Wilton war memorial refurbished

WILTON – The bronze plaques on the monuments in Memorial Park on Forest Street have been cleaned and polished, completing the restoration of the park begun several years ago. Restoring the monuments was a project of Wilton Main Street Association.

“It’s been on Main Street Association’s radar for more than two years,” President Alison Meltzer said. “We had a very successful fundraising last year in addition to receiving a couple of generous unrestricted donations from individuals.”

The goal was to have the work done before Memorial Day so it could be rededicated during those ceremonies.

Meltzer said the total cost of the restoration, which included the other monuments in the park, was $4,000. Of that, $3,500 was for cleaning the six bronze plaques and $500 for cleaning the granite monuments. The fourth and newest memorial, an Eagle Scout project by Jonathan Schultz, did not need cleaning.

The American Legion Bent-Burke Post 10, and the local Sons of the American Legion, each contributed $1,000 toward the work. The Heritage Commission added $200 and $1,000 was included in the town appropriation for WMSA.

WMSA contracted with Manchester Memorial Co., Inc, for the cleaning of the granite. They subcontracted the bronze restoration to Dan’s Cemetery Lettering of Barre, Vt. Daniel Grenier and his grandson Anton Dubois were on the site on May 13 to do the work.

The process involved removing dirt and patina, coating the surface with a paint Grenier called “government brown patina,” buffing up the lettering, and then adding several coats of lacquer.

The plaques now look new, and the names are again legible.

The monument was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1924, honoring all veterans from the Revolution to World War I. Two Civil War veterans were present, Major D.E. Proctor and Henry L. Emerson, as well as squads from the American Legion and other organizations, teachers and school children. Music was provided by the Nashua City Band and the main speaker was Col. William Sullivan of Nashua.

In 1949, a rededication ceremony was held when a plaque for the veterans of World War II was added. Separate monuments have been erected for more recent conflicts, with Schultz’s memorial to post-Vietnam veterans through 9/11.

The rededication will take place on May 30, with the parade stepping off from the Legion Home at 9 a.m., once again led by the Temple Band.

Memorial Park was totally re-landscaped in 2020 by a large number of volunteers, financed with donations and a grant from Eversource. The park is now handicapped accessible and connected to the Stony Brook Riverwalk.