Eight thousand people gathered in Center Square for the dedication of the monument to Civil War and Spanish-American War dead. A 78-foot-high shaft of Vermont granite topped by a 21-foot-tall Goddess of Liberty, the monument features four life-sized figures of soldiers around its base. Although controversial, the figure facing east is a Confederate army soldier, which was a gesture of respect for a much-admired local Lutheran pastor who was a Confederate veteran; it is the only such figure on a memorial north of the Mason-Dixon Line. This was not the only controversy. In 1916, repairs to deteriorating sculptural details revealed that the figures were not made of bronze, as required, but an alloy of tin, iron, copper, and zinc. Whether or not the city had been swindled in the initial $43,000 price hinged on a contract that specified “bronzed” rather than “bronze” figures. Regardless, the alloy was so deteriorated that the crowning Goddess of Liberty was replaced in 1964 with an inexact replica that most believe is inferior to the original.
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Soldiers and Sailors Monument
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