Date Visited: February 27, 2016
Location: Beech St, Manchester, New Hampshire (with access points on Union, St, Amherst St and Hanover St)
Cost: Free to the public
Although a statue that is dedicated to the veterans of the Spanish American War, the Boxer Rebellion and the Phillipine-American War, Bronstein Park celebrates a hero from another war.
Although “The Hiker” stands prominently at the street entrance to the park, Bronstein Park (formerly known as Hanover Square) is actually named after a corpsman who died in World War II; Dr. Ben Richard Bronstein, the first Manchester, New Hampshire, resident to die during the war. Dr Bronstein’s brother, Maurice Bronstein, donated the memorial to the park in 1990.
The inscription on the memorial is hard to read in some parts. It states:
“in memory of
Dr. BEN RICHARD BRONSTEIN,
LIEUTENANT, MEDICAL CORPS,
aboard the destroyer
U.S.S. Jacob Jones
Lost in Action, February 28, 1942
First Naval Officer
From the State of New Hampshire
To have Sacrificed his life
in the fulfillment of his duty
in World War II.”
Another memorial pays tribute to Dr. Bronstein’s brother, Stephen Max Bronstein, who also served during the war.
“The Hiker” was originally sculpted by Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson in 1906. The original statue was made for the University of Minnesota. However, 50 copies were made of her statue and were distributed all over America. Manchester, New Hampshire was the recipient of one of the copies of her statue. The statue is made of bronze on a base of granite, of course.
The name “hiker” was a moniker the American soldiers in the Spanish American War and Philippine-American War gave themselves because of the long hikes they took in the jungle. Kitson said the hiker, “depicts a hero stripped of his parade uniform and shown as a soldier reacting to the challenges of the battlefield.”
Leonard Sefing, Jr., a Spanish-American War veteran, was the model for the statue.
A close inspection of the statue shows a weary soldier clad in civilian type apparel.
An American flag stands in front of the memorial for Dr. Ben Bronstein.
One strange thing I noticed is a warning posted that prohibits people from hanging out at the park during school hours. So that is something to bear in mind if you do visit. I’m not sure why this restriction is in place. I can only imagine you would be the talk of the town in prison if you ever got convicted of it “Don’t mess with that guy. He’s in here for loitering.” (I know it’s probably just a fine)
Below are some additional photos of the park from different angles.
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