New Britain City Journal

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Various City War Monuments to be Restored

After several years of having various monuments stolen or destroyed, the City has received $350,000 in Local Capitol Improvement (LoCIP) grants to fix up four of them this year.

Four brass plaques were stolen and 1 was damaged in the past 3-5 years at the World War I Memorial at Walnut Hill Park.

“They were stolen because they are brass and worth money,” said Bill DeMaio, parks and recreation director. “Now, the new plaques will all be done in a composite that is not worth money.”

Even though the costs are the same for brass or composite, the City does not want to take a chance that someone might damage or steal the plaques again. The monument will also be given a power wash to take off the patina from acid rain hitting the brass.

The plaques are about 20 by 12 inches and are all around the cement monument near the Rose Garden encasing the large World War I Monument.

The New Britain Woman’s Club also donated $15,000 towards the restoration of the stolen plaques at the WWI Monument.

“This Memorial is in the form of a shaft, towers ninety feet into the sky on the top of Walnut Hill, is visible for miles around, and honors 123 servicemen who gave their lives in World War I. Symbolism runs throughout the design: the garlands around the foot of the shaft are laurel and oak, one signifying victory, the other strength and courage; the wreath of ivy around the corner-stone tablet denotes constancy; at the four corners are the emblems of the Army, Navy, Red Cross and Industry and Agriculture. Individual tributes are inscribed around the Memorial, noting the name, rank, place of death of the men who honored their City,” according to the City website.

The second monument being restored is at Kulper Park on Jubilee Street.

This monument is in honor of 725 Veterans of the Fourth Ward who sacrificed their lives in WWII. The Park was officially named Kulper Park in tribute to Chief Warrant Officer Anthony Kulper, the first resident of the Fourth Ward who died in 1942 at the Fall of Corrigedor in the Philippine Islands.

“It had a big brass plaque that was stolen 10 years ago,’ said DeMaio. “It honors those in the neighborhood that were in World War II.”

DeMaio said there is one man from the war whose name was on the plaque that is still alive.

“I would like to get this done for him,” said DeMaio.

The third is at John Campbell Square where a car destroyed the plaque.

Pvt. John Campbell was the first New Britain serviceman to be killed in WWII. He was killed at Clark Field in the Philippines on December 8, 1941 in the first Japanese “sneak” attack on the island. The Campbell Square Honor Roll, at Stanley Street and Hillcrest Avenue, memorializes servicemen who died in WWII and were residents of Belvedere when they went into service.

The walkway is also being fixed via donations made out to the New Britain Parks and Recreation Department and sent to the New Britain City Journal, PO Box 2111, New Britain, CT 06050.

The last one is the Spanish War Memorial at Willow Brook Park. The plaque was taken off and thrown into the stream. The City will fix it, take the trees down in the area and give the monument a power washing.

“This is a big traditional City and the people are patriotic,” said DeMaio. “This is a good way to honor them and keep them going.”