Restored Civil War statue to be unveiled Nov. 11


Workers from a restoration company in Maryland carefully load the town’s Civil War statue into a van for a trip south in August.

Most Canton residents have seen the statue of a Civil War soldier in the lobby of Memorial Hall when they have stopped by to pay a tax bill or attend a government meeting. The Union soldier, dressed in pants, coat and cap, clutches a rifle between his hands as he leans forward on his left foot. The statue, however, was damaged during a prank that happened nearly 50 years ago.

The soldier has been missing from his post since late summer, when workers from a restoration company in Maryland carefully loaded the figure into a van for a trip south. The statue will return north by Veterans Day, when a ceremony will honor its return to a pedestal outside Memorial Hall. Canton Veterans Agent Tony Andreotti is the force behind the renovation of the statue.

Elijah Morse, a local philanthropist who served in the Union Army and later as a United States congressman (1889-1897), gifted the statue to the town of Canton in 1890. The statue was designed to be a drinking fountain in front of Memorial Hall that residents could use as they walked through Canton Center. However, plans changed and the statue was installed inside the lobby.

A photo of the statue and a brief announcement of its arrival is documented in an 1890 issue of the Canton Journal.

“The above [image] gives a good idea of the new fountain presented to the town by Congressman Morse and which has been placed in the vestibule of Memorial Hall,” the article read. “The fountain was originally intended for outside service but in order to make it appropriate for inside service slight changes had to be made. The cut was kindly furnished by the manufacturer, J.W. Fiske, of New York. The whole work is a credit alike to the manufacturer, the donor and the town. It has only to be seen to be appreciated.”

Andreotti has lived in the town nearly all his life and remembers when the statue was used as a drinking fountain. “It worked,” he recalled.

The statue was moved to a pedestal outside at some point and stood in front of Memorial Hall until 1968. One evening, some pranksters, thought to be teenagers, tied one end of a rope to the bumper of a car and the other end to the statue. When the driver moved forward, the statue was pulled off its pedestal and broke. The vandals have never been apprehended …

See this week’s Canton Citizen to read more on the history and restoration of Canton’s Civil War soldier. Not a subscriber? Check out our new digital subscription service, the e-Citizen.

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avatar Posted by on Oct 23 2014. Filed under News, Town Government. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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