MANCHESTER, NH — Thanks to a volunteer fund-raising effort started in 2017, Manchester’s Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski Monument is now undergoing restoration. The work on the bronze equestrian statue is expected to be finished by the end of August (weather permitting), and then the iron fencing will be replaced to complete the work.
The Pulaski Monument stands prominently in the center of Pulaski Park, a public park in downtown Manchester, bordered by Pine, Bridge, Union, and High streets. This historic and artistic treasure, completed in 1938, honors Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish immigrant known as the “Father of the American Cavalry.” Pulaski was one of General George Washington’s trusted senior officers during the American Revolution. He died in 1779 due to injuries suffered in the Battle of Savannah.
This project is supported by the Manchester Heritage Commission, the Manchester Parks, Recreation, and Cemeteries Commission, and the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen. The work to bring the monument back to its original condition is being carried out by expert contractors in the field of historic preservation. Daedalus, Inc., of Watertown, Massachusetts is restoring the bronze statue and the granite base, and Cassidy Bros. Forge of Rowley, Massachusetts is restoring the iron fence that surrounds the statue. Their work is being overseen by the Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Division of the City of Manchester Department of Public Works.
The project is being funded through a private/public partnership. The funds for the restoration have come from many generous individuals and families, and from grants from the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, Post 1341 Catholic War Veterans, the Cogswell Benevolent Trust, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of New Hampshire, the Polish Fest Corporation, the Rosenstiel Foundation, the New Hampshire Society Sons of the American Revolution, the Rotary Club of Manchester, and the Saul O Sidore Memorial Foundation. This spring the City of Manchester matched $39,700 of the private money received, which brought the available funds to over $80,000, allowing for the restoration work to be done this summer. The Manchester Garden Club has come forward to help restore the original gardens with plants and labor to beautify the park’s landscaping, working in coordination with the Parks, Recreation and Cemeteries Division. This part of the project will take place in the fall.
The Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski monument was created under the auspices of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Federal Art Project, a “New Deal” program established under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression. The monument was made possible through the tireless dedication of a volunteer committee made up of leaders from the local Polish American community. Donations came from Polish American clubs and associations, and from families and individuals of all backgrounds. The monument was created by local sculptor Lucien Hippolyte Gosselin (1883-1940), an instructor at the Manchester Institute of Arts & Sciences (now the New Hampshire Institute of Art). It was dedicated in a formal ceremony on August 21, 1938 after a grand parade that included thousands of marchers from Manchester and other cities.
Today the volunteer Pulaski Monument Committee is working to raise an additional $20,000 (plus in-kind goods and services) to fund a celebratory event in Pulaski Park on Saturday, June 27, 2020. This money will also help fund publication of a souvenir booklet that will include historical information about Brigadier General Pulaski, Pulaski Park, and the Pulaski Monument. The publication will list the donors to the project, with special note made of memorial gifts.
The June 27, 2020 celebration will commemorate Brigadier General Pulaski, and will celebrate the completion of the restoration project. The event will also celebrate the history of the Polish American community, and of all the immigrants who have contributed to the history of Manchester, and will honor the artistic achievements and French-Canadian heritage of Lucien Hippolyte Gosselin. This will be a family-friendly event with music, food, and fun activities.
Donations (tax-deductible) are being accepted by check payable to the “City of Manchester.” Please include “Pulaski Monument Project” in the memo line and include your address and telephone number so that an acknowledgement letter can be sent. Also, indicate if your contribution is being made “in memory of” a loved one and if you wish your gift to remain anonymous. You may mail your contribution to: Pulaski Monument Project, PO Box 3402, Manchester, NH 03105-3402.
A donation form and project updates are posted on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RestorePulaskiMonument/. For further details, please contact the Pulaski Monument Committee via Facebook, or contact Aurore Eaton, volunteer – firstname.lastname@example.org.