Sunday, February 25, 2024

Existing Commemorative Works in Providence, RI



Under the terms of Betsy Williams’ will, a monument to Roger Williams was to be erected in the park bearing his name. As was the custom for major public commissions, a competition was held and in December of 1874 Franklin Simmons’ plans for this monument were accepted by the park commissioners. After receiving a commission from the state of Rhode Island for a statue of Roger Williams, in 1867 he joined the growing colony of American sculptors living in Rome. The Roger Williams Monument was dedicated October 16. 1877. Twenty thousand people gathered at the park for the unveiling, many having marched as part of a parade from Market Square downtown, most arriving in horse-drawn streetcars.

THE FALCONER – Roger Williams Park

The Falconer was created in 1889 by Henry Hudson Kitson. It was the gift of textile industrialist Daniel Wanton Lyman, in memory of his grandfather, Elisha Dyer.

THE SENTINEL – Roger Williams Park

This striking dog was one of the first bronzes cast in America. It was executed in 1851 by Thomas Fredrick Hoppin and cast at Gorham. The work was shown at the Crystal Palace in London and won a gold medal from the New York Academy of Design. Hoppin was a member of mid-nineteenth century Providence’s most prominent artistic family. This statue commemorates Hoppin’s wife’s family dog, whose barking had saved several members of the family during an extensive fire in 1849. Hoppins built the imposing house at 383 Benefit Street at 383 Benefit Street in the early 1850s on the site of the burned house, and this statue was placed on the front lawn. The Sentinel was given to the city by the Hoppins family in 1896.

PULASKI – Roger Williams Park

This large bronze equestrian was commissioned by a committee of Polish Americans to mark the two hundredth birthday of Casimir Pulaski, the Polish volunteer in the American Revolution who died fighting against the British at Savannah. Over 3,000 people attended the dedication of the statue, which was executed by Guido Nincheri of Woonsocket. The dedication was held on Justice for Poland Day in 1953.

BOWEN R. CHURCH – Roger Williams Park

This lifelike statue portrays the virtuoso cornetist of the Reeves American Band, whose park concerts were an integral and favorite part of the park’s early history. The bronze was cast at Gorham and given to the city by Church’s friend William G. James in 1928. The figure was executed by Aristide B. Cianfarani.

FERDINAND II – Roger Williams Park

This marble bust, originally in the garden of the Villa Reale in Naples, portrays the Bourbon king of Two Sicilies, Ferdinand II. A despotic ruler, he was nicknamed King Bomba for having instructed his forces to bombard an insurrection. After Giribaldi’s victory in 1860 this statue, like many other busts of the Bourbons, was overturned. It was buried under its column until 1868. When the bust was found, Providence lumber merchant Albert Dailey was visiting Naples and acquired the piece. After initially keeping it in the garden of his home at 55 Bowen Street, he gave it to the park in 1881.

THE PANCRATIST – Roger Williams Park

This bronze figure is a copy of a statue which stands in the Terme Museum in Rome. The original was discovered in Rome in 1885 embedded in the wall of the Ancient Temple of the Sun. In 1900 this replica was shipped back to Providence and given to the city by Paul Bajnotti, the art collector and donor of the Bajnotti Fountain in City Hall Park. The statue was exhibited at the Rhode Island School of Design before being mounted in Roger Williams Park.

MARCONI MEMORIAL – Roger Williams Park

This eighteen-foot-high granite shaft is the result of sixteen years of planning by Providence’s Italian-American community. A subscription was begun following the famous inventors death in 1937, and it culminated in the dedication of this memorial in October 1953. The monument was designed by local architect Oresto DiSaia.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN – Roger Williams Park

This life-size bronze of Abraham Lincoln was executed by local sculptor Gilbert Franklin in 1954. It was the result of a trust bequeathed in 1922 by Henry W. Harvey, a prominent jewelry manufacturer in memory of his wife Georgina.

UNION SOLIDER – Roger Williams Park

Designed by Frederick Kohlhagen in 1895 and dedicated in 1898, this cast was the first full-length produced by the Gorham Company. Kohlhagen designed the original for placement in Gettysburg. The Providence version , known simply as the Union Soldier, was gifted to the city by the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers and placed near the Temple to Music at its 1898 dedication. In 1993, however, it was relocated to the eastern entrance of the Park on the Miller Avenue traffic island and is mounted on a large boulder.

DEMING MEMORIAL – Roger Williams Park

This semi-circular bronze bench was designed by W. C. Codman and sculpted by William Cowper in honor of the accomplishments of Richard H. Deming, the President of the Board of Park Commissioners from 1892 to 1902. The memorial bench was cast by Gorham Company in 1904.


The cast was modeled after a Roman marble that has been the object of admiration and study by artists and students alike for over 400 years. This cast was made by the Gorham Company in 1891 and gifted to the park by Gorham Superintendent George Wilkinson.

SRI CHINMOY, DREAMER OF PEACE 1931-2007 – Roger Williams Park

On April 18, 2011 a bronze statue was dedicated near the Botanical Center of Roger Williams Park in memory of Sri Chinmoy. Years, earlier on July 27, 1982, a “peace tree” was planted in the mark marked with a concrete stone inscribed with a phrase from Chinmoy.


Originally located behind Roger William Park’s Museum of Natural History, this beautiful fountain with mosaic tiles was relocated to the Botanical Center just in time for the Club’s centennial celebration. Gifted to the Rotary Club of Providence in 1926, the fountain is the work of John Cuddy. It was restored by the Providence Rotary Club in conjunction with officials of the Providence Parks Department in 2010.

HAITIAN MEMORIAL – Roger Williams Park

The 2005 creation of a memorial plaza in Roger Williams Park marked the first time that a memorial was dedicated in the memory of the Haitian Freedom Fighters. The creation of the memorial park was a project of the Lakay Foundation, Inc. in recognition of the critical leadership of Louverture and Dessalines to the cause of Haitian freedom. The August 14, 2005 ceremony was in remembrance of the Bicentennial of Haitian Independence.

DAVID WALLIS REEVES FOUNTAIN 1893 -1900 – Roger Williams Park

In 1926 a fountain was dedicated in David Wallis Reeves’ honor at Roger Williams Park. Eleven thousand people attended the dedication. The fountain was designed by William T. Aldrich.

LIONS MEMORIAL – Roger Williams Park

This stone lion was a gift of the Lions Club International and was dedicated on September 11, 1960. Located near Pine Hill and Maple Avenue in the Park’s west end, this stalking male lion rests atop a rectangular base that also displays the seal of the Lions Club International. The artist is unknown.

JUAN PABLO DUARTE – Roger Williams Park

In 2002-03 the Latino community honored Juan Pablo Duarte’s memory and sacrifice with the establishment of a Juan Pablo Duarte Square. The monument placed in his honor is the first Hispanic/Latino monument to be erected in Roger Williams Park.


ESEK HOPKINS – Hopkins Square, Branch Avenue

In 1891 the city condemned for public purposes the Hopkins family burial ground at the corner of Charles Street and Branch Avenue in the northern part of the city. All of the graves were relocated to the North Burial ground plot, and plans for a park and monument in honor of the admiral were begun. Funds for the statue were provided by Harriet N.H Coggeshall, who had specified in her will that a monument be erected to her great-grandfather on the lot where he was buried and bequeathed to the City the $3,250 required for production of the statue which was cast by the Gorham Company. The statue was created by Theodora Alice Ruggles Kitson, one of the first three women members of the National Sculpture Society.

GARIBALDI – Garibaldi Park, Atwells Avenue

This bronze bust was commissioned on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Italian patriot’s death by sixty-two patriotic and fraternal organizations. Designed by Filippo T. Sgarlatto, an Italian sculptor visiting providence, the bust was originally the subject of some controversy. Originally proposed for a site at the rear of Union Station, the gift of the bust was the subject of some controversy. Originally proposed for a site at the rear of Union Station, the gift of the bust was refused by the city’s Board of Parks commissioners. This insult brought a rebuke from the city council, silence from Mayor James Dunne, and assistance from Governor Norman Case, who arranged for its installation at the Rhode Island College of Education, now the University of Rhode Island’s Providence campus. Typical of dedications at other monuments sponsored by ethnic groups, the speeches on July 4, 1932 identified Garibaldi’s beliefs with American virtues. The Garibaldi was relocated in  1975 to a new park in Federal Hill bearing his name.

EBENEZER KNIGHT DEXTER – Dexter Training Ground

This statue was the gift of Henry C. Clark, president of the Providence Coal Company, in 1893. Originally Clark offered to donate a statue of Columbus if the city would contribute $5,000 to the maintenance of the Training Ground. Because another Columbus monument was underway, the statue’s subject was changed to Dexter and the sum to $3,000. In 1893 this eight-foot high bronze was erected at the north end of the Dexter Training Ground adjoining the Cranston Street Armory. It is one of the few known works of local sculptor Hippolyte L. Hubert. The pedestal was designed by Richard H. Deming.

COLUMBUS – Columbus Park, Elmwood Avenue

This six-foot high statue in Elmwood is a replica of the statue of Columbus that stood at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.  Designed by Auguste Bartholdi, the famed sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, the original was cast in solid sterling silver at the Gorham plant not far from Columbus Park. The statue was cast by Gorham and donated by the Elmwood Association and dedicated on November 8, 1893.

CESAR CHAVEZ – Davis Park, Chalkstone Avenue

In May 2006, the Providence Board of Contract and Supply approved the expenditure of $12,500 to the Urban League of Rhode Island for a bronze statue of Chavez for installation at Davis Park. The remaining $12,500 needed to design and cast the statue was raised privately by a memorial committee . On November 6,2007, Chavez’s granddaughter visited Providence City Hall to view the statue of her grandfather that was being housed there until construction was complete at its permanent home at Davis Park at Chalkstone Avenue in Providence. The statue was also displayed in ceremony on March 27, 2009 at the State House prior to its dedication in Davis Park.


THOMAS A. DOYLE – Broad and Chestnut Streets

Thomas A. Doyle served as mayor of Providence for eighteen of the twenty-two years between 1864 and his death in 1886. Doyle died in office, and this monument was raised by public subscription soon thereafter. It was cast in Paris and designed by Henry Hudson Kitson. The Doyle statue was dedicated in 1889. Originally located in front of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, the Doyle statue was relocated during the extensive reconfiguration of that area for the Weybosset Hill urban renewal project in the 1967.

ABBOTT PARK FOUNTAIN – Abbott Park, Weybosset Street

Abbott Park on Weybosset Street is one of America’s oldest public parks, having been donated by Daniel Abbott in 1746 to the Congressional Society “for public use, passing and repassing, training and the like, always to be free from any buildings forever”.  Over a century later a movement for construction of a fountain was begun by William H. Charnley. The cast-iron fountain was dedicated in June 1875. Both the park and the fountain were refurbished in 1974.


This design by Randolph Rogers was submitted in October 1866 and the monument dedicated in September 1871. Originally located in front of the Harrington Opera House, where City Hall now stands, the bronze and granite monument is forty feet high. The Soliders and Sailors Monument was moved to its present location in 1906 as part of the reconfiguration of Exchange Place following the construction of Union Station.

THE HIKER – Kennedy Plaza

This bronze figure, a replica of a statue by Theodora Alice Ruggles Kitson, was commissioned by the national association of Spanish War Veterans. The Hiker was given in 1911 by the Rhode Island chapter of the national organization, representing those volunteers who had participated in the brief expeditions to Cuba and the Phillipines. The statue was apparently originally intended for the veterans’ lot at the North Burial Ground.

WORLD WAR I MEMORIAL – Memorial Square

This 115-foot high Westerly granite shaft was erected in 1929 as a memorial to the Rhode Island soliders who died in the First World War. It is surmounted by a heroic figure of Peace, a stylized rigid female designed by Paul C. Jennewin and carved by an Italian sculptor named Fiorato. The monument was a result of a competition begun in 1925 for a public monument to commemorate the city’s war dead. Of eight submissions, the winning design was that of architect Paul Cret. Construction of a monument at this location was in response to a long-felt need to improve the visual quality of the area, which was destroyed by the construction of the elevated railroad connection to the East Side train tunnel in 1908 and did not improve with the increasing number of automobiles.


Dedicated in 1887, the statue was originally located at the end of Exchange Place and faced the Soldiers and Sailors Monument then in front of City Hall. In recognition of its location in the center of traffic, the original base, over twenty-eight feet high, was designed by Henry O. Avery of New York to stand in the middle of a spacious circle reached by two surrounding steps. The statue was moved to its present location in 1906 as part of the reconfiguration of the area following the construction of Union Station and development of City Hall Park. At that time, the design of the base was modified by General William R. Walker, the prominent Providence architect who planned the Warwick and former East Providence town halls. Thousands attended the dedication of the statue, including Civil War General William T. Sherman. The Burnside was the last major commission of Launt Thompson.

BAJNOTTI FOUNTAIN – City Hall Park, Kennedy Plaza

The Bajnotti Fountain was unveiled on June 26, 1901, the gift of Paul Bajnotti to the city of providence in memory of his wife, Caroline Mathilde Brown. It is officially known as The Carrie Brown Memorial Fountain. The bronze central group of figures was cast at Gorham and represents the Struggle of Life. The commission was a result of a competition in 1899 in which eighteen designs were submitted. The winner was Enid Yandell, a young woman who had studied with Rodin and the successful American sculptor Fredrick MacMonnies. Yandell worked on the design in Paris. A plaster-cast of this fountain was displayed at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.

THE SCOUT – City Hall Park, Kennedy Plaza

This bronze statue is both a portrait of and a tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Henry Harrison Young, a Providence native and one of the most famous Union Spies of the Civil War, who was a leader of the “Scouts” for General Philip Sheridan. The monument was designed by Henri Schonhardt, a local sculptor who worked at Gorham and taught at Rhode Island School of Design.

IRISH FAMINE MEMORIAL – Providence Riverwalk

In May 1997, a memorial committee was formed and commissioned Robert Shure to design a permanent, tasteful monument to the venerate the one million victims of Ireland’s Great Famine. On November 17, 2007, the completed monument was dedicated along the Riverwalk in downtown Providence and serves as a powerful and lasting tribute to the sufferings and triumphs of those impacted by The Great Famine. The figures were cast in bronze by Skylight Studios, Inc. of Massachusetts.


Mayor Vincent Cianci chose Veterans Day, November 11, 1981, to dedicate the City’s memorial to the fallen servicemen and women of Wrold War II, Korea and Vietnam. Situated at 15 LaSalle Square along Hasbro place at the convergence of Empire, Fountain and Sabin Streets is a large monument that consists of 12 granite stones, 8 granite benches, 3 poles displaying the flags of the United States, Rhode Island, and Providence, and a large circular granite planter all surrounded by a concrete and brick plaza outside of the Hasbro Inc. administration building.

WORLD WAR II MONUMENT – Memorial Park, S. Main Street

Dedicated on November 11, 2007, this circular colonnade is 16 feet in diameter and has eight round granite columns each measuring fourteen feet in height and spaced at a distance of three feet. The monument embodies the conception of World War II and Korean War veteran Joseph T. Corrente of Cranston, RI who was a major driving force in the monument’s construction. Professional services were provided by Paul Cavanaugh.

KOREAN WAR MEMORIAL – Memorial Park, S. Main Street

Mayor Vincent A. (Buddy) Cianci, Jr. established the Korean War Memorial Commission in 1995 to determine the proper way of expressing Rhode Island’s everlasting gratitude to those who sacrificed for our nation in the Korean War. The monument was dedicated on October 8, 1998 in tribute to those 39,000 Rhode Islanders who served during the conflict. The statue created by Robert Shure is cast in bronze. It is surrounded by a walkway of white brick engraved with the names of the 145 Rhode Islanders who were killed in action and the 55 still listed as missing in action. In addition, red bricks commemorate those wat veterans remembered by friends and family. The sale of red bricks provided the main source of revenue for the project. World War II and Korean War veteran Theodore F. Low Served as chairman of the Memorial Commission and as a major impetus for the project.

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL – Memorial Park, S. Main Street

This memorial was established as a place of remembrance of the lives lost in the Holocaust and as a tribute to Rhode Island’s remaining Holocaust Survivors. The monument was designed in partnership with sculptor Jonathan Bonner and landscape architect William Green. Herbert B. Stern, chairman of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island’s memorial committee approved the winning design – which was chosen out of 12 proposals. The memorial was completed in August 2014.


ELKS’ REST – North Burial Ground

In the 1830s and 1840s the desire to improve the condition and maintenance of the North Burial Ground dovetailed with the development of the rural cemetery movement inspired by the St.Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1844 a committee was established “to devise and report a plan for improving the North Burial Ground … and ensuring the preservation of the monuments erected thereon.” Following the recommendation of the committee, extensive work began to expand and replot the burial ground … Following the expansion of the Burial Ground, its civic nature took on an added dimension. Beginning in 1862, many large lots for civic organizations were established, including sections for the Masons, Rhode Island Hospital, the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Providence Police Association, among many others. These group lots have been marked by monumental sculpture that is among the city’s most striking; the fireman of the Association of Firemen lot and Elk’s Rest on the lot of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks are particularly notable.

ROCHAMBEAU MARKER – Summit Avenue and Brewster Street

This boulder and bronze plaque were erected in 1911 by the Sons of the American Revolution. They mark the area where Rochambeau’s troops camped in 1782 after their return from the decisive battle at Yorktown which victoriously ended the American Revolution. The spot is just north of Camp Street and Rochambeau Avenue, the former delineating where the French troops had camped before embarking on the final campaign, the latter honoring the general himself.

ANTHONY FOUNTAIN – Lippit Park, Hope Street

Henry B. Anthony was owner and editor of the Providence Journal and later served as U.S Senator from Rhode Island from 1859 to 1884. When he died in 1884, he left a bequest of $35,000 for the establishment of a fountain in his memory.

THE SPIRIT OF YOUTH – Constance Witherby Park, Pitman Street

A Providence native, Constance Witherby died in 1929, just before her sixteenth birthday. One month later 69,000 square feet of land to be improved as a park were donated to the city by her mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs.; A. Foster Hunt, prominent members of the Urban League in Rhode Island. An additional 30,000 square feet were added in 1930, transforming an unsightly former dump into a surprising and lush open space in the city’s densely built-up East Side. In 1933, the sculpture commissioned by the Hunts and executed by Gail Sherman Corbett was unveiled at the park.


The monument that now stands at Slate Rock Park was dedicated in 1906. It was a gift of the Association of Merchants and Manufacturers, which had first proposed the project fifty years earlier. The monument stands almost eleven feet high and is made of pink Westerly granite. It was designed by Frank Foster Tingley, a member of the family responsible for many of Providence’s funerary monuments in the last half of the nineteenth century.

ROGER WILLIAMS MEMORIAL – Prospect Terrace, Congdon Street

The movement to create this monument to Roger Williams began in 1850 when the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers raised one hundred dollars, through both lectures and subscriptions, towards a monument to Williams. Ten years later, Stephen Randall, a direct descendent of Williams and a prominent citizen of North Providence, organized the Roger Williams Memorial Association, incorporated by the state legislature, for the sole purpose of erecting a monument. This attempt was ultimately unsuccessful but coincided with the efforts of another group which resulted in the establishment of Prospect Terrace in 1867. The aspirations for a monument were fully realized a lifetime later, in the atmosphere of civic pride surrounding the city’s tercentenary in 1936. In 1934 the General Assembly incorporated a new Roger Williams Memorial Association. The Rhode Island and Providence Tercentenary Committee contributed $19,000, and the state of Rhode Island $21,000, to the fund established in the name of the Memorial Association by Stephen Randall’s will. Of fifteen designs submitted to a competition, those by Ralph T. Walker and Leo Friedlander were selected. The dedication ceremony in June 1939 included four Narragansett Indians and four men attired in Colonial dress. The dust of Roger Williams, removed from the original grave by Stephen Randall in 1860 and stored at the Rhode Island Historical Society, was permanently placed in the monument.

GEORGE M. COHAN – Wickenden Street & Governor Street

In 2009, Sculptor Robert Shure was commissioned to create a statue of Cohan which now marks the site of his Wickenden Street birthplace. The statue was cast by Skylight Studios Inc. and is mounted on a stone pedestal. Dedications were held on July 3, 2009.

This list will be continually added to. Thank you to the team at the Providence City Archives for their invaluable research!

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