SECOND LOOK: Town Green war monument nearing 100 years

Published on Thursday, 1 June 2017 02:03
Written by Art Secondo

 

It sits proudly in the middle of the Town Green with its tall flagpole reaching above the trees. Thousands pass it during the annual Apple Festivals and children sit on its marble ledges. It claims no title and its bronze names disappear in the darkness of the nights.

In less than two years the war monument on the Southington Town Green will be 100 years old. The monument, dedicated in 1919 supports the 87-foot flagpole. The bronze plaques on each side have the names of nearly 1,000 residents who served their country.

During the 100 year anniversary of Peck, Stowe and Wilcox, the monument and flagpole was a gift to the town by the hardware manufacturing factory located several blocks down Center Street. The factory was torn down several years ago and purchase by a company from New York to build residential condos.

In 1919, the factory proudly sponsored a remarkable three-day homecoming and soldiers welcome home celebration that attracted hundreds of former residents as well as thousands of visitors from all over New England.

The principal features of the celebration were a huge, old-fashioned picnic at nearby Lake Compounce, a pageant description of the historical and industrial history of Connecticut and lastly, a large parade and a community ball. The celebration officially ended with a religious service and band concert on the Town Green.

The factory officially presented the monument which, at the time, was considered the only one in the country that carried the names of all the men from Southington who participated in United States wars. The monument is five feet wide by 10 feet high and has four bronze sides with the names of those involved. The names include 425 men and women who severed in the ‘Great War’ but also the names of those who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Civil War.

According to historical archives, the flagpole was presented to the Town by Governor Holcomb, a Southington resident. Southington also achieved the distinction during the celebration by being the first municipality in the nation to really entertain its returning warriors as honored guests. Instead of having the soldiers pass in a parade before the assembled townsfolk, a huge reviewing stand was built for the accommodation of the soldiers and they sat as a reviewing body as the townsfolk passed before them in marching units and floats.

Afterward, the soldiers formed behind their own band and marched one block into a court of honor composed of the marching organizations of the parade that has drawn up on three sides of a hallowed square of the Town Green.

Besides the new monument and flagpole, a captured German long-range gun was presented to the town by Lieutenant Gustave Charles de Coutouly of the French High Commission on behalf of the French Republic. Commonly referred to as the canon, it was later donated and melted for the War effort.

 



Posted in The Bristol Press, Southington Herald on Thursday, 1 June 2017 02:03. Updated: Thursday, 1 June 2017 12:18.