180412ind history01 nk

The local C.C. Baker chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, or GAR, is responsible for the wonderful Civil War statue in front of North Kingstown’s Town Hall. This statue of an “everyman” Civil War soldier was installed in 1912 and was actually the last official act of the chapter, which by then had dwindled down to just a few elderly members looking for an appropriate and meaningful way to utilize the contents of the group’s treasury. A committee consisting of William G. Saunders, William Weinreich and Reuben Secor purchased the statue from the J.W. Fiske & Co., the most prominent manufacturer of decorative statuary at that time. It was originally installed across the street from the Town Hall adjacent to the train station that was located there. At the time it was installed, it included a water feature and decorative troughs on either side for birds and even an occasional horse to drink from. When the station building was demolished in the late 1930s, the statue was relocated to the front yard of the Town Hall, where it stands today. North Kingstown’s statue, one of hundreds forged by the J.W. Fiske & Co. during that period, is in exceptionally good shape. The 112-year-old statue has been visited many times by representatives of other communities with statues of their own they are planning to restore. Indeed, North Kingstown’s Civil War soldier can also be found on the Smithsonian Institution’s website listing of outdoor decorative art, where it is noted as the finest example of this type.

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