Approximately 20,000 vehicles each day pass by the site of a meaningful tribute to the Civil War in the Town of Easton, MA. Situated at the intersection of Depot Street and Center Street and standing around 25 feet tall, the “Soldiers and Sailors Monument” was produced in 1882 by James G. Batterson, founder and owner of the New England Granite Works of Hartford, and was sculpted by Carl Conrads. The monument pays tribute to the 47 men from Easton who lost their lives in the Civil War.
The monument’s location was initially selected because it was the site of Town Hall. The unique configuration of the traffic island it was placed upon was designed to accommodate horse and buggy transportation. Unfortunately, the Town Hall was lost in a fire in the late 1800’s – however the monument stayed in place, isolated on a traffic island at what has since become a busy intersection.
In 2014, the Town determined that the intersection should be redesigned to increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles passing through the area. The redesign included the elimination of the “island,” which meant that the monument would be relocated.
BETA was hired to provide design and engineering services to improve the accessibility and safety of this important intersection, which includes the two-mile Depot Street corridor from Washington Street (Route 138) to Newell Circle. The project was complex, in part because of the historic nature of the site. The project also includes installation of a new signal at Center Street and Depot Street, new sidewalk, and bicycle accommodations for the entire project. The resulting design will not only realign the intersection but will also widen the roadway and allow easier access to the residences, church, school, library, retail, and MBTA rail line located along the corridor.
United Stone and Site, Inc. was retained to prepare the monument for its important move. Extensive reviews of the monument were performed to determine its structural integrity, any potential areas of weakness, and how to successfully move it to its new location. On July 11, 2022, United Stone and Site began the painstaking process of securing the initial piece – the Soldier statue located at the peak of the monument – to a crane in order to move it off the island and to a temporary staging area on Center Street. Over 20 individual sections were ultimately moved over the course of several days and will be analyzed to address any preservation or repair needs before being re-assembled in its new location.
In conjunction with the Town and MassDOT, BETA will continue to oversee the development of this historic roadway. We are excited to make a significant impact on one of the 15 original roads in the Town, including improvements to drainage, ADA compliance, pedestrian and bicycle safety, mobility, traffic flow, stormwater improvements, and landscape architecture within this 150 year old site.