Bennington Battle Monument

Bennington, Vermont
The Bennington Battle Monument in Bennington, Vermont, is a grand testament to the valor and sacrifices during the Battle of Bennington.
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About This Location

The Bennington Battle Monument, nestled in the heart of Bennington, Vermont, is a grand testament to the valor and sacrifice witnessed during the Battle of Bennington. The endeavor to commemorate this historic battle took shape in 1876 when the Vermont General Assembly established the Bennington Battle Monument Association, an outgrowth of the Bennington Historical Society. The journey towards the creation of a fitting memorial faced challenges, with a previous attempt in 1854 disbanding due to financial difficulties.

However, the renewed effort by the Bennington Battle Monument Association gained momentum, particularly with the approaching Centennial celebrations of both the Nation in 1876 and Vermont in 1891. Funding for the monument came from diverse sources: the State of Vermont allocated $15,000, New Hampshire contributed $5,000, Massachusetts pledged $10,000, and the United States Congress provided a substantial $40,000. Private contributions further enriched the project, resulting in a total of $102,000 for the monument’s construction. In 1886, the Vermont Legislature authorized an additional $10,000 for the purchase of the property where the monument would stand.

The debate over the monument’s design was settled when the committee, after reviewing various proposals, chose the vision of John Phillipp Rinn, an architect from Boston. The construction contract was awarded to William Ward of Lowell, Massachusetts. The cornerstone of the Bennington Battle Monument was laid in 1887, and its completion and dedication occurred in 1891.

Standing tall at 306 feet 4 and 1/2 inches, the monument is constructed from blue-grey magnesian limestone, specifically the Sandy Hill Dolomite from present-day Hudson Falls, New York. The structure, roughfaced except for two horizontal bands near the observatory level, boasts a base measuring 37 feet square. It gradually rises 168 feet to transition into a smooth horizontal beltcourse of 8 feet. Above this, a band of rock-faced stone punctuated by twenty eleven-foot slotted openings adorns the observation level. An elevator facilitates access to this level, offering breathtaking views of the Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts landscapes.

Continuing upwards, an additional smooth beltcourse of 13 feet precedes the final stone portion, soaring 101 feet, 10 and 1/2 inches to the apex. The monument is crowned with a bronze and gilt ten-point star, adding the final 4 feet 6 inches to its height. Each point of the star, measuring 18 inches, serves as a lightning rod for the monolith, making it the tallest structure in the State of Vermont.

On March 31, 1971, the monument received the honor of being added to the National Register of Historic Places with reference number 71000054. In 1952, the ownership and operation of the Bennington Battle Monument were transferred from the Bennington Monument Association to the Vermont Board of Historic Sites, later becoming the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. In 1964, the State commissioned Vermont artist Paul V. Winters to create a diorama depicting the Second Engagement of the Battle, adding a visually rich and historically accurate exhibit.

On the monument grounds, visitors encounter several additional monuments. The most prominent is a heroic granite figure of Seth Warner, the commander of the Green Mountain Boys pivotal in defeating the British forces in the Second Engagement. Donated by Colonel Olin Scott in 1910, this statue serves as a testament to Warner’s leadership. Another significant piece is a large granite boulder with a bronze tablet, placed in honor of General John Stark and the 1,400 New Hampshire men involved in the Battle. This tribute was a generous donation by the Citizens of New Hampshire in 1977. In 2000, John Threlfall contributed a bronze statue of General John Stark, cast from a plaster model executed in 1889 by American sculptor Jon Rogers. This statue captures Stark in a heroic pose, stepping forward with an outstretched arm, pointing towards the approaching British forces.

Bennington, situated at the junction of US Route 7 and State Route 9 in the southwest corner of Vermont, serves as the backdrop for this iconic monument. The Bennington Battle Monument is located at the head of Monument Avenue on Monument Circle. To reach it from the center of Bennington, one can take West Main Street (State Route 9), proceeding up the hill past the Bennington Museum. At the Old First Church, a sharp right turn onto Monument Avenue leads straight to the Monument.

For those eager to explore this historical landmark, the monument is open from May 26 through October 31, welcoming visitors every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission prices are:

– Adults: $8.00

– Children (6-14): $2.00C

– Children (under 6): Free

The site offers amenities like public restrooms, information brochures, and a knowledgeable staff ready to answer visitors’ questions. Additionally, the Bennington Battle Monument hosts yearly commemorative events, open to the public.

Parking around Monument Circle is limited, emphasizing the importance of respecting neighbors by only parking in permitted spaces. The Monument Gift Shop complements the visitor experience, offering a fine selection of quality merchandise related to the Battle and the Monument. These items provide insights into the social, geographical, and economic factors that unfolded over 114 years, spanning from the Battle of Bennington in 1777 to the Monument’s completion in 1891.

Fun Facts!
#1 The monument weighs an astounding approximately 19,000,000 pounds.
#2 The Bennington Battle Monument ranks as the second tallest unreinforced masonry structure in the United States, with the Washington Monument claiming the top spot globally.

Location

Address: 15 Monument Circle, Bennington, Vermont
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.889219, -73.215618
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.889219, -73.215618
Parking Notes: There is a dedicated parking area for visitors located on Monument Circle right near the Bennington Battle Monument. Parking is free and there are about a dozen spaces.

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