Article: The Republican March 2005

Here is an article published in the Holyoke Plus section of The Republican on March 9, 2005.

Statue restoration fund tops halfway

By David Reid

Holyoke-Fundraising for the restoration and cleaning of the Soldiers Monument at Veterans Park has reached about $7,000, more that half of the estimated $12,000 that consultants estimate the job will cost. Artist and chief fund raiser Jacqueline M. Sears, a city native who lives in Southampton, said the list of contributors is growing and that corporate donations are still being actively pursued.

The memorial features a bronze Lady Liberty atop a granite base that features four bronze panels sculpted in bas relief depicting various scenes of solder and their families. The memorial also lists the names of about 50 city soldiers who died during the 1861-65 conflict.

But the memorial, which was spruced up in the 1960’s, is sorely in need of maintenance and repair. The bronze on Miss Liberty needs to be evened out, cleaned, buffed and waxed, Sears said. The granite also needs to be cleaned. And on one of the bronze plates on the pedestal of the monument, a soldier’s hand is broken off and his horse’s ear is chipped.

Sears has obtained technical information from outside consultants who have helped the city assemble a formal bid package. And David A. Martins, the city’s procurement officer, said last week bid requests will be sent out and advertised on the state’s Central Register as early as this week. The bids must contain two sealed envelopes, one addressing technical aspects of the work, and the other addressing costs.

Martins said the bids will be due in mid-March, with qualified proposal reviewed over two weeks and a low bidder selected by May 1. Sears, who began her fundraising efforts here last year, has enlisted official city support from Mayor Michael J. Sullivan, Soldier’s Memorial Commission Chairman Henry Jennings, and Recreation Director Carolyn L. Porter.

Harry Craven, owner of the Highland Hardware and Bike Shop, who owns historic photographs of the memorial, has also been instrumental in the fundraising effort.

The memorial, created by noted Civil War sculptor Henry Jackson Ellicott, was dedicated during a huge July 4 parade in 1876 that featured hundreds of soldiers and attracted thousand of onlookers. A 2005 calendar depicting the memorial and other city scenes is available for $3. as part of the fund-raising effort.

The calendar, printed by David Bryson at Mansir-Holden, can be purchased at Highland Hardware, Finely Davids, Highland Rose flower shop, R&R Variety and Manny’s Pizza.

Sears has also helped Westfield restore a statue of Revolutionary War Gen. William Shepard and a Civil War soldier’s monument downtown. She is also fund raising to help Southampton restore a sandstone Civil War memorial.

In Holyoke, public school teachers are participating in a “Holyoke Memorial Preservation Essay and Art Contest” that is expected to gather momentum this spring.

A list of major contributors for the Soldier’s memorial includes:

Harry Craven and David Bryson; Douglas A. Bowen, PeoplesBank; Rick Whiting, Whiting Energy Fuels; Kevin O’Hare, Holyoke Medical Center’ Amy Star, Wal-Mart; Lisa Ray, Holyoke Mall; E. Denis Walsh’ Vin’s Car Wash & Detail Shop; Coler & Colantonio, Inc.; Mr. and Mrs. William Lyons: Barbara & Paul Graves; Holyoke Soldiers Home, 3-11 shift; N. Kent LeFebvre, Signs Plus; Ken Segal, South Street Plaza Association; Anderson Exterminating; Sonoco Products Company; Ross Insurance Agency, Inc.; American Legion Post 325; American Legion Post 351; American Legion Post 23; American Legion 41; Yankee Division 104; and the United Veterans of Holyoke.