Marlborough Veterans Memorial
Address: 26 North Main Street
Contemporary Name: Veterans Memorial
Present Use: Memorial
Date constructed: 1985
Overall Structure: 5 ft. 9 in. high; 13 ft. 5 in. wide; 3 ft. deep
Description: The Marlborough Veterans Memorial is a shallow bow-shaped masonry structure built of stone pavers with a half hipped roof of bluestone. The front wall of the structure is three-sided, like a bay window. It is embellished by a bas relief sculpture and flanking plaques. The central bas relief sculpture depicts a World War II soldier against a background which is a 13-star flag of the early republic held by a Revolutionary War soldier. The staff of the flag is inclined to the left, forming the left border of the sculpture, while its top is folded over at the right corner, forming an irregular shape. (For a similar treatment of soldiers on a background of a flag whose shape forms the outline of the sculpture, see “Memorial to Five Wars”, Lebanon, Connecticut). The flanking square plaques are inset in the stone and covered with clear sheet plastic. Medallions of the American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary, and Veterans of Foreign Wars adorn the wall. The Marlborough sculpture and flanking plaques are molded cast plastic colored brown, not bronze. The Veterans Memorial at Town Hall is successor to an earlier veterans’ memorial which continues to stand about 200 yards to the south at the intersection point of North Main Street, Jones Hollow Road, and Hebron Road / SR 66. The earlier monument is a rough stone slab bearing two plaques.
Artistic Significance: The Marlborough Veterans Memorial was designed by William R. Nystrom, a local resident and veterans, who was an artist as well as an employee of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, East Hartford, Connecticut. Nystrom also designed seals for the Town of Marlborough, the Library, and the Historical Society, and as well illustrated Florence S. Lord’s publication about the town. Cast plastic rather than traditional bronze was chosen as the material for the decorative components of the memorial for reasons of cost. The sculpture of the tow soldiers from the waist up is in high relief, vigorous, and realistic. The uniform and equipment details appear to be accurate. Whether the artist was influenced by the similar grouping on Lebanon’s “Memorial to Five Wars” (1923), 13 miles to the east, is not known, but due to the geographic proximity, seems likely.
Historic Significance: The Marlborough Veterans Memorial was erected in 1985 in front of the Town Hall about two years after the present building was rehabilitated to serve the purpose. Nystrom is credited with being the driving force leading to action on the part of the Town Council to erect the monument. The building which now houses the Town Hall was built in 1949 as the Mary Hall School (Alfred Reinhardt, architect). When it was converted to Town Hall in 1983, the town vacated a building which stood next door but one to the south at 8 North Main Street on the point of land bordered by Jones Hollow Road, Hebron Road, and North Main Street. The 1954 plaque stands at the front (south end) of the site of this earlier frame town hall building, which was constructed in 1916 to replace the 1841 Methodist Church building destroyed by fire in 1914. After the Methodist Church membership dwindled, the building was leased in 1924 to the Library Association which was formed that year under the leadership of Mary Hall (1843-1927), who in 1882 was the first woman admitted to the Connecticut bar and for whom the 1949 school later was named. The Library bought the building in 1927 and built a brick addition to the south end in 1935, then in 1957 leased all the building except for the addition to the Town of Marlborough for use as the town hall. The town hall moved to the school in 1983, the Library moved to its new building in 1987 and the vacant Methodist Church/Library/Town Hall building was demolished in 1998.
Sources: Baber, David. Capitol Region Council of Governments Historic Resource Survey of Marlborough, 1978.
Hall, Mary. Report of the Celebration of the Centennial of the Incorporation of the Town of Marlborough. 1904.
Lord, Florence Sorenson. Marlborough, 1747-1977. Compiled by Violet Schwarzmann, illustrated by William Nystrom. 1993.
Ransom, David. Historical and Architectural Resources Survey, Town of Marlborough, Connecticut. April 1998.