Angel of Peace back on her perch
(11/1/2006) New Haven parks department returned the Angel of Peace, the 3,500-pound bronze statue which tops the New Haven Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument on East Rock, back to the summit of East Rock on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006.
The statue was removed from the Green on a flatbed truck Wednesday morning around 8 a.m. and delivered to the summit, where it was lifted by crane onto the monument before a large crowd of citizens, school children and city dignitaries.
The James Hillhouse JROTC and drum corps and the Wilbur Cross High School marching band opened the event with fanfare. Worthington Hooker School kids sang songs about peace and children from East Rock Global Magnet School read a poem. Robert Levine, director of the parks department, spoke of the statue’s significance. Other speakers included Alderman Edward Mattison, D-10; Al Marder, chair of the New Haven Peace Commission, Easter Howard, vice president of the Elm City Parks Conservancy, which has commissioned a special medallion of the Angel of Peace which is available for sale to the public, Tom Holahan, Pat Topitzer and Karen Dubois-Walton, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.
For more information about purchasing an Angel of Peace Medallion, please call the Elm City Parks Conservancy at 946-5713.
The Mayor said he is pleased that the Angel has drawn so much attention after a very public restoration on the New Haven Green. “This incredibly beautiful monument is a worthy legacy because it not only memorializes the sacrifices made by so many generations of soldiers to preserve the American way of life, but it also communicates the wish of all Americans for peace,” DeStefano said.
Frances Miller of ConservArt in Hamden spent about a month restoring the statue on the New Haven Green at the Mayor’s request, giving the public a chance to view the statue upfront. In addition, the Mayor’s Office and the New Haven Register have been publishing peoples’ wishes for peace on their websites.
The City culminated the Angel’s return by creating a time capsule and returning it to the statue’s cavity before it was hoisted back into place on the Soldiers’ and Sailor’s Monument. The time capsule contained:
• A Key to the City, provided by the Mayor
• A copy of today’s New Haven Register (Nov. 1, 2006)
• Recent Register articles regarding the Angel’s restoration
• Specifications for the restoration of the monument.
• Invitation (copy) to the 1887 event when the monument was dedicated.
• A New Haven Parks department pin, shirt and patch
• A "lucky 2006 penny"
• Photographs from the restoration to date
• A donated genealogy from a family connected to the first dedication of the monument w with pictures
• A shoe believed to date back to the statue’s dedication in 1887
When workers removed New Haven’s 119-year-old Angel of Peace statue from her perch on East Rock for restorations, they found a century-old shoe lodged inside the cavity of the 11.5 foot bronze statue. New Haven officials believe the shoe is an example of a “concealment shoe,” a superstitious practice that reached its peak of popularity in the northern U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries. (The Angel of Peace was completed in 1887.) According to the Historical Society of Sharon, Connecticut, the superstition—which dates back to 14th Century Western Europe—involves the placement of well-worn shoes in buildings under construction to ward away evil spirits. The shoe was returned to the statue today inside the time capsule.
The 14-foot Angel of Peace is the crowning majesty of the New Haven Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, which stands in honor of those Americans who have served their country in battle throughout history. Commissioned in 1885 and completed in 1887, the monument was inspired by the Civil War but has since become a tribute to all of America’s veterans. The statue is a landmark for New Haven - approximately 250,000 cars pass the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument each day on Interstate 91.