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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

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

http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.org/index.asp

Soldiers’ Monument, New Haven

Soldiers' Monument, New HavenThe Soldiers’ Monument in New Haven’s St. Bernard’s Cemetery was dedicated (most likely) in 1889 by the state of Connecticut to honor residents killed in the Civil War. The monument is different from many war monuments of the era in several ways. 

For example, the solider atop the monument is a flag-bearer, instead of the more common infantryman holding a rifle. In addition, the large cross on the front of the monument is unusual, and probably reflects the monument’s construction in a Catholic cemetery. 

A stone eagle graces front side of the top of the column, beneath the soldier’s feet, and the other three sides have shields decorated with a stars-and-stripes motif. 

The inscription on the front face of the monument dedicates it to the CT residents who gave their lives “that the Union should not perish.”

During the Civil War, Connecticut furnished 55,861 troops, sailors and marines to the Union effort, and 5,354 were killed in battle, or died of disease, as prisoners, in accidents or from other non-battle-related causes. 

The area around the base of the monument in St. Bernard’s holds the grave sites of numerous veterans not only of the Civil War, but also other conflicts. 

Soldiers' Monument, New HavenSt. Bernard’s Cemetery is within eyesight of the Defenders’ Monument profiled on January 28, 2009.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldiers' Monument, New Haven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Bernard's Cemetery, New Haven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
CT Historical Society: Civil War Monuments of Connecticut

The Civil War Home Page

Governors’ Monument, Milford

Governors' monument, Milford We conclude this week’s look at monuments in downtown Milford with a 1939 monument to three Milford residents who served the state of Connecticut as governors. The monument sits on a bridge across the Wepawaug River (named after the native settlers who sold Milford to colonists), northeast of the City Hall we featured earlier this week. 

Plaques on the north, south and west faces of the monument’s column outline the political career highlights of the three Milford governors:

  • Robert Treat (1622-1710) was one of Milford’s founders, and served as governor from 1683 until 1698. Treat was also a co-founder of Newark, NJ between 1665 and 1672. 
  • Jonathan Law (1672-1750) served as governor from 1742 to 1750. 
  • Charles Hobby Pond (1781-1861) served as governor from 1853 until 1854. 

All three men are buried in Milford Cemetery, and have several local streets and landmarks (including Jonathan Law High School) named after them. 

The monument sits on the Jefferson Bridge, so named because the first bridge on that location was built in 1802 during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency. 

Governors' monument, Milford

Korea and Vietnam wars memorial, Milford

Korea and Vietnam memorial, MilfordThis week’s look at monuments in downtown Milford continues with some images of the Korea and Vietnam wars memorial located near the west end of the Milford Green. The monument was dedicated on Veteran’s Day, 1986.

The memorial flagpole near the center of the green lists the names of four local residents who were killed during the Korean War, as well as the names of 11 residents who were killed during the Vietnam War. 

 

 

 

Korea and Vietnam memorial, Milford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korea and Vietnam memorial, Milford

World War and 9/11 monuments, City Hall, Milford

World War monument, Milford

The “Doughboy” World War Monument in front of Milford’s city hall was dedicated in 1928 to honor the  residents who served in what was then called the World War. A plaque on the front face of the monument lists 22 residents who died in the war, and markers on the sides of the monument base lists approximately 745 names of residents who served. 

The monument sits in front of the fifth town or city hall to occupy this space. The current building was completed in 1916, and replaces an 1832 structure that was lost to fire in 1915. The inscription over the front entrance reads “Town Hall,” reflecting its construction before Milford declared itself a city in 1959.

As you’ll see in the vintage postcard below, the monument and city hall haven’t changed a great deal since they were completed. More shrubbery has been added to the grounds, and the vehicles have been updated, but the tree on the right side of the image has remained. 

A Civil War cannon stood near the site of the World War monument between 1910 and the dedication of the monument. It was moved to the green, and was later returned to the federal government as World War II broke out and melted down to support the war effort. 

mlfdtownhallcars

City Hall is also the location of a three-sided memorial to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that was dedicated in 2005. One side of the monument is dedicated to the World Trade Center attack, and commemorates the three former Milford residents who died in New York. Another side commemorates the attack on the Pentagon. The third side honors the victims of United Flight 93, and carries a quote from Lincoln’s  Gettysburg address near the base.  

“…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…” 

World War Monument, MIlford 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World War monument, Milford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9-11 monument, Milford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Milford, Connecticut, 350th Anniversary Book (1639-1964)

History of Milford Connecticut 1639-1939, Federal Writers’ Project, 1939 (1973 reprint by the Milford Historical Society)

World War II and Firefighter monuments, Milford

World War II monument, MilfordWe continue our look at downtown Milford monuments by examining the World War II monument at the east end of the Milford Green. The monument commemorates the local residents who served in the war, with five statues representing the contributions of local soldiers, seamen, airmen and nurses. 

The nearby memorial flagpole (mentioned in our post on the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ monument) near the center of the green lists the names of 78 residents who died in the war. 

Immediately west of the World War II monument is a monument dedicated to the firefighters who have been protecting Milford since the first company was founded in 1838. A bell, which summoned volunteer firefighters to Milford’s central firehouse between 1887 and the 1930s, sits mounted next to a granite marker that explains its history. The other side of the granite marker lists the names of six local firefighters who gave their lives in the line of duty. 

World War II monument, Milford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World War II monument, Milford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World War II monument, Milford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firefighters' monument, Milford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Firefighters' monument, Milford

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Milford

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Milford, facing west

This week, we look at several monuments on (or near) the green at the heart of downtown Milford, which was founded in 1639. We’ll start with the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, which was dedicated in 1888 to commemorate local residents who served in the Civil War.

The four sides of the monument beneath the soldier lists battle locations of Gettysburg, Fort Fisher (North Carolina), Port Hudson (Louisiana) and Appomattox, and also feature several symbolic icons.

A flower bed at the base of the monument helps to discourage active interaction with the monument during warmer weather.

The flagpole in the background of the image facing away from the monument was built in 1954, and is dedicated to the citizens of Milford who have lost their lives in World War II, Korea and Vietnam (monuments honoring those wars will be featured later this week). Its 15-sided base includes 13 stone markers listing the names of 93 local residents killed in those conflicts.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, Milford, facing east

As you can see from the vintage postcard below, a gazebo has long stood near the monument. The card’s postmark is unclear, but the back is divided, so it was printed after 1907. If you look in the lower left corner (enlarged in the next image), you’ll see a horse-drawn delivery carriage.

In front of the monument is a memorial fountain erected by the Ford family to honor their ancestor Thomas Ford, one of Milford’s founders. The fountain is  used today as a planter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Memorial Fountain, Milford Green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Connecticut Historical Society: Civil War Monuments in Connecticut

Milford, Connecticut, 350th Anniversary Book (1639-1964)

History of Milford Connecticut 1639-1939, Federal Writers’ Project, 1939 (1973 reprint by the Milford Historical Society)


Defenders’ Monument, New Haven

Defender's MonumentThe Defenders’ Monument, located at the intersection where Columbus and Davenport avenues meet Ella Grasso Boulevard (Route 10) in New Haven, commemorates the more than 150 local militia and students who combined to harass British troops who invaded the city on July 5, 1779.

During the invasion, British troops attempting to capture a powder mill in the city’s Westville section were repulsed by New Haven residents and militia, including forces from nearby towns. The troops eventually began looting nearby homes and businesses, and spent the night on the New Haven green. The next morning, the troops returned to their ships (burning several warehouses near the harbor along the way) and sailed to Fairfield on July 7.

During the attack, 27 residents were killed.1913 Postcard

The monument was dedicated in 1910, and depicts the combined efforts of local militia, residents and students in defending the city. As you can see from a vintage postcard (with a 1913 postmark), the gentleman on the left (as you face the monument) used to carry a ramrod that has been lost to vandalism or theft over the years. Now he’s primarily lending moral support. Also, the monument has been fenced in, perhaps in response to the ramrod disappearance.

Artist and sculptor James E. Kelly was also responsible for at least a dozen historic monuments, including the statues of John Buford in Gettysburg, George Washington at New York’s Federal Hall and the Monmouth Battle Monument in New Jersey.

The monument sits at the base of a small park that’s flanked by two cemeteries (St. Bernard’s to the south and Evergreen to the north). Both include Civil War monuments that will be featured in a future entry.

Defenders' Monument

Defenders' Monument

Update: The British troop landing site at West Haven’s Bradley Point is commemorated with a plaque on a small boulder.

British Troop Landing Site, West Haven

British Troop Landing Site, West Haven

Sources:
-Vision in the Sky, New Haven’s Early Years 1638-1783. Myrna Kagan, Linnet Books, 1989.
-Burpee’s the Story of Connecticut, Charles W, Burpee, American Historical Company, Inc., 1939