Friday, November 7, 2008

Quick-hit history lesson

Another history post. Woo hoo! It's also about Hartford, like last Sunday's post that seemed to be well-received.

This photo shows the top of the historic Soldiers and Sailors Arch that graces Bushnell Park in downtown Hartford. I took it from inside our van (it's pretty clear, so we must have been stopped at a light, I can't recall) as we headed to visit our children at the University of Hartford, a few miles from there.

A bit of its history, taken from the Bushnell Park Web site:

"The arch was designed by Hartford architect George Keller, whose ashes were buried in the east tower when he died in 1935, along with those of his wife, Mary, who died in 1946. The arch was dedicated on September 17, 1886--the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam--to honor the 4,000 Hartford citizens who served in the Civil War, and the 400 who died for the Union. This Gothic monument is made of brownstone from Portland, Connecticut, and cost about $60,000 (from the city treasury) to build. Notice especially the terra cotta frieze depicting scenes from the Civil War, and midway below it, eight-foot-tall statues representing the various kinds of residents who left their homes, families and businesses to fight in the War: student, farmer, freed slave, stone mason, carpenter and blacksmith. The original terra cotta angels--Gabriel and Raphael--which crown each tower, were replicated in bronze and replaced in 1987 as part of a $1.5 million restoration."

It continues: "Be sure to read the bronze plaque under the freed slave which honors the 128 African-American residents of Hartford who fought for the Union. This plaque was the result of research by Airron Bethea, a seventh grade student in Hartford, who was writing an essay in 1987 for the rededication of the restored Arch."

Here's something about the Rev. Horace Bushnell, which I also took from

"At his death in 1876, the Rev. Horace Bushnell, pastor of Hartford's North Congregational Church (now Immanuel Congregational), was Hartford's most loved and respected citizen and the leading American theologian of the nineteenth century. The author of 12 books, he was a true renaissance man, with interests--and genuine expertise--in many pursuits. He was an avid newspaper reader, followed politics with a passion, and expressed his opinions freely."

And a quote from when he proposed the park in 1853:

" opening in the heart of the city..., to which citizens will naturally flow in their walks; ...a place where children play; ...a place for holiday scenes and celebrations; ...where rich and poor will exchange looks and make acquaintance through the eyes; ...a place of life and motion that will make us more completely conscious of being one people."

He certainly liked to use semi-colons.

Learning this makes me want to see the monument up close and personal.
If you click on the picture you can see a sign for the indoor wooden carousel (shown below) that's in the park ... I smell a blog post.

~ ~ ~
I hope you enjoyed today's mini-history lesson.


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i love carousel horses! great post....

smiles, bee

Queen-Size funny bone said...

We took my girls to ride the carousel every summer for years and years. The arch has been re-built 3 or 4 times because of cars hitting it.

Gattina said...

I first thought it was Hartford in the UK, lol but I know that you live in the States ! Interesting post !

Linda said...

I did a post not this past summer but the summer before about Hartford when I took the girls up for a tour of the Capital Building as well as parts of Bushnell Park and the Wadsworth. You can find it right here if you're at all interested in taking a look.

I've got a semi-history post up today, too. Apparently we brilliant minds do think alike, don't we?!?

Patti said...

Bee: thank you, and I love carousels too.

Queenie: I didn't know that about the arch. Interesting!

Gattina: Never knew there was a Hartford in the UK..All of our towns and cities in Connecticut are named for ones in England, apparently.

Duchess Linda: I remember that post well, and enjoyed reading it at the time.
I shall revisit it. ;-)

The Curmudgeon said...


A few years back (OK, probably 10 or 12, by now) we had a gang crimes detective speak at a school assembly. Some parents were in attendance and I heard about it from them.

The policeman showed various gang signs. The adults didn't recognize any -- but the kids -- the kids who we let go to the parks in our nice, safe corner of the City -- recognized them all.

It's amazing how much goes on under our very noses.

Patti said...

Curmudgeon: Did you just burst my bubble about this nice park with an antique indoor carousel? I think I may cry.