Category Archives: sculpture

Amy Toyen Sculpture (Avon, CT)

Date Of Visit: September 9, 2017

Location: parking lot of Avon Free Public Library, 281 Country Club Road, Avon, CT

Highlights: A life size sculpture of Amy reading a book and clutching a teddy bear

Tips:

  • The sculpture is located in the parking lot next to the left side of the library

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Sixteen years.  Who could imagine so much time has passed?

One hundred and fifty six people with ties to Connecticut died on that tragic day.  A memorial rests on the grounds of the Avon Free Public Library to memorialize one of these, and indeed all of the victims of this day.

Amy Toyen, a resident of Connecticut and employee of Thomson Financial in Newton, Connecticut.  As a side note, when I researched this memorial and Amy, I never knew she worked at the very same corporation I used to work at.  It’s amazing how we all seem to be connected in some way.

Amy, a 1995 Avon High graduate, was killed Sept. 11 while she set up her company’s display booth for a trade show on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

Dedicated by the 2001-2002 Avon High School Student Government and the Avon community, the 22″ bronze statue depicts a young child, Amy Toyen, on a granite bench reading a book, a teddy bear resting in the crook of her elbow.

To help create the sculpture, Amy’s parents selected a group of photos that portray their daughter as they remember her.

The sculpture shows Amy in daisy print dress, her favorite sneakers and ponytails tied with pompom rubber bands

 

A scholarship was also started in Amy’s name. The first recipient of the annual Amy E. Toyen Memorial Scholarship went to Christine Bialaski, an Avon High senior and honors student who is active in community service, music and field hockey.

Coincidentally, the Bialaski family lives down the street from the Toyens. As a young child, Amy Toyen often waited for the morning school bus at the Bialaskis’ home after her mother left for her teaching job at Renbrook School.

The sculptor, Marilyn Parkinson Thrall of Canton, Connecticut, stops by every once in a while to polish and clean up the sculpture.

The statue, a reminder of all that was lost that day, remembers Amy in a younger, more carefree time.

Amy’s obituary can be found here.


PYR 2014 (Boston, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 4, 2016

Location: Fort Point Channel, corner of Dorchester Ave and Summer Street, Boston, MA

Cost: Free

Hours: 24 hours a day

Handicapped Friendly: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Web Site: PYR 2014

Highlights: Sculpture of a pyramid in Boston’s Fort Point Channel

If you’re hoping to view pyramids, you don’t have to book that trip to Egypt quite just yet.  You only need to make a visit to Boston, MA, to see a pyramid of grand dimensions.  The pyramid located in Boston named PYR 2014, which was sculpted by Boston-based sculptor Don Eyles, is said to be a sculpture that marks the past and future history.

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The pyramid is made of plastic blocks which have been painted to look like the paving stones of the streets of Boston.  It is more of a white shade.  But, with the sun and the shade it threw that day, Mother Nature made it look a much darker color in some photos.

But how did they get this sculpture in the channel?  Did they use some complicated contraption?  A pulley system? Was there a helicopter drop? No.  Nothing so elaborate was necessary.  This link show how they did it.

Cormorants like the pyramid also.

The pyramid is 10 feet high and 16 feet wide and built from polystyrene, a synthetic aromatic polymer made from the monomer styrene.

The pyramid was slated to be on display until November 15 of 2014.  But, as of the time I took the photos in November of 2016 it was still there.

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The National Monument To The Forefathers (Plymouth, MA)

Date Of Visit: November 19, 2016

Location: Pilgrim Memorial State Park, 72 Allerton St., Plymouth, MA

Hours: Sunrise To Sunset

Cost: Free

Parking: There is ample parking at the statue and street parking available on Allerton St and on nearby streets

Dog Friendly: Yes

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: Largest solid granite sculpture in the United States,

Web Site: National Monument To The Forefathers

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Mostly known for the tourist attractions Plimoth Plantation and Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Massachusetts is home to another lesser known, but no less impressive attraction.  In  fact, Plymouth is home to one of the largest sculptures in the states.

Clocking in at 81 feet, the National Monument To The Forefathers is the the largest solid granite sculpture in the United States. The granite was quarried in and transported to Plymouth from Hallowell, Maine.

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The monument, also known as the Pilgrim Statue, was created by Hammatt Billings, a Boston architect, illustrator and sculptor.  Billings would never got to see the sculpture in its final stages.  Billings died 15 years into the construction of the monument, or about half the time it took to construct the statue.  After Hammat Billings’ death his brother, Joseph, worked with a group of other sculptors to complete the project.  Dedicated on August 1, 1889, after 30 years of construction, the sculpture was meant to be a memorial to the Pilgrims who settled in the area.

The memorial has several statues within the memorial itself.  Statues representing Liberty, Peace, Tyranny, Education, Wisdom, Youth, Law, Mercy, Justice, and Morality surround the monument.  The monument wwas position to face Northeast towards Plymouth Harbor and, perhaps not coincidentally, towards Plymouth, England.

Faith, the statue at the top of the monument, is 36 feet tall and made of solid granite.  The Faith statue itself is listed as the 32nd largest statue in the entire United States and its territories.  The statue is pointing to heaven with her right hand.  In her left hand she is clutching a bible.

True to its description as a monument to the forefathers, all of the names of the passengers of the Mayflower.  Recognize any names?  Clearly, Massachusetts, as it would be later part of, was not all that progressive jusging by how women were considered “the wife of” the male passengers.

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The park offers grand views of the statue and it is said that before all of the construction and the planting of trees in the area many years, you could see the monument from miles away.  The park allows for some scenic views of the monument.

The memorial is surrounded by a spacious park and there is lots of room to walk your dog.  China, also known as China Doll, a rescued Siberian Husky and Lab mix, was enjoying the park while I was there.  She looks so happy!


American Legion Park (Feeding Hills, MA)

Date Visited: July 3, 2016

Location: 478 Springfield St, Feeding Hills (Agawam), MA

Hours: Open everyday, 24 hours a day

Cost: Free

Time To Allot For Visit: 5-10 minutes

Parking: While there is no designated parking area for the park there is plenty of parking available at the American Legion Post located behind the park and parking is available at the strip mall across the street

Dog Friendly: Yes

Highlights: sculpture, tank, memorial, well manicured grounds

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I don’t know about you but I’m really stoked to see that Judas Priest cover band.

But the real attraction on Springfield St in Feeding Hills (a territory in Agawam, MA), is the tank and Freedom Eagle sculpture located in front of “The Tank” American Legion Post 185.  The Tank is an eatery/event venue servicing veterans.

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DSC_1028The tank is a M-60 tank monument dedicated to all veterans (past, present and future)

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Donated in 2005, the Freedom Eagle shows an eagle soaring through the air, fish clutched tightly in his or her grip

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There is also a memorial from the town of Agawam in remembrance of the people who served during World War I.

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Although it is a small park there is a lot to take in and it certainly makes you proud and grateful.

The area is also a common spot for dog walkers.  Across the street, we saw a group of four big dogs being walked.  This is a group of Bernese Mountain Dogs.  The dogs go to the local senior center and  visit Alzheimer’s patients as therapy dogs.

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From left to right: Roma, Tony and Lena (one of the other dogs was a bit camera shy).

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Stark Park (Manchester, NH)

Date Visited: February 27, 2016

Location: North River Rd, Manchester, NH

Cost: Free

Hours: Open daily sunrise to sunset

Parking:  There was not a designated parking area per se but there are many places to park on the side of the paved road leading from the entrance.

Stark Park

 

 

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New Hampshire isn’t known as the “Live Free Or Die” state for no reason.  The quote, which is said to have French origins and adorns license plates and other kitschy souvenirs, is directly attributed to General, and former New Hampshire resident, John Stark.  It was at John Stark Park in Manchester, NH, that I found this historical tribute to the revolutionary warrior.

The remaining of the “live free or die…”quote is lesser known, yet just as poignant.

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For someone who is so heroic and brave, General Stark is not someone who many of us are familiar with.  But, heroic he is.  As the plaque in front of his statue explains, after being kidnapped by a Native American tribe and eventually ransomed, Stark joined the American Revolution and became a general.  His most notable achievement was in 1777 when he commanded his troops to prevent British troops and supplies from connecting with the main army in Saratoga, New York, which was considered a key point which led to the American victory in the war.

Crisp blue skies awaited me at the park.  It almost felt fall-like.  What struck me most about the park was how peaceful it was.  The gazebo is a nice touch also.  The statue of General Stark was sculpted by Richard Recchia in 1948.  The park is one of the older parks in New Hampshire, dating back to 1893 (it is the second oldest park in Manchester).

 

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General Stark his, wife and a few of their children are buried at the bottom of the hill from the entrance.

One of the interesting things about Stark Park is the loop behind the park.  It’s only about a quarter of mile and it is a great place to take your dog for a walk.  But, there is a trail that branches off to a bridge and some other trails which eventually lead to the Heritage Trail.  But, apart from some interesting trees and some wildlife, there isn’t much on the trails.  Most of them lead to residential areas.  I walked most of the narrow trails as far as I could go before they ended, rather disappointingly, at roadways and residential areas.

The big payoff to walking the loop behind the park was meeting Bennie.  Bennie is a Chinook which is the state dog of New Hampshire.

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Waterfront Park (Woods Hole, MA)

The last leg of our summer’s swan song at Cape Cod was spent at Waterfront Park in Woods Hole.  Waterfront Park has several statues and sculptures.  The most recent statue is a memorial to environmentalist Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring and the Sea Around Us.  Both books are considered influential books in the environmentalist movement.  Carson had worked with Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) which is located in Woods Hole.

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The waterfront also has a shaded sitting area for the weary traveler to rest their bones.

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There is also a sun dial statue dedicated to Robert Crane, one of the original financial supporters of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.  The sun dial was constructed so that you could tell what time it is from any direction.  And, yes, it is accurate. A somewhat elaborate explanation is included on the ground in front of the sun dial.

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The “Flukes” is a bronze sculpture by Gordon Gund.  Gund, a successful businessman, was inspired to sculpt The Flukes after seeing pilot whales off the coast.  It looks like more of a slide or play thing which explains the sign in front of the sculpture.  I suspect it is not much of a deterrent.

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The Waterfront is also the main point of embarkment for the ferry to the islands of Cape Cod, mainly Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

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The waterfront also has some pretty views of the water and pretty flowers.

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The waterfront park is also known for its friendly visitors.  I met this friendly guy named Charlie as I was leaving.

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Goodbye summer!  See you again in 2016.