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Goodwin Park Memorial Rededicated
October 21, 2003
Portsmouth, NH
 

Goodwin Park, Portsmouth, NH

Children sang, flags flew, guns fired, the mayor spoke and Portsmouth’s poet laureate recited a powerful new poem. After two years of repair Portsmouth’s ailing Civil War monument at Goodwin Park was rededicated. A drenching warm October rain broke off just in time to kick off a sunny ceremony attended by a small and diverse audience.

When we last visited the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial, and even crawled inside the old memorial, it was in sad shape. The outer structure, molded from soft zinc or "white bronze". threatened to topple over. Since then, the City of Portsmouth has spent $250,000 in federal funds to re-do the park surrounding the monument. More funds were raised privately and through nonprofit groups to refurbish the memorial dedicated originally on July 4, 1888. Similar statues, purchased from a foundry catalog, were installed around New England in a burst of post-Civil War nostalgia. Repairing them today is costly.

GOseacoast.comDuring repair, workers discovered that a portion of the pedestal holding up a statue of Lady Liberty had been telescoped into the base of the monument. That section has since been restored and reinstalled. The monument is taller, but still not back to its original stature when installed in 1888. By 1955 another 10-foot section had to be removed to prevent the figure from toppling over. Images of cannon balls, a soldier and a sailor and the ship USS Kearsage and Portsmouth Governor Ichabod Goodwin have also been refurbished. A bas relief of Abraham Lincoln has disappeared over the years.

The rededication was highlighted by a children’s choir led by tenor "Chip" Noon and a poem by Portsmouth poet laureate John Perrault. Nancy Carmer of the city’s Community Development Department offered a capsule history.

After a three-gun salute, public singing and a solo trumpet playing "Taps", the crowd disbursed. "Portsmouth!" the mayor told us after the ceremony. "What a great city this is!" Then the sun dipped away, the clouds closed rapidly in and a fierce October downpour resumed. -- JDR

Goodwin Park, Portsmouth, NH

Goodwin Park, Portsmouth, NH

Goodwin Park, Portsmouth, NH

Goodwin Park, Portsmouth, NH

Goodwin Park, Portsmouth, NH

Goodwin Park, Portsmouth, NH

MUCH, MUCH MORE ON THE MONUMENT:

Making the Goodwin Monument Sing (Essay)
Inside the Old Monument (photos)
History of the Monumnet (slide show)
More Seacoast Monuments  (database)

All photos and text by J. Dennis Robinson
Copyright © 2003 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved.

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