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.





Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument Rededicated in New Haven


East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument RededicationOn Sunday afternoon, the 1887 Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in New Haven’s East Rock Park was rededicated in a ceremony that took place on the monument’s 125th anniversary.

The rededication was organized by the Connecticut 9th Irish Regiment, the Irish History Round Table and the Connecticut Irish American Historical Society.

An honor guard from several reenactment organizations laid a wreath at the monument’s base, and State Troubadour Emeritus Tom Callinan entertained the crowd with Civil War songs.

The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was dedicated in 1887 to honor soldiers and sailors who fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and the Civil War.

East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument RededicationAn estimated 100,000 people attended the monument’s original dedication. Although Sunday’s crowd was a little smaller, the event provided a fitting tribute to the monument and the New Haven veterans it honors.






East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication








East Rock Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument Rededication














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.


Yale World War Memorial, New Haven

Hewitt Quadrangle, YaleYale honors students and alumni killed in World War I with a cenotaph dedicated in 1927.

The World War Memorial stands in the Hewitt Quadrangle, an area also known as Beinecke Plaza. A dedication on the monument’s southwest face reads, “In memory of the men of Yale who, true to her traditions, gave their lives that freedom might not perish from the earth.”

The front corners of the sandstone monument’s base feature carved eagles, and the monument also has decorative elements including a tank, a large cannon and a variety of other military equipment.

Yale World War Memorial, New HavenThe names of several World War I battles are inscribed on the Commons dining hall building behind the cenotaph.

The World War memorial was designed by architect Thomas Hastings, who was also responsible for the Commons, Woolsey Hall and the New York Public Library, and Everett V. Meeks, dean of Yale’s School of the Fine Arts.

The names of 225 Yale students and alumni who died during their World War I service are inscribed on panels, dedicated in 1920, along with other memorials in the lobby of Woolsey Hall, including Yale’s Civil War memorial.

In front of the cenotaph, a memorial flagstaff honors Lieutenant Augustus Canfield Ledyard, a Yale alum who was killed in 1899 during the Philippine-American war.

Yale World War Memorial, New HavenThe Ledyard Flagstaff, dedicated in 1908, was moved to its location near the cenotaph as part of a 2004 renovation of the plaza.






Yale World War Memorial, New Haven








Yale World War Memorial, New Haven








Ledyard Flagstaff, Yale








Ledyard Flagstaff, Yale








Ledyard Flagstaff, Yale








Ledyard Flagstaff, Yale








Ledyard Flagstaff, Yale


Woolsey Hall, New Haven

Woolsey Hall, New HavenYale honors students and graduates killed in the country’s wars with memorials in the lobby of Woolsey Hall.

Woolsey Hall’s lobby walls feature large marble slabs, arranged by war, inscribed with the names, military and Yale affiliations, and date and place of death.

The Civil War memorial, flanking the corridor between the hall’s rotunda and its west entrance, was dedicated in 1915. Reflecting the spirit of reconciliation common at the time of dedication, the memorial blends Yale graduates and students who died while serving the Union and Confederate forces.

Woolsey Hall, New HavenThe floor between the memorial plaques has an inset dedication reading, “To the men of Yale who gave their lives in the Civil War. The university has dedicated this memorial that their high devotion may live in all her son and that the bonds which now unite the land may endure. MCMXV (1915).”

Below the dedication, which is becoming hard to read after years of foot traffic, is evidence of an earlier inscription.

The Civil War tablets list 113 killed defending the Union, and 54 killed serving the Confederate states.

The north wall features allegorical figures representing peace and devotion. Peace is depicted as a woman holding a child and an olive branch, and an inscription above her head reads, “Peace crowns their act of sacrifice.” Devotion is pictured as a toga-draped flag-bearer. An inscription reads, “Devotion gives a sanctity to strife.”

Woolsey Hall, New HavenThe south wall features allegorical depictions of Memory and Courage. Memory is depicted as a woman holding an hourglass, and an inscription reads, “Memory here guards their ennobled names.” Courage is pictured as a classical warrior, and his inscription reads, “Courage disdains fame and wins it.”

Among the students and graduates honored is Uriah Nelson Parmelee, a Guilford native who left Yale as a junior. He served with a New York regiment and was named a captain in the 1st Connecticut Cavalry before he was killed April 1, 1865, at the Battle of Five Forks in Virginia. Parmelee was killed less than two weeks before Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

The memorial also honors Francis Stebbins Bartow, a law school graduate and Georgia native. A fervent secessionist, Bartow organized an infantry company and was killed during the first Battle of Bull Run/Manassas in 1861. Bartow was the first brigade commander killed in the war.

Woolsey Hall, New Haven

The memorial was created by sculptor Henry Hering, whose other notable works include the World War plaza and memorial at the American Legion’s headquarters in Indianapolis.

Veterans of other wars are honored with similar tablets along the lobby’s interior hallway. In 1920, for instance, the university added eight tablets honoring 225 graduates and students killed during World War I.

The west lobby also contains plaques honoring graduates killed while serving as missionaries, including several who died during the Boxer Rebellion in China.

Woolsey Hall, at the corner of Grove and College streets, was dedicated in 1901 as part of the celebration of Yale’s bicentennial. The building is also known as Memorial Hall.

Woolsey Hall, New Haven








Woolsey Hall, New Haven








Woolsey Hall, New Haven








Woolsey Hall, New Haven











Woolsey Hall, New Haven











Spanish-American War Monument, New Haven

New Haven honors veterans of the Spanish-American and Philippine–American wars with a statue of a Marine.

The Spanish-American War Monument in Edgewood Park was dedicated in 1926 to honor veterans of that war, the 1902 Philippine Insurrection and 1901-2 China Relief Expedition.

The monument depicts a Marine wearing a floppy hat and charging with a rifle. A dedication plaque on the front (northeast) side of the monument’s base was stolen in the 1970s.

The southeast side of the base bears the years 1898-1902 to honor the various conflicts the monument commemorates.

The statue was created by sculptor Michel Martino, whose other works include several statues in New Haven and a Spanish-American War memorial in New Britain.

The monument was restored in 2008 as part of a New Haven initiative to clean and repair its public memorials.

The marine figure, like many memorials to the Spanish-American War, was cast from metal recovered from the USS Maine. Plaques cast from the Maine can be seen in Naugatuck, Meriden, Bridgeport and other Connecticut towns.

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Art Inventories Catalog

Fort Nathan Hale, New Haven

A New Haven site that’s hosted a series of forts now bears the name of American Revolution hero Nathan Hale.

Fort Nathan Hale Park is a 20-acre historic and recreational site on the eastern shore of New Haven Harbor. The park features reconstructions of American Revolution and Civil War forts as well as a statue of Nathan Hale.

Black Rock Fort, which stands on the far edge of the site, is a recreated American Revolution fort from which 19 militia members fired cannons at British ships during the 1779 invasion of New Haven.

The English cannon mounted at the fort site was dedicated by a local DAR chapter in 1914.

Near the Black Rock Fort site are two restored bombproof shelters that were part of the Civil War fort. Off-duty troops would have stayed in the shelters, which were guarded by large mounds of earth.

The fort was protected by a moat that was crossed by a drawbridge. The drawbridge opened and closed by sliding the center section, which rested on railroad-like tracks.

The site also features a statue of Nathan Hale in the center of a small courtyard ringed by flagpoles with the current U.S. flag as well as flags from the Colonial Era, the American Revolution, War of 1812, and the Civil War.

The Hale statue is a fiberglass copy of a 1914 figure by Bela Lyon Pratt at Yale University, from which Hale graduated in 1773. Another copy of the Lyon statue is displayed at the CIA headquarters building in Langley, Virginia.

Hale, the official state hero, is also honored with a statue in New London and a bust in East Haddam (both communities in which he taught) as well as a statue at the state capitol building.

The Fort Nathan Hale site, next to a Coast Guard station, has seen several uses since it last hosted an active fort. In 1921, it was turned over to the City of New Haven, and it was used as a recreation area until it was damaged during the hurricane of 1938.

In the late 1960s, an effort was launched to restore the site in time for the U.S. bicentennial celebration in 1976.

Today, Fort Nathan Hale is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Firemen’s Monument, New Haven

New Haven honors its firefighters with a monument and burial plot in the city’s Evergreen Cemetery.

A dedication plaque on the front (east) face of the 1877 Firemen’s Monument reads, “Erected to the memory of the firefighters of the city of New Haven by the Firemen’s Benevolent Association.”

The east face also features plaque commemorating the monument’s 1993 rededication, as well as a decorative trophy depicting the department’s logo, crossed ladders and a variety of firefighting tools. The city’s emblem also appears near the top of the monument’s east face.

The monument’s north, west and south faces feature bronze plaques with ornate depictions of antique (to our eyes) firefighting vehicles and equipment.

The monument is topped by a helmeted bronze firefighter, standing with a wrench in his right hand and a coat draped over his left arm. The firefighter was sculpted by Melzar Mosman, whose other Connecticut works include monuments in Middletown and Danielson, as well as the figures on the Civil War monuments in Bridgeport’s Seaside Park. (The firefighter’s monument design, with a figure atop a column decorated with a trophy, is very similar to an 1870 Civil War monument.)

Next to the large monument is a smaller monument honoring three of the six firefighters who were killed in April of 1910 battling a fire at the former New Haven County jail on Whalley Avenue.

In the southwest corner of the firemen’s plot is an 1852 marble monument honoring Bevil Sperry, who was killed fighting a grocery store fire on State Street. Sperry was the first of 59 New Haven firefighters who fall in the line of the duty, and the first firefighter interred in the then-new plot.

The Sperry monument was created by Thomas Phillips, one of the founders of Evergreen Cemetery and a firm that would become New Haven’s most prominent supplier of cemetery and public memorials.

Evergreen Cemetery also features the 1870 monument to the 204 Civil War soldiers who died in New Haven’s Knight Hospital from their wartime wounds.

Cornelius S. Bushnell Monument, New Haven

New Haven honors shipping and railroad investor Cornelius Scranton Bushnell, best known for his contributions to Civil War ironclads, with a monument in Monitor Square.

The 1906 monument near the intersection of Chapel Street and Derby Avenue honors Bushnell, a Madison native who operated a marine supply business, served as president of the New Haven and New London railroad, and opened a Fair Haven shipyard.

During the Civil War, Bushnell’s political and naval connections were instrumental in the development of the USS Monitor, the first Union ironclad warship. Bushnell was one of three private owners of the vessel during its first battle, after which the U.S. government agreed to purchase the ship and use its design for additional ironclads.

The monument’s east face bears a bronze portrait of Bushnell (on your left) and John Ericsson, the Swedish engineers and inventor who designed the Monitor. (Ericsson is honored with a monument in Washington, D.C.)

A dedication reads, “This memorial is erected in honor of Cornelius Scranton Bushnell, a citizen of New Haven to whose faith, persistence and patriotism the country is indebted for the construction of the Monitor from plans by John Ericsson. The Monitor defeated the Merrimac March 9th 1862.”

The monument is topped with large eagle standing on a sphere that bears the United States shield. The sphere is supported by four fish.

The monument was produced by sculptor Herbert Adams, whose other works include bronze doors at the Library of Congress, tablets at the Massachusetts State House and a number of other statues.

After the war, Bushnell was an investor and executive with the Union-Pacific railroad. He died in New York in 1896 and is buried in New Haven’s Evergreen Cemetery.

Connecticut 29th Regiment Monument, New Haven

Connecticut’s African American Civil War veterans are honored with a 2008 monument in a New Haven park.

Descendants of the Connecticut 29th Colored Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, dedicated the monument in New Haven’s Crisculo Park.

The 900 soldiers who fought with the regiment are honored with a large, polished black granite monument. Eight smaller monuments, listing members of the regiment, are arranged in an arc ranging from the north to the south. The smaller monuments also list the towns — from Avon to Woodstock — from which members joined.

On the large monument’s west face, a bronze plaque depicts soldiers carrying the United States flag and the unit’s colors while others stand by with rifles. Below the plaque, the unit’s six engagements are listed.

The west face also lists the 45 officers and enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, and the 152 men who died from disease or accident.

The south face is inscribed with a detailed history of the unit, which rallied on the site of today’s Crisculo Park (known as Grapevine Point at the time) and departed for the war in March of 1864.

The east face has an illustration depicting two soldiers, and the north face lists the 2008 dedication by the regiment’s descendents.

The monument was created by sculptor Ed Hamilton, who was also responsible for the Amistad memorial near New Haven’s City Hall.

Members of the CT 29th regiment from the greater Danbury area are honored with a 2007 monument in the city’s Wooster Cemetery.

More information about the regiment, and photos from the New Haven monument’s 2008 dedication ceremony, can be seen at the CT 29th Web site.