Just off I-78, between PA & NJ, in the border town of Phillipsburg, NJ is a pretty interesting monument to the Union Army. On South Mainstreet at the fork in the road is Shappell Park.
Shappell Park, formerly known as Lovell Square, is the former site of Phillipsburg’s Town Hall. The park is triangular in shape, bounded by S. Main St., Sitgreaves St. and Jersey St.
In 1906, on the 10th of May, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument was dedicated and unveiled on the grounds of the Lovell School building, in the presence of Governor Edward C. Stokes, the G. A. R., and the Second Regiment of the National Guard of New Jersey. The total height of the monument is just shy of 50 feet.
According to the newspaper of the period, The Easton Expresss, the monument cost the citizens of Phillipsburg, New Jersey $4,800.00, most of that funding was raised during a thirteen day fair that took place May 8, 1905 through May 20, 1905.
Of particular note are the Three 13 inch Sea Coast mortars. This was the last place I would have expected to find this big old artillery pieces standing in silent witness. I was not able to view the 4th one which was located at a cemetery near by.
“The three mortars around the monument and the one on the soldiers’ plot in the cemetery are the property of Tolmie Post. They were a donation made by the War Department through a special act of Congress.”
It seems that all of these 13 inch behemoths have a service record;
- Two were in the siege at Vicksburg, Miss., during the engagements there in 1862 and 1863
- One was captured and recaptured three times at Island No. 10;
- One was at the front in the engagement at Fredericksburg, Va.
“On July 4, 1870, General Theodore Runyon dedicated a Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in the Phillipsburg Cemetery, which was afterwards removed under very peculiar conditions which constituted the highest grade of vandalism ever permitted by the loyal citizens of an enlightened community.”(1)
If you are passing through the area it is worth the pit stop. The next town over has a beautiful monument as well located in Easton, PA, home of Crayola Crayons.
In 2009 the mortars were removed and restored. The story can be found here. (2)