The Historical Society of Watertown announced that it has begun the official fundraising campaign for the Soldiers’ Monument and Saltonstall Park Project. The purpose of this initiative is the repair of a badly-damaged Civil War statue and upgrading of the surrounding park area.
“I walk by the statue almost every day on my way to Watertown Square,” explained Jon Spector, coordinator of the campaign, “and I’m concerned that this memorial to our soldiers is in such poor shape.” With the help of Katherine Gardner-Westcott of the Watertown Free Public Library, research on the history revealed the importance of the monument. “Our goal and commitment is to now restore it to a proper condition,” said Spector.
The Soldiers’ Monument is made of granite and was constructed in 1889. The statue has a damaged face, missing hand and broken rifle. There is also graffiti on its base. The plaza area surrounding the statue is also part of the project, with tree pruning of the 13 Linden trees and replacement of the old benches.
For 122 years, the Soldiers’ Monument has stood as a memorial to those citizens who gave their lives during the Civil War. Inscribed on the pedestal are the words commemorating “the valiant men and women from the town of Watertown who served and lived, who served and died, so that we may continue to enjoy the blessing of a free America”.
More recently, another veterans’ memorial was installed in this small plaza next to the Town Hall. There is also a unique tribute to Watertown’s first form of local government. All three stones are dedicated to the citizens of Watertown.
“The ultimate goal of the project,” said Marilynne Roach, President of the Historical Society of Watertown, “is to repair the Soldiers’ Monument and bring it back to the public’s attention, the better to honor the great sacrifices of our citizen soldiers during the Civil War.” The Society’s fundraising efforts will include a special mailing. Several local banks and businesses, along with private citizens, have already generously donated money so that the project can get underway. Contributions are welcome and can be mailed to the Soldiers’ Monument Project at PO Box 182 Watertown MA 02471-0182.