History of Monument

April 9, 1865 The American Civil War comes to a close with the signing of peace in Appomattox, VA. The cost in lives on both sides is staggering, approximately 650,000 died in combat, of wounds, disease, starvation or other causes. Some recent estimates put it as high as 750,000.

The following is a timeline which outlines the history and description of Worcester's American Civil War Soldier's Memorial.
January 1, 1866 Worcester's newly elected Mayor, the Honorable James B. Blake, during his inaugural address suggest a memorial be erected in memory of city soldiers who died during the American Civil War.
February 10, 1866 A special committee of six members and a canvassing committee of thirty-seven were formed. It was chaired by Mayor Blake to procure subscriptions from local businesses and accept general donations for such a memorial.
September 5, 1867 A meeting was held at Washburn Hall and the city Treasurer, the Honorable George W. Richardson, reported he had $11,242.49 in his possession as of that date. At this meeting it was also decided to continue seeking subscriptions, choose a site, select a design and "erect a monument to our fellow heroes."
September 28, 1867 Nine members made up of the Mayor, city council members and several prominent citizens formed an Executive Committee to seek a designer and agree on a site.
June 25, 1871 George Crompton, an inventor and prominent city businessman, was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee following the death of Mayor Blake.
November 8, 1871 The Executive Committee views a clay miniature model of the memorial submitted by Randolph Rodgers, an American Neoclassical sculptor who was living in Rome, Italy at the time. The committee unanimously adopted it.
November 14, 1871 At a General Committee meeting it was voted to accept the design at a cost of $50,000. Although only $15,000 was available through subscriptions, it was voted to ask the Worcester City Council to make an appropriation of $35,000 to secure a contract.
November 20, 1871 The city council unanimously votes to appropriate the $35,000. The sculptor returned to Rome to begin the process of Constructing the final bronze figures that will adorn the monument. The committee drafted criteria for listing those fallen soldiers on the monument's tablets.
    First: those men who had established residence in the city at the time of their enlistment, although they may have joined the quotas in another city or town.
    Second: those men who have served the quota of Worcester, whatever may have been their residence.
March 30, 1874 The city council approves the location of the monument to be in the northeast part of the common as it was deemed to be the most conspicuous site.
July 15, 1874 The dedication of American Civil War Soldier's Memorial began at 11 o'clock with a mile long parade from Mechanics Hall to the Common where the ceremony took place. Among the many notables who attended the event was Vice-President of the United States, the Honorable Henry Wilson and Major General Ambrose E. Burnside who many of the city regiments served under.
1969 The city raised the height of the Common by four feet during a renovation thus covering up the first tier of the monument which reduced its overall height to sixty-two feet.

Description of the Monument**
     "The extreme height of the Monument is sixty-six feet. Its base is nineteen and a half feet square, below which is a sub-base of rough granite, resting upon a rock formation set deep in the earth. Rising from the rough granite are three steps of Westerly granite, smooth hammered, each eight inches in height. Above these steps is the first section of the Monument proper, which is thirteen and a half feet square, with square projections at each angle, four feet square and six feet in height. Upon each of these four projections stands a bronze statue seven feet and three inches in height, the four representing the four branches---Infantry, artillery, cavalry and the navy.
   Upon the four sides of this die, between the statues, are four tablets of bronze, upon which are inscribed the names of the three hundred ninety-eight heroes whose memory it is to perpetuate. On the four sides of the next die are four large circular plates of bronze. On the one in front---or to the West---is the inscription:
A. D. 1861---1865
    On the side towards Park Street the plate bears a bronze medallion head of John A Andrew, of colossal size; on the opposite side of the plate bears a bas relief, in bronze,---a dying soldier supported by a comrade; while the remaining plate, on the Easterly side, is a medallion of Abraham Lincoln.
    The third section of the Monument is another die four feet nine inches high, and five feet in width. Each side bears a bronze plaque, the four including the seal of the city of Worcester, the coat of arms of Massachusetts, a wreath of laurel and crossed swords, and the coat of arms of the United States.
    Above this section rests the base of the column, and from it rises a graceful circular shaft of granite, fifteen feet in height, three feet and a half in diameter at the base, and two feet nine inches in diameter at the top. This is surrounded by a richly carved Corinthian capital, of granite, upon which stands the crowning figure of the Monument, a bronze statue of "Victory," eleven feet in height, its resting on a bronze globe. The figure holds in its right hand a drawn and raised sword, and in the left a branch of palm.
    The bronze statues, medallions and plates were modeled by the artist, Randolph Rogers, at his studio in Rome, and cast at the Royal Bronze Foundry in Munich (Germany), under his personal supervision. The granite work was executed by Mr. J. G. Batterson, of Hartford (CN), at his quarries at Westerly, R. I., from Mr. Roger's designs. The rough granite base was constructed by Messrs. Mann, Bigelow & Goulding, of this city. The Monument has been erected under the personal supervision of Mr. Rogers, and of Messrs. Boyden & Son, architects of this city."

**Verbiage taken from the "Dedication of the Soldiers' Monument at Worcester, Massachusetts: July 15, A.D. 1874," republished by Bibliolife,LLC from the original publication printed in 1875.

James B. Blake, fifteenth Mayor of Worcester (January 1, 1966 to December 18, 1870, died in office) initiated the construction of the memorial. 

George Crompton (1829-1886) was an American inventor, manufacturer and businessman who became Chairperson of the Executive Committee following the death of Mayor James Blake in 1871.

Randolph Rodgers (1825-1892), sculptor of Worcester's American Civil War Soldier's Memorial.

Henry Wilson (1812-1875), spoke at the dedication ceremony while serving as Vice-President under Ulysses S. Grant, eighteenth President of the United States.

Ambrose E. Burnside (1824-1881), Major General of the Army of the Potomac and future Governor of Rhode Island commanded many of the Worcester regiments during the war spoke at the dedication.

Subpages (1): Monument Rededication