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Soldiers’ Monument opens for a day

WINSTED — The Laurel City’s historic Soldiers’ Monument at the crest of Camp Hill on Crown Street was open to visitors Monday, July 4, in celebration of Independence Day.The inside of the monument, which was built in 1890 and dedicated to the more than 300 Winsted-area soldiers who served in the Civil War, is only open to visitors four days a year: Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day. The memorial was dedicated on Sept. 11, 1890, with Gov. Morgan G. Bulkeley and an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people in attendance. Newspaper accounts of the dedication called the monument “one of the handsomest monuments in the state.”Soldiers’ Monument consists of three floors with a wooden staircase leading to the top of the tower, where a trapdoor provides access to the roof.On the first floor is a marble fireplace and a wall-size granite dedication plaque. On the second floor there are five tablets inscribed with the names of men who served in the Civil War. The third floor allows visitors to examine the building’s interior construction. The walls of the monument are built with three layers of material: granite, brick and cement, with concrete floors. When it was built, there were few trees on the hillside and the monument provided a clear view of downtown Winsted and locations in Barkhamsted and Colebrook.Soldiers’ Monument Commission Chairman Steve Silvester was a tour guide on the Fourth of July. There were 36 visitors to the monument in the two hours it was open, including Sandy and Fran Jasmin, who were celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary. Fran Jasmin said he helped to build the water fountain near the monument many years ago. “This is a beautiful area,” he said. “I hope to come back here soon.”

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