Wilton’s ‘Dummy’ to be repainted

WILTON – Its proper name is “silent policeman,” meaning it stands solidly in the middle of the western end of Main Street in Wilton and directs traffic to stay to the right while making the turn onto the bridge and Route 31, but for most of its almost 90 years it has been known as “the Dummy.”

It is made of sheet metal and sits on a cement foundation. Since Main Street was refurbished in 2007, it has been surrounded by a pedestrian island and a flower garden.

When Main Street was redesigned about eight years ago, the Dummy was completely refurbished, but it is again getting rusty. Members of the Main Street Association want it repainted in time for Old Home Week in August.

Members Mickey Pieterse and Alison Meltzer met with selectmen on April 28 to discuss the plan.

Director of Public Works Steve Elliott said he had money in his budget to repaint it and has a person in mind who could redo the lettering, but Pieterse said they wanted to do a better job than just painting it – to powder coat it or galvanize it – to make it last longer.

Elliott said he was “all for everything you’re promoting, but it’s not in my budget.”

The Main Street members said they would look into costs and come back in two weeks. If the costs were too high, they said, “we’ll go with your plan.”

The selectmen agreed.

No one can recall when, or by whom, the Dummy was installed. The earliest known pictures are from about 1920.

The light on the top of the post was recreated by Kimball Physics a few years ago. The light, which blinks red on one side and orange on the other, ceased working and was vandalized many years ago.

The two women also addressed the problem of the “bump out,” the triangular garden at the intersection of Main and Park Streets, which prevents a car from parking at the bottom of the “cut,” the narrow, stone-walled portion of Park Street, and obstructing a view of Main Street.

Elliott agreed to make some modifications that would keep cars from driving across it.