local residents who served and died in the Vietnam War. Three large, slanted panels list about 282 names of residents who served, including six who were killed in the conflict. In front of the tablets, at the base of three flagpoles, are pillars with the emblems of the country’s military service branches, as well as a larger tablet etched with a map of Vietnam and the inscription “All gave some, some gave all.”

Two matching black granite monuments are located near the Vietnam memorial. One is dedicated to the residents who served in the Korean War. The other is dedicated to William A. Soderman, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for defending an important road junction against German tanks in 1944 with bazooka fire

Vietnam Memorial, West HavenAlso near the monuments are a series of smaller pillars displaying the logos of veterans’  organizations from all of the wars fought by the United States. 

The sidewalks leading visitors through the Veterans’ Walk area are lined with commemorative bricks bearing the names of local veterans. 

Not far from Veteran’s Walk is a monument dedicated to the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as a monument to the veterans from West Haven’s First Avenue who fought in World War II. West Haven has a collection of World War II monuments in several locations that will be featured in a future post. 

Bradley Point, located on the west shore of New Haven harbor, sits next to the Savin Rock area that hosted seaside amusement parks until urban redevelopment efforts were launched in the 1960s. 

William A. Soderman MOH memorial, West HavenBradley Point was also a landing area for British troops who invaded New Haven in 1779. The Defenders’ Monument dedicated to colonists who resisted that invasion was highlighted in a post on January 28, 2009







Korean War Memorial, West Haven









Veterans' Walk, West Haven









Grand Army of the Republic Monument, West Haven











Lincoln Spoke Here. Kinda.

 McLevy Hall, Bridgeport (State Street side)McLevy Hall in downtown Bridgeport, which traces its roots to 1854,  once  featured a hall that hosted a speech by then-Senator Abraham Lincoln on March 10, 1860. 

McLevy Hall, near the corner of State and Broad streets downtown, was originally built to serve as the Fairfield County Courthouse. Portions of the building contained offices for the city of Bridgeport. An auditorium known as Washington Hall used to be part of the complex, and was the site of Lincoln’s final political speech in the early stages of the 1860 presidential campaign. 

Lincoln came to Bridgeport as part of a speaking tour of New England immediately after his February 27 speech at New York’s Cooper Union outlining his opposition to the expansion of slavery into new U.S. territories. From New York, Lincoln spoke at several locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut before arriving in Bridgeport early on Saturday, March 10. 

Lincoln speech marker, McLevy HallDuring the day, Lincoln hung out with local officials and delivered his address early in the evening before taking a 9:07 train back to New York. What the honorable gentleman from Illinois said in Bridgeport was not recorded. Most likely, his remarks had similar anti-slavery themes as his remarks in New York and New Haven, which were transcribed and  published in local newspapers.

Lincoln’s speech is commemorated in a 1911 plaque on the State Street (south) side of McLevy Hall, near the front entrance. 

The vintage postcard below was mailed from Bridgeport to New Haven in 1909.

The building, which today is used as a City Hall annex and contains several municipal departments, was renamed McLevy Hall in memory of Jasper McLevy, a Socialist who served as Bridgeport’s mayor from 1933 until 1957. 

The building’s grounds also host the city’s World War (1933) and Vietnam (1983) monument. The plaque on the front of the World War monument appears to be a replacement. 

McLevy Hall, Bridgeport (1909 postmark)






World War monument, Broad Street, Bridgeport











Vietnam War monument, Bridgeport












David W. Palmquist, Bridgeport: A Pictorial History, The Donning Company, 1981