Constitution Convention Oak, Torrington

Constitution Convention Oak, TorringtonA plaque on Torrington’s Main Street marks the location of a pin oak tree planted in 1902 to honor the convention that considered revisions to Connecticut’s state constitution.

Torrington’s Consitition Oak stands across Main Street from the Hotchkiss-Fyler House, which now serves as a Museum and the headquarters for Torrington’s historical society.

The plaque at the foot of the 1902 oak (the larger tree near the center of the first image) provides a history of the oak donation program.

Delegates to the constitution convention were sent by all 168 Connecticut municipalities at the time, and each delegate was presented with a pin oak seedling by Charles Hawley, one of the state’s U.S. Senators.

Constitution Convention Oak marker, TorringtonThe proposed constitutional amendments were defeated by voters.

Torrington’s delegate was Orsamus R. Fyler, a Civil War veteran who also served as Torrington’s postmaster, state insurance commissioner, Republican state chairman and a member of state railroad commission.

According to a 2002 survey of the pin oaks conducted by the Connecticut’s Notable Trees Program and the Connecticut College Arboretum, about 75 of the trees have died over the years, and the locations of 21 were not recorded.




Hotchkiss-Fyler House, Torrington










War Memorials, Cornwall

War Memorials, CornwallThe Cornwall green features monuments honoring the town’s war veterans and a 1989 tornado.

Two granite monuments at the eastern edge of the green, near the corner of Pine Street and Bolton Hill Road, honor veterans of the nation’s 20th Century wars.

The southern monument features bronze Honor Roll plaques listing Cornwall’s World War veterans. The World War I plaque lists about 38 names.

The World War II Honor Roll lists about 110 names, and highlights seven Cornwall residents who died during their World War II service.

War Memorials, CornwallNext to the World Wars memorial, a monument honors Cornwall’s veterans of Korea and Vietnam. The Korea plaque lists about 35 local veterans, and the Vietnam plaque lists about 50 names.

A few steps south of the war memorials, a plaque under a large oak tree proclaims the tree to be a descendent of Hartford’s Charter Oak.

At the western edge of the green, a memorial plaque near a young tree honors “the people and the community spirit that helped Cornwall recover from the July 10, 1989 tornado.” The plaque also lists civic leaders in 1989.

The tornado, one of several to strike Connecticut that day, largely destroyed the old-growth Cathedral Pines forest in Cornwall.

A marker in front of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, near the western edge of the green, designates the location of the Foreign Mission School, which attempted to educate Native American and international missionary students between 1819 and 1826.

World War I Honor Roll, Cornwall








World War II Honor Roll, Cornwall








Korea and Vietnam Honor Rolls, Cornwall








Charter Oak Marker, Cornwall








Charter Oak Scion, Cornwall









Tornado Commemoration Tree, Cornwall











Tornado Commemoration Tree Marker, Cornwall









World War I Memorials, Stratford

War Memorial, StratfordStratford honors veterans and heroes of the First World War with several monuments.

Perhaps the most prominent of Stratford’s World War I monuments is the 1931 War Memorial at the eastern end of the West Broad Street green. The monument, which we first featured in May of 2009, features an allegorical figure representing peace and patriotism created by Kent sculptor Willard Paddock.

The figure is holding the hilt of a broken sword, as well as a shield decorated with a large eagle that she is using to protect a symbolic peace dove.

A short distance to the southeast of the War Memorial, the names of 13 residents who died during their service in World War I are inscribed on a monument within Stratford’s 2005 Walk of Honor.

War Memorial, StratfordThe Walk of Honor is a collection of veterans memorials installed at the base of the town’s 1889 Civil War Monument on Academy Hill.

The World War I monument features an inscribed image of the War Memorial, and bears a dedication “to the soldiers from Stratford who saved our country during World War I.”

The monument then lists 13 residents who died during their World War I service.

A memorial in Stratford’s Union Cemetery honors three residents who were killed in the war, and for whom the local American Legion post was named.

World War I Monument, Academy Hill, StratfordA bronze plaque on the monument’s north face reads, “In memory of the first three men from Stratford that gave their lives for their country in World War I.”

One of the fallen residents was lost at sea while serving in the Navy, and two were buried in France.

The monument’s south face bears an inscription reading, “Dedicated to the honor of the men and women who served in defense of their country. Let none forget they gave their all and faltered not when came the call.” 1959. Erected by the American Legion Anderson-Dunn-Kochiss Post 42.”


World War I Memorial, Union Cemetery, Stratford








World War I Memorial, Union Cemetery, Stratford







World War I Memorial, Union Cemetery, Stratford













Soliders and Sailors Monument, Jim Thorpe, PA

Soliders and Sailors Monument, Jim Thorpe, PAThe Borough of Jim Thorpe, PA, honors its Civil War veterans with a zinc monument supplied by a Bridgeport, CT, manufacturer.

The Soliders and Sailors Monument, which stands near Packer Hill Road and the Carbon County courthouse, was dedicated in 1886 to honor veterans of the Civil War and earlier conflicts from the borough (then named Mauch Chunk) and nearby communities.

A dedication on the monument’s front (south) face reads, “To the brave defenders of the Union from the County of Carbon.” The battle of Appomattox is also listed on the south face.

Soliders and Sailors Monument, Jim Thorpe, PAThe east face has an excerpt from the Bivouac of the Dead poem by Theodore O’Hara, which appears in several national cemeteries and numerous Civil War monuments (including the Soldiers’ Monument in Derby, CT). The excerpt reads, “On fame’s eternal camping ground their silent tents were spread, and glory guards with solemn round the bivouac of the dead.”

The east face also honors veterans of the 1847 Mexican War.

The north face lists the Civil War battles of the Wilderness, Hampton Roads, Antietam and Gettysburg, as well as the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.

The west face has an inscription reading, “Erected under the auspices of Chapman Post No. 61, G.A.R., 1886.” (The G.A.R. was the Grand Army of the Republic, the post-Civil War veterans’ organization.)

Soliders and Sailors Monument, Jim Thorpe, PAWorld War II

The monument also has an Honor Roll plaque on the base of its south face honoring the county’s World War II veterans. The plaque has eight columns of names, and honors 18 veterans who died during their World War II service.

The monument was rededicated in 1993 after being damaged in a motor vehicle accident.

White Bronze

The Civil War monument was supplied by the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, CT, which also supplied the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Stratford, CT. While there are some differences between the Jim Thorpe and Stratford monuments, such as the standard-bearer in Stratford and some ornamental details, the monuments are very similar.

Soliders and Sailors Monument, Jim Thorpe, PAMonumental Bronze was one of the leading suppliers of a zinc alloy they marketed as “white bronze.”

White bronze headstones can be seen in many older cemeteries, and can be recognized quickly by their distinctive pewter-like color.

Zinc worked pretty well for smaller headstones, but the soft, brittle material created structural problems when it ws used for large Civil War monuments.

The Jim Thorpe monument received extensive work in 1984 to repair corrosion at its base.






Soliders and Sailors Monument, Jim Thorpe, PA











World War II Honor Roll, Jim Thorpe, PA








Soliders and Sailors Monument, Jim Thorpe, PA










Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA

Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PAJim Thorpe is buried in an eastern Pennsylvania town that changed its name and built a monument honoring the famous athlete to attract tourists.

The Jim Thorpe Memorial site is on North Street (Route 93) in Jim Thorpe, PA. The site features a red marble memorial with his name and a quote from Sweden’s King Gustav V, who said after the 1912 Olympics that Thorpe was the world’s greatest athlete.

The monument also has several images depicting Thorpe competing in the numerous sports in which he excelled, including track and field, baseball and football.

Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PAThe mound on which the monument sits includes soil from Thorpe’s native Oklahoma, New York’s Polo Grounds and the Olympic stadium in Stockholm.

The site also pictures a 2007 statue depicting Thorpe as a football player, and another statue, dedicated in 2011, showing Thorpe with a discus.

The Thorpe memorial also includes an abstract sculpture, The Spirit of Thunder and Lightning, that was dedicated in 1998. Surrounding the sculpture, several wayside markers provide highlights from Thorpe’s life and athletic achievements.

Famed Athlete

Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PAThorpe, a member of the Sac and Fox tribe, was born in 1888 in Oklahoma. As a young man, he attended the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania and led its football team to victories over nationally ranked teams.

At the 1912 Olympics, Thorpe won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon. The medals were stripped a year later because Thorpe had previously played semi-pro baseball, but restored in 1982.

After the Olympics, Thorpe played professional football for 14 years, and also played professional baseball for six of those years.

Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PAHe was voted the greatest athlete of the half-century in 1950, and in 1963 was part of the first group inducted in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Controversial Memorial

While it’s an impressive tribute to Thorpe’s athletic achievements, the memorial site is also the center of a controversy surrounding his burial in Pennsylvania nearly 60 years ago.

After Thorpe’s death in 1953, his third wife essentially auctioned the remains to two Pennsylvania communities, Mauch Chunk (Native American for “bear mountain”) and East Mauch Chunk.

Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PAThe Mauch Chunks, former mining and resort communities, were searching for an economic boost when they agreed to build a memorial to Thorpe, merge and change their combined name to Jim Thorpe. Local officials hoped a Thorpe memorial would attract the proposed pro football hall of fame and lead to the construction of other tourist destinations.

Other family members had planned to bury Thorpe on tribal land in Oklahoma, and were conducting a traditional feast the night before the scheduled funeral when Thorpe’s body was removed by his wife.

While Thorpe’s seven children remained divided over the years about his final resting place, the two surviving sons are continuing legal efforts to have his remains returned to Oklahoma.

Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA








Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA








Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA








Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA











Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA








Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA











Jim Thorpe Memorial, Jim Thorpe, PA








Jim Thorpe, 1913












War Memorials, Weatherly, PA

Civil War Monument, Weatherly, PAWeatherly, Pennsylvania, honors its war heroes and veterans with several monuments.

The most prominent monument on the hillside near the intersection of East Main and Spring streets is the borough’s 1906 Civil War monument. The monument features a standard-bearer holding, in an uncommon pose, an unsheathed sword.

A dedication on the west face of the monument’s granite base reads, “1861-1865. Our country’s crisis. Erected by the citizens of Weatherly and vincinity, A.D. 1906, in memory of its noble defenders.”

Civil War Monument, Weatherly, PAThe monument’s east face bears an excerpt from the conclusion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address reading, “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

We’re not sure what material was used to create the soldier figure, but our best guess is that was cast in zinc and painted to resemble bronze.

On the hillside in front of the monument, a Rodman gun is flanked by two cannonball pyramids.

Civil War Monument, Weatherly, PAThe hillside also features three monuments honoring Weatherly’s veterans of the two World Wars, Vietnam, Korea and Desert Storm.

The central monument bears a dedication reading, “Dedicated to the honor and sacrifice of our men and women who served their country. Let none forget they gave their all and faltered not when came the call.”

The monument’s World War I section lists four residents who died during their service, and the World War II section lists 15 names.

The Vietnam memorial lists three residents who died in the conflict and one who was reported missing in action.

Civil War Monument, Weatherly, PAMemorials to the Korean War and Operation Desert Storm do not list any local casualties.

The large school building in the background was donated to the town in 1903 by Bethlehem Steel president Charles M. Schwab and named after his wife, a Weatherly native. The building originally served all grades, and was expanded in 1936. Separate elementary and middle schools were built over the years, and the borough closed the Schwab school after opening a high school in 1990.



Veterans Memorials, Weatherly, PA








Civil War Monument, Weatherly, PA

















Civil War Monument, Weatherly, PA

War Memorials, Milford PA

War Memorial, Milford PAMilford, Pennsylvania, honors war veterans and heroes with three monuments in its historic district.

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on Broad Street (U.S. routes 29 and 6) was dedicated in 1931 and restored in 1991. A bronze plaque on the monument’s front (northwest) face reads, “ Dedicated in honor and memory of the soldiers and sailors from Pike County, Pennsylvania, who answered our country’s call to arms in wars of our nation.”

The monument also features a bronze eagle atop a small globe.

On the other side of Broad Street, the 1874 Pike County courthouse has two memorial plaques on its southeast face. A World War I plaque bears a dedication reading, “To honor those of Pike County who served in the World War.”

War Memorial, Milford PAThe plaque has five columns of names listing county residents, and highlights 15 residents who died during their World War I service.

The courthouse wall also features a 1938 plaque honoring the county’s Civil War veterans. The dedication reads, “In memory of Civil War men who served from Pike Co., Penna.,” and mentions that the plaque was placed by the Gettysburg chapter of the National Society Daughters of the Union 1861-65.”

The plaque contains four columns of names.

Milford is the seat of Pike County, which was formed in 1814. The country was named for Zebulon Pike, who discovered Pike’s Peak and was killed while serving as a general in the War of 1812.

War Memorial, Milford PA








War Memorial, Milford PA








Pike County Courthouse, Milford PA








World War Honor Roll, Milford, PA








Civil War Honor Roll, Milford, PA











Pike Country Courthouse, Milford, PA











Nathan Hale Statue, New Haven

Nathan Hale Statue, New HavenYale honors Nathan Hale with a statue outside his former Old Campus dormitory.

Hale, named Connecticut’s state hero after being executed by British forces in 1776, is honored with a statue by noted artist (and fellow Yale alum) Bela Lyon Pratt.

The statue depicts Hale just before his hanging in New York City. His last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to give to my country,” is inscribed at the monument’s base. An inscription on the monument’s front (northeast) face reads, “Nathan Hale, 1755-1776. Class of 1773”

Nathan Hale Statue, New HavenThe statue was dedicated in 1914 outside Connecticut Hall, where Hale lived during his time at Yale. The statue originally stood closer to the building and faced southeast, but was later moved to a position between Connecticut and Welch halls.

Since we have no portraits of Hale from his lifetime, the statue is based on descriptions written after his death.

Replicas of the Yale statue are on display at New Haven’s Fort Nathan Hale, the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virgina, the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, the Connecticut Governor’s Mansion in Hartford and several other locations.

Nathan Hale Statue, New HavenHale is also honored with a monument in his hometown of Coventry (where officials plan to dedicate a new statue this year) as well with a statue and schoolhouse in New London, a bust and schoolhouse in East Haddam, and a statue in the state capitol.

Pratt’s other notable public works in Connecticut include the Andersonville Boy monument at the State Capitol, the Hive of the Averys monument in Groton and the Stiles Judson fountain in Stratford.

Since Yale graduates played a significant role both in the CIA and the Office of Strategic Services that preceded it, there are a number of online rumors suggesting the CIA replaced the Yale statue with a copy so it could display the original in Virginia. Considering you could spend months reading all of the online rumors about Yale alums conspiring to control the world, we’re discounting the alleged statue-swap reports.


National Monument to the Forefathers, Plymouth, Mass.

Update: We’ve published Faith and Freedom: The National Monument to the Forefathers, a book describing this magnificent monument in more detail. Learn more.


With a recent movie creating interest in the National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth, Mass., we put together a quick video slideshow to highlight the monument.

Our original post, with detailed information about the monument, is here.

Finding the monument: The National Monument to the Forefathers is on Allerton Street, a residential neighborhood in Plymouth. If you’re using GPS or an online mapping service to find the site, using the address “70 Allerton Street” will bring you close enough to find on-street parking.

Plymouth, Massachusetts