Downtown Barre Sculptures
"Granite Capitol of the World"
As the reputation of Barre granite grew, natives of Arberdeenshire, Scotland, began emigrating to Barre, seeking employment in the neophytic granite industry. Small numbers of Scots came to Barre in the 1880's; however, they began coming in greater number in the 1890's. Shortly after the turn-of-the-century, Scots comprised about 20% of Barre's burgeoning population. As a result of this influx of Scots, various Scottish civic groups arose.
Scottish immigrants in Barre took it upon themselves to honor one of their native country's greatest poet's, Robert Burns. It was decided that a statue would be erected in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the death of the poet. (The statue was actually unveiled on the 104th anniversary of Burns' death.) At the time of its unveiling, July 24, 1899, more than 10,000 people were in attendance.
The figure of Robert Burns stands atop an enormous Barre granite base, intricately carved with bas-relief depictions from his poetry. The figure was carved by sculptor Samuel Novelli; the panels by sculptor Eillia Corti, based up on models by Scottish sculptors J. Massey Rhind and James B. King. The Robert Burns statue is located on Washington Street (Route 302) on the lawn of the former Spaulding Academy building.
As WW I ended and Barre veterans began returning home, a "victory archway" was erected in City Park to commemorate the occasion and to pay tribute to those who had served their country. The archway was elaborate, but ethereal. It was composed of the same type of plaster that the Barre sculptors used to create models for their work. It was determined that a more permanent memorial should be created.
In 1924 the Soldiers' and Sailors' memorial, also known as "Youth Triumphant", was erected. The monument was carved from Barre granite by local artists Gino Enrico Tosi, Enrico Mori and John Delmonte from a model created by New Your sculptor C. Paul Jennewein. The figure of a noble young warrior supplicating for peace soon became a trademark of Barre and was adopted as the city seal.
The warrior sits atop a Barre granite base inscribed with verses from poet Laurence Binyon's "Ode for the Fallen". A graceful, sweeping granite bench completes the memorial. Created by John Mead Howells, the bench is often referred to as the "whispering wall" because the graceful curve "carries" sound from one end of the bench to the other. The monument is located on Route 302 (North Main Street) in Barre, Vermont.
Many Italians migrated from Northern Italy to Barre, beginning in the 1890's. Many of these men were gifted sculptors who brought their talents and greatly contributed to the growth of the fledgling Barre granite industry. Most of these early Italian immigrants chose to live near one another. The majority settled in the northern section of Barre City. Here they developed their own community, complete with shops and their own newspapers, printed in Italian, of course.
For many years Barre lacked a significant tribute to the Italian heritage of many of Barre's citizens. This oversight was corrected in 1985 when the Italian-American monument was erected in Dente Park in the northern part of Barre. The apron clad figure of a sculptor with chisel and hammer in hand is 23 feet in height and weighs 43 tons. The monument, designed by Elmo Peduzzi, was sculpted by Philip Paini from a model crafted by sculptor Giuliano Cecchinelli. The memorial is dedicated to sculptor Carlo Abate who came from Italy to Barre at the turn-of-the-century and established the first art school in which students could learn drafting, design and other skills associated with the granite industry. The statue is carved out of Barre granite and is located on Route 14 (North Main Street) in Barre, Vermont.