World War One Memorial – Weehawken, NJ

Weehawken Memorial WWI 1917 - 1918World War One memorials commemorate the events and the casualties of World War One. Each of these monuments you see in a town square or near a VFW hall represents the sacrifice men made almost 100 years ago. Each slab of granite or statue was dedicated to remembering those involved in the conflict. Huge numbers of memorials were built in the 1920s and 1930s, with around 176,000 erected in France alone! This was a new social phenomenon and marked a major cultural shift in how nations commemorated conflicts. As the decades past on and other wars took place the interest in World War I and its memorials faded. in the late 80s and into the 90s a rennisance took place as intrest in the memorials increased significantly in Europe, some  national and civic memorials continue to be used for annual ceremonies remembering the war here in the USA.

Weehawken Memorial WWI 1917 - 1918The sculptor of the Solider & Sailor Memorial was Giovanni (John) Rapetti. He was born in Como, Italy in 1862 and studied in Milan, Italy and Paris. While in Paris Rapetti worked as an assistant to Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Bartholdi was the man behind the Statue of Liberty and Rapetti worked on the statue. His name is inscribed on the crown as one of the creators.  In 1889, William Ordway Partridge persuaded  Rapetti to accept employment in his studio. He came to the United States and worked of the Colombian Exposition. In addition, locally in Weehawken he did the famous Alexander Hamilton Memorial. 

Rapetti created Weehawken’s World War One Memorial in bronze. The Memorial is located at Boulevard East and Hudson Pace. It sits silently guarding the the cliffs of Weehawken, with the island of Manhattan as a backdrop.

Weehawken Memorial WWI 1917 - 1918The memorial consits of a pair of Bronze Eagles, a “Doughboy” and a Sailor.

What was a ‘Doughboy? No it isnt a form of baked good from Pillsbury. “Doughboy” was a popular nickname for the American soldiers and Marines during World War I.  While soldiers and Marines of the American Expeditionay force were also referred to as Yanks, or Sammies( an unpopular term not appreciate by the men), the name “Doughboy” became the term that most people envison when they think of a WW1 Soldier.
Weehawken Memorial WWI 1917 - 1918

When you think of World War One the US Navy doesn’t immediately come to mind. The American navy focused on countering enemy U-boats in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. In addition they escorted convoys of  men and supplies to frontlines in France and Italy. Due to her late start in the war, the United States Navy’s capital ships never engaged the Germans and only a few decisive submarine actions occurred. Four United States Navy ships were lost during America’s involvement in the conflict, only two by enemy action though six merchant ships with armed guards aboard were also destroyed.

Weehawken Memorial WWI 1917 - 1918The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of American, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks, and also because it was then believed to exist only on this continent.

It is said the eagle was used as a national emblem because, at one of the first battles of the Revolution (which occurred early in the morning) the noise of the struggle awoke the sleeping eagles on the heights and they flew from their nests and circled about over the heads of the fighting men, all the while giving vent to their raucous cries. “They are shrieking for Freedom,” said the patriots.
Thus the eagle, full of the boundless spirit of freedom, living above the valleys, strong and powerful in his might, has become the national emblem of a country that offers freedom in word and thought and an opportunity for a full and free expansion into the boundless space of the future.
–Maude M. Grant

Weehawken Memorial WWI 1917 - 1918

The Smitsonian Institute, in their Save Outdoor Sculpture, New Jersey survey, 1994 describe the memorial as such; Two full-length bronze figures flank a square granite column. The figure on the left is a World War I sailor. He is dressed in uniform and wears a sailors cap. He holds a rifle in front of him with both hands placed on the barrel of the gun. The butt of the gun rests on the ground in front of him. The figure on the right is a World War I doughboy. He also wears a uniform and helmet and holds a gun in the same position. Both figures are positioned with their backs to the monument column and stand on granite bases which rest flush against the column. The capitol of the column is decorated with bas-relief elements. A bronze bas-relief eagle, perched on an olive branch with wings outspread, is centered on the front and back faces of the column. Weehawken Memorial WWI 1917 - 1918

The Weehawken World War One Memorial is dedicated for her twenty-one sons who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War One. A visit to Weehawken, N.J. is very easy from New York City as it is directly opposite the Lincoln Tunnel entrance .  There are many great restaurants in the area and the views of Manhattan can’t be beat.

Rapetti was a long time resident of Weehawken N.J. and died in his home in Weehawken on June 23, 1936.

GPS: 40.772203, -74.015882

Sources include:


World War 


Smithsonian Institute

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Stanziales Restaurant First Annual Corsair Cruise Car Show on Sept. 9th 2012 (10am till 4pm) at 595 Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut to benefit the Corsair Restoration

Stanziales will be hosting it’s First Annual Car Show – Corsair Cruise – on Sept. 9th 2012 (10am till 4pm) at 595 Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut

Stanziales Restaurant will be hosting it’s First Annual Car Show – Corsair Cruise – on Sept. 9th 2012 (10am till 4pm) at 595 Main Street in Stratford, Connecticut across from the Stratford Army Engine Plant. The proceeds from the show will benefit the Connecticut Air & Space Center and the Corsair Restoration Project. Weather permitting the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair which is under full restoration will be present and on display as well as Gustave Whitehead 1901 No. 21 Flyer Replica that Flew in Bridgeport. Registration is $10 for a chance at a trophy and the first 50 cars receive a special dash plaque commemorating the event. Admission is free, but donations to the Museum will be accepted.  Please join us for a great day of Cool Cars, Cool Corsairs and gear food and fun.

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It’s All Coming Back to Me Now

Ed McGuinness starts the reassembly process by installing the first pully’s and brackets.

No. The title does not infer Celine Dion or a Wagnerian Rock Ballad. The Sikorsky Memorial Corsair is coming back to life. A little over two and a half years ago I wandered into this Connecticut Air & Space Center looking to kill a few hours helping sweep a floor or clean some parts. It was just a few months after my 40th birthday when I found the Corsair.

40 was a birthday that I dreaded in no unspeakable terms. You see my biggest fear is when I die I will be forgotten, that I will fade away into time, falling into the eternal vortex of the past. Pretty dark, I know.  This morning I had this realization that not only was 40 nothing to be mournful of, hell life really just became interesting.  Not only am I now in charge of the Connecticut Air & Space Center (Promoted Aug. 2011), last year I spent a month at Ezell Aviation in Breckenridge, Texas, I have helped save the Sikorsky S-60 from destruction (Igor’s last personal project at Sikorsky), I have Cannonballed across the US (legally) and been to Hawaii meeting so many great people in the Museum business and learning more in 2 years that I did in the past 10.  The museum is growing by leaps and bounds, our volunteers are some of the best in the museum business and did I mention that my wife, Laura, and I had a beautiful baby boy named Henry Howard! Yeah life is good.

Henry Howard, the nest generation of Aircraft Restorer. Note his Corsair pin. It was a gift from Scott Ramos on the day of his birth. I met Scott via the Corsair project and we spent almost 2 weeks in the Texas Heat last year becoming fast friends.

But to get to the point. It’s all coming back to me how much I love this stuff. Every project goes through doldrums especially when all you are doing is cleaning parts and trying to find the bits and pieces that are missing.  On Saturday August 18th, 2012,  Ed McGuinness installed the first brackets back into the painted cockpit. Now we begin the road to reassembly.

Mark Corvino has been working for almost a year getting the Cowl flap system  restored and wow does it look amazing.  Mark Knopick spent almost 9 months in the media blasting room cleaning lines and fittings that were all coated with corrosion.  Our 92 year old Chance Vought veteran, Bill Digney has almost finished rebuilding the Oil Cooler sections. Tim Benson has made signification progress on tearing down the R-2800 engine.  We still have a long way to go but were in gear and heading forward.

The Corsair with a fresh coat of Interior Green. Courtesy of Mike Proto.

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Return of the Monument Man – Jacob Leisler

Statue of Jacob Leisler in New Rochelle, New York

I have not posted any thing Monument related since I took on the Corsair project, which by and large is a monument.  Check out this beautiful Statue of Jacob Leisler of  in New Rochelle, New York.

Jacob Leisler 
Jacob Leisler is an important figure in the early histories of both New Rochelle and the nation. He arrived in America as a soldier with the Dutch West India company and later became one of the most prominent merchants in New York. He also served for a time as mayor of New York City. He was subsequently appointed acting-governor of the province, and it was during this time that he acted on behalf of the Huguenots.(1)

Leisler and the Huguenots
Acting on behalf of a group of Huguenots in New York, Leisler brokered the purchase of the land upon which they would settle. In 1689 John Pell, Lord of Pelham Manor, officially deeded 6,100 acres to Leisler for the establishment of a Huguenot community. In addition to the purchase money, Leisler and his heirs and assigns were to yield and pay unto John Pell and his heirs and assigns (Lords of the Pelham Manor) one “Fat Calf” yearly as acknowledgment of their feudal obligation to the Manor. This site of this settlement is now occupied by the city of New Rochelle, New York.[2]

Jacob Leisler led an insurrection against local colonial officials from 1689 to 1691 in colonial New York. A penniless soldier, he shared in the widespread colonial resentment of colonial officials, particularly those appointed by Stuart King James II and thus suspected of being Roman Catholics.

Upon receiving word of the Glorious Revolution in England, many colonists rebelled against the deposed king’s colonial officials. Leisler and his militia managed to gain control of southern New York, proclaiming William and Mary as the new sovereigns, and appointing Leisler commander in chief. Though the wealthy viewed his rise as populism run amok, small farmers and city workers actively supported his rule by military force. When King William sent troops under Major Richard Ingolesby in 1691, Leisler refused to recognize Ingoldesby’s authority, and fighting soon broke out. New governor Henry Sloughter arrived thereafter, and Leisler surrendered. He and his son-in-law were tried, convicted of treason and hanged in May 1691. The lingering Leisler/anti-Leisler divide consumed New York politics for generations. Four years after their executions, Parliament retroactively exonerated Leisler and his son-in-law of all charges.[3]

There is a tremendous website about Leisler and his papers at NYU. That site is

The statue is located on North Avenue in New Rochelle off Exit 16 on I-95 directly across the street and west from New Rochelle High School at the intersection of North Ave. and Breamar Ave.

1 –,_New_York
2 –
3 – Shmoop Editorial Team, “Jacob Leisler in Colonial New England,” Shmoop University, Inc.,11 November 2008, (accessed August 20, 2012).

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Connecticut Air & Space Center’s Open House Saturday, July 9th and Sunday July 10th, 2011 Stratford, CT

Connecticut Air & Space Center’s Open House
Saturday, July 9th and Sunday July 10th, 2011 Stratford, CT
“Celebrating Connecticut’s Aviation History”

The Connecticut Air & Space Center (CASC) is hosting a free, all access Open House “Celebrating Connecticut’s Aviation History” on Saturday, July 9th and Sunday July 10th, 2011 (9am -4pm both days), where for the first time in 5 years that the entire collection will be accessible to the general public. The event will be held in the large, open parking lot next to Museum, at the intersection of Main Street & Sniffens Lane, opposite the Atlantic Aviation Hangers at Sikorsky Memorial Airport. Parking is Free.

During the Open House, attendees will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the aircraft and artifacts in the collection. The collection includes items from Sikorsky, Chance Vought, Pratt & Whitney, Hamilton Standard, Avco/Lycoming, Cessna and North American to name a few. For anyone over the age of 18, there will be guided tours of the original Chance Vought R&D Hanger and the Museums cold storage facility aptly named “Area 53”. These buildings contain the Museum’s restoration shop as well as many other displays.

“We are the best kept secret in Connecticut” said Christopher Soltis, Display Designer and Asst Curator. “This event has been planned with children in mind. Our goal is to Honor, Preserve and Educate about our history in Connecticut. We need to get the next generation involved. When I became a volunteer, It changed my life.”

The Connecticut Air and Space Center is currently in the process of restoring numerous aircraft including; several Sikorsky Helicopters, the S-60 prototype for the successful Skycrane, a pair of H05S/S-52 (one with Korean War service), and an H-19 / S-55 also from the Korean War period. There is also a Cessna 02-A Forward Air Observer Aircraft which spent time in Cuba as well as acting as a training chase plane for the F-18 Squadrons when they first came into service. Jet aircraft includes; a T-33 Shooting Star currently being reworked by a former crew chief and T37 & T38 trainer aircraft. Andy Kosch will present his 1901 Whitehead #21 Replica that flew at KBDR in the 1980’s.

Currently the CASC is probably most famous for its involvement in the restoration of the Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport FG1-D Corsair which is receiving a ground up restoration for display back at the Airport.

Other displays and vendors expected are The Town of Stratford Fire Department & Police Department, Stratford EMS, Met Life, Civil Air Patrol, Eagle One Search & Rescue and many more interesting and exciting displays. Food will be provided by Stanziales Restaurant on Main Street.

About the Connecticut Air & Space Center: The Connecticut Air and Space Center (CASC) was founded in 1998 after the closing of the Stratford Army Engine Plant, in Stratford, Connecticut. Currently the Connecticut Air and Space Center occupies buildings 6 and 53 at the former Stratford Army Engine Plant complex. The CASC is a Non Profit 501c(3) charity promoting the aviation achievements in Connecticut.

Media Requests – Drew King –

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Wings and Wheels Airshow May 21st and 22nd 2011

Sikorsky Memorial Airport Airshow 2011 CASC

Sikorsky Memorial Airport Airshow 2011 CASC

Just a few of our great volunteers from the Connecticut Air and Space Center setting up for the Wings and Wheels 2011 show.
Sikorsky Memorial Airport Airshow 2011 CASC

The Corsquito makes Progress

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Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Corsair on the Move

Connecticut World War Two Fighter restoration project takes a major step forward.
The Sikorsky Memorial Corsair is making a huge leap on its path to resurrection by taking a journey to Ezell Aviation War Bird Restorers in Breckinridge, Texas.  As the result of the collaboration with Ezell Aviation and The Connecticut Air and Space Center, this journey will accomplish two goals.  The first is to help another historic Corsair aircraft, a Brewster F3A, come back to its original glory, and to the air.  The second is to knock up to 2 years of restoration work off of the Stratford FG1-D that would have been expensive, significant, lengthy and difficult to accomplish without this amazing and vital alliance.

Thanks to a chance meeting between the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair Restoration Director, Drew King and Massachusetts Corsair enthusiast Matt Hudak, a friendship and understanding was formed with Chad Ezell of Ezell Aviation War Bird Restorers. At the time Ezell took on the project of the Brewster Corsair restoration they were in need of an airframe to make a construction assembly jig. This equipment is custom built to a specific aircraft, and as it turned out, the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair was at a point of disassembly that could serve as this pattern.

The damage to the curved aluminum Wingspar of the Sikorsky Corsair, forming the famous Corsair silhouette, is extensive from the corrosion caused by 37 years on it’s post standing guard outside the entrance to Sikorsky Memorial Airport but has not compromised its ability to serve as a pattern.  The other major sections of the aircraft, also in varying degrees of degradation, will also serve as patterns and models with which Ezell Aviation can advance their efforts to bring to life another significant piece of Corsair history by restoring the Brewster F3A back to the airworthy condition for all to see.

While in Texas, the collaboration will involve the Sikorsky FG1-D being used to build manufacturing frame jigs but will also involve being repaired by Ezell Aviation’s crew with the assistance of several members of the Connecticut Air and Space Center’s team of restoration specialists. This work represents a major advance in this project and eventual presentation back to the people of Connecticut as a historically accurate static representation of this very special aircraft.  On Memorial Day, 29 May 2006, the Corsair was named the official aircraft of Connecticut in legislation sponsored by state senator George “Doc” Gunther and although no attempt will be made to make the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair airworthy, she will be displayed in a proper and honorable environment here in the State of Connecticut serving as a reminder, testament and homage to those who built, flew and died in these airplanes in the service of our country. 

The Chance Vought-Sikorsky F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft built in Stratford, CT. The Corsair saw service primarily in World War II and during the Korean War as a ground support and night fighter. The Japanese allegedly nicknamed the Corsair “Whistling Death”, for the noise made by airflow through the wing root-mounted oil cooler air intakes and had great respect for its capabilities.  Demand for the aircraft overwhelmed Vought’s manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster Aeronautical Corporation: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and Brewster-built aircraft were known as F3A.  Of the Corsairs built and few remaining, the F3A is a rare find and the Connecticut Air and Space Center is honored to be a small part of Ezell’s efforts to rebuild her.

For more information, pictures and video, check out the restoration on: and

About the Connecticut Air and Space Center
The Connecticut Air and Space Center was founded by George “Doc” Gunther in 1998 after the closing of the Stratford Army Engine Plant, in Stratford, Connecticut. Currently the Connecticut Air and Space Center occupies buildings 6 and 53 at the former Stratford Army Engine Plant complex.
The Connecticut Air and Space Center is a non-profit 501c(3) charity.  The mission of the CASC is to Honor, Preserve and Educate the story of aviation and technology throughout the State of Connecticut.
About Ezell Aviation
Ezell Aviation is based in Breckenridge, Texas and has been in the aircraft restoration business for 20 years. They are experts in the Warbird Restoration industry with over 20 flying restorations to date in museums and private collections. The company’s specialty and main work flow has been. since its origin. WW II and post war aircraft. The majority of the company’s restorations have been to bring the aircraft back to flying or airworthy conditions.
Contact: Andrew King
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