Sculptures are three-dimensional historic and cultural documents. We may learn of the communitys values; We may learn of the artist and the medium; We may also learn of what or who these sculptures might represent, why and where they were erected, and by whom. Through them, we may learn of the place and time the sculpture was erected;
Some of the earliest public sculptures erected in the state were carved or cast monuments commemorating the role of Indiana troops in the Civil War. In July 1865 less than three months after the surrender at Appomattox, Hoosiers promptly raised one of the countrys first sculptural Civil War monuments in Princetons courthouse square. The monument (shown here) is a soaring shaft topped with a fierce eagle. In 1869 a somewhat similar monument was erected in Noblesville's Crownland Cemetery.
The earliest example of a military figure to appear on a Civil War memorial in Indiana appears to be the unusually seated cavalry soldier in Forest Hill Cemetery in Greencastle, placed in 1870. There is no other figure like him in the state.
The single sentry on a pedestal is the most common form for sculptural Civil War monuments. There are more than two dozen in Indiana rendered in a variety of materials: bronze, limestone, marble, and a few of cast iron. Probably the earliest sentry figure, dating to 1883, stands in Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington.
An interesting phenomenon is the handful of granite sentries that are found only in northern Indiana, and most in the top tier of counties. The southernmost site is in Wells County in the cemetery at Ossian. With one exception, all the granite sentries were erected 1909-1911.
Some highly impressive Civil War monuments began to appear in the 1880s. In 1882 Carroll County in its courthouse square in Delphi erected this bronze flagbearer on a tall pedestal flanked by relief panels.
Howard County in 1886 erected its Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Crown Point Cemetery in Kokomo. It features a flagbearer atop a high pedestal flanked by two life- size soldiers in granite.
In 1887 Cass County installed the most magnificent Soldiers and Sailors Memorial (up to that time) in Logansport's Mt. Hope Cemetery. Entirely of limestone, it features a soaring shaft topped with a flagbearer and four life-size figures on the lower tier, representing Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and Navy. Cass County boasts the only such monument rendered in limestone, but the format, consisting of the central figure on a high pedestal surrounded by the four military figures, began to appear frequently after that, sometimes with interesting variations.
Among the earliest of these four-plus-one monuments is the wonderful work of Laredo Taft in Randolph County, dedicated in 1892. It sits on the corner of the Courthouse Square in Winchester.
Another Civil War-related work by Taft stands at the entrance to the National Cemetery adjacent to the Soldiers Home in Marion. Dedicated in 1915, it is a copy of a monument that was first erected at Chickamauga Battlefield.
The installation of Civil War monuments began to increase dramatically in the 1890s, as the veterans grew older and worked to ensure their contributions would be remembered. Many of these were the ubiquitous sentries, but their pedestals were growing ever higher and more ornate. Jaspers courthouse square features a white bronze (a zinc alloy) figure atop a vault or mausoleum for relics pertaining to the companies formed in Dubois County.
In 1893 a particularly grand monument was erected overlooking the lake in the newly created Washington Park in Michigan City. It depicts Liberty high on a soaring column, with beautiful bronze reliefs around the base, showing scenes of departure, battle, and homecoming.
Erected the same year, a bronze Liberty is also featured in a unique monument in Fort Wayne--with a soldier kneeling in homage.
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) veterans group that had begun in 1866 grew more active toward the end of the nineteenth century. They spurred the building of not only sculptural monuments, but also large memorial halls. The entrance to their hall in Wabash (now a museum), built in the late 1890s is flanked by cast iron figures representing a sentry soldier and a sailor.
Two similar soldier figures of the same vintage but clearly a different casting guard the Commandants Home at what is today called the Indiana Veterans Home at West Lafayette.
Advertisements for this monuments competition were placed world-wide. Ten outstanding American architects or firms also received letters inviting them to compete. Seventy designs were submitted. The states imposing Soldiers & Sailors Monument is located on Monument Circle at the symbolic heart of Indianapolis and Indiana.
The commissioners unanimous choice was Bruno Schmidts, an architect in Berlin, Germany. This sketch was shown in the First Biennial Report of the Board of Commissioners, June 1887 - December 1888
Begun in 1888 and dedicated in 1902 Indianas Soldiers & Sailors Monument is the most imposing in the state. It is believed to be the largest of its type, dedicated to the common soldier and sailor, ever built in the nation.
In 1887, sculptor Rudolf Schwarz arrived in Indianapolis from Germany to work on the monument to be erected on the Circle. Indiana is blessed with several other magnificent sculptural memorials because, after his work on the state monument was completed, Schwarz stayed in Indianapolis, working in a shack of a studio on the south side of town.
….and Crawfordsville (1903). This monument has only two flanking figures with Liberty perched on the pedestal.
Schwarz completed the Vawter Memorial in Franklin in 1905. It is topped by what appears to be a cavalry figure and has water- spewing fountain similar to those in Indianapolis.
One of the few commission on which Schwarz may actually have made money was the heroic figure of Oliver P. Morton which is guarded by two Union soldiers. It stands at the East entrance of the State Capitol and was dedicated in 1907.
Flanked on each side of Governor Mortons statue are two small but exquisite relief panels, also created by Rudolph Schwartz.
After the Morton monument, there were four more Soldiers and Sailors Monuments, each with Liberty or a flagbearer at the top of a tall shaft flanked by the four military figures. Posey Countys monument in Mt. Vernon (1908) is topped with Liberty.
Terre Hautes monument, which features a flagbearer at top, was dedicated in 1910.
Though Schwartz died in poverty in 1912, his Vincennes Soldiers & Sailors Monument was dedicated in 1914.
And in 1919, over fifty years after Indianas first Civil War monument was erected in Princetons courthouse square, the GAR installed a larger, more ornate memorial graced with five figures. It had been designed by Rudolf Schwarz.
Other notable monuments were dedicated in the early twentieth century. In 1908 Sigvald Asbjornsen sculpted a dynamic grouping for Jefferson Countys Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Madison. The four representative military figures are clustered together with the sailor holding the flag.
The Soldiers Monument in Angola, dedicated in 1917, is a slender soaring shaft topped with a figure of Columbia and with the four military figures, including the sailor, (although Steuben County did not contribute any sailors to the Union cause.) The figures came from the W.H. Mullins Company in Salem, Ohio.
George Honig, a Rockport native who went on to sculpt numerous bronzes around southwest Indiana and also to create Lincoln Pioneer Village in his hometown, did his most monumental work in 1916, two heroic groupings that flank the entrance to the Soldiers and Sailors Coliseum in downtown Evansville. The Spirit of 1865 (left) represent victory for the Union. The Spirit of 1916 (right) shows the reflective elderly veterans of the Civil War.
Evansvilles GAR had also erected a sheet bronze sentry in Oak Hill Cemetery in 1909. Perhaps they felt compelled to do so because of the installation five years earlier of what may be one of Indianas most surprising Civil War memorials.…
….the bronze Confederate soldier in Oak Hill Cemetery commemorating prisoners of war buried there.
The popularity of the sentry figures continued, peaking in the 1910s. Flagbearers also remained popular. And then came the war to end all wars. Although World War I introduced a new round of war memorials that featured the doughboy, Civil War monuments continued to appear throughout the next decade or so. The last sculptural Civil War monument in Indiana was- erected by the GAR in 1931, a sentry figure in Shelbyville.
Any number of Indiana towns lacked the money or the inclination to erect an expensive statue commemorating Civil War veterans. But, throughout the state, countless plaques, tablets, and obelisks were placed in memory of town or county veterans. Outdated Civil War era artillery also began to appear on nineteenth century courthouse lawns and as adjuncts to memorial sites and statues.
Although some of the Civil War era ordinance was lost to World War II scrap drives, some of these pieces may still be seen today. Lest the citizens of Kosciusko County forget their sacrificed cannon, a replica was carved from limestone and placed on the base which originally held the real thing.
Finally, there are commemorative sculptures of hometown heroes and the occasional common soldier that are a variant Civil War monument. Indiana has a handful of these. About 1876 John Mahoney sculpted a figure of General Solomon Meredith which stands above his grave in Cambridge City.
Erected in 1910, a bronze figure of Major General Robert H. Milroy stands on the south side of Rensselaer. The work was that of Mary Washburn, one of several women sculptors working in the early twentieth century. Seldom, however, were women awarded such large commissions.
On the other end of the scale are statues marking the individual graves of Civil War soldiers, such as the Bryan monument outside Arcadia...
….and the Laughlin monument in rural Martin County.
The most poignant of these, surely, is the gravemarker of Captain Samuel Edge in Waterloo.
From Indianas first sculptural monument in 1865 through the last in 1931, Hoosiers honored those who helped preserve the union in our nations Civil War. Today most of these monuments still stand tall and proud. Amidst quiet fields and busy street they continue to remind all of the sacrifice of Hoosiers, that the price of freedom isnt free. Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton in a message to the legislature November, 1865 Let us honor the dead, cherish the living and preserve in mortal memory the deeds and virtues of all, as an inspiration for countless generations to come.
The following Indiana counties have Civil War Monuments. Listed alphabetically by county/city, along with location, date,and known sculptors.) Allen/Fort Wayne Lawton Park1893 Carroll/Delphi courthouse square1882 Cass/Galveston town cemetery1919 Cass/Logansport Mt. Hope Cemetery 1887 Daviess/Washington courthouse1913 John Walsh Dekalb/Butler town cemetery1907 Dekalb/St. Joe cemetery1911 Dekalb/Waterloo town cemeteryca.1893 Dubois/Jasper courthouse square1894M Durlauf Elkhart/Elkhart Gracelawn Cemetery1909 Elkhart/Elkhart Rice Cemetery1889 N.P.Doty Elkhart/Middlebury Gracelawn Cemetery1909 Gibson/Oakland City downtown1894 Gibson/Princeton courthouse square1919 Schwarz Gibson/Princeton courthouse square1865 Grant/Marion Marion Natl Cemeteryded. 1915 L. Taft Grant/vic.Swayzee Thrallkill Cemetery1910 Hamilton/Arcadia Church of the Brethren1916 Hamilton/Noblesville Crownland Cemetery1869 Henry/New Castle courthouse square1923
Howard/Kokomo CrownPointCemetery1886 Jasper/Rennselaer mini-park1910 Mary Washburn Johnson/Franklin courthouse square1905 Schwarz Jefferson/Madison courthouse square1908 S Asbjornsen Knox/Vincennes courthouse square1914 Schwarz Kosciusko/Warsaw courthouse squareca.1945 (base 1897) Lake/Lowell downtown1903 LaPorte/Michigan City Washington Park1893 LaPorte/Michigan City Greenwood Cemetery1926 Lawrence/Bedford courthouse square1923 Marion/Indianapolis Monument Circle1902 Schwarz Marion/Indianapolis Statehouse1907 Schwarz Marion/Indianapolis Crown Hill Cemetery1889 Martin/Crane Williams Cemeteryca.1900 Monroe/Bloomington courthouse square1928 Monroe/Bloomington Rose Hill Cemetery1883 Montgomery/Crawfordsville courthouse1906 Schwarz Ohio/Rising Sun Union Cemetery1891 Owen/Gosport Gosport Cemeteryca.1890 Posey/Mt.Vernon courthouse square1908 Schwarz Putnam/Greencastle Forest Hill Cemetery1870 Thos.G.Jones Randolph/Ridgeville Riverside Cemetery 1903 Randolph/Winchester courthouse square1892 L. Taft Rush/Rushville East Hill CemeteryGONE(we would like a photograph) St.Joseph/Mishawaka Battell Park1884 St.Joseph/New Carlisle town cemetery1909 St.Joseph/SouthBend courthouse square1903 Schwarz St.Joseph/SouthBend cemetery1914
St.Joseph/SouthBend ccemetery 1911 Shelby/Shelbyville courthouse 1931 Steuben/Angola town square (circle) 1917 J.C.Ayers Tippecanoe/Wlafayette Indiana Veterans Home c a.1899 Vanderburgh/Evansville Oak Hill Cemetery 1909 Vanderburgh/Evansville Oak Hill Cemetery 1904 Confederate monument Vanderburgh/Evansville Coliseum 1916 G.Honig Vermillion/Clinton Riverside Cemetery ca.1900? Vigo/Lewis courthouse square 1909-10 Schwarz Wabash/Wabash former GAR Memorial Hall ca.1899 Wayne/Cambridge City Riverside Cemetery ca.1876 J. Mahoney Wells/Ossian Oak Lawn Cemetery 1911 Whitley/Columbia City courthouse square 1897 There's a bronze statue of the Reverend William Corby (C.S.C.) by Samuel A. Murray. erected in 1911 at Notre Dame, just outside Corby Hall. He was a Civil War chaplain. (It's a replica of one at Gettysburg.)
About the Author: Glory-June Greiff Historian, writer, and narrator Glory-June Greiff has been researching and lecturing about Indianas sculptural and architectural heritage for over 20 years. Greiff has helped produce a number of videos on the same subjects and is currently working on Indianas Outdoor Sculpture, a book-length manuscript on public sculpture in the state, past and present. A popular speaker, Greiff presents programs on Indianas built history and had helped produce a number of exhibits on the subject. In addition to her lectures, she conducts walking tours of a number of Indiana sites. She also worked for several years in radio broadcasting as an on-air personality in Chicago and Indianapolis. Greiff has a M.A. in Public History, from Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, 1992. Contact: email@example.com
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