Carlisle

Carlisle Soldiers’ Monument (Middlesex County). See below for additional images.

Location: Monument Square, Lowell Street and Bedford Street, Carlisle
Coordinates: 42°31’45.0″N 71°20’56.2″W
Date dedicated: August 29, 1885
Manufacturer/design: Andrews and Wheeler of Lowell

The Carlisle soldiers monument was made possible by the gifts of two sisters, Mrs. Lydia A. G. Farrar and Miss Hannah L. C. Green. It is one of only a few in the Commonwealth featuring a sculpture of a female figure. The statue is known as the “Goddess of Liberty.” Other towns featuring such allegorical female statues representing “liberty” or “victory” include Harvard, Lynn, and Holyoke. The primary inscription on Carlisle’s monument reads, “To the roll-call they make no response, Carlisle honors their deeds of valor to perpetuate their names to posterity.”

Lydia Farrar made her bequest to the town without any stated restriction. In 1882, as plans moved forward to build a soldiers’ monument, the town voted to devote her funds to the project. However, it was not enough, and so officials approached her sister, Hannah Green, in hopes that she would fund the balance. This suggestion, according to a member of the monument committee and a local historian, was “favorably entertained by her.” Several contractors submitted designs. The committee awarded the job to Andrews and Wheeler of Lowell whose design called for the “Liberty” statue to be crafted from Italian marble. It was carved in Italy, though the name of the sculptor or studio is not known. The statue was put in place on the pedestal on December 7, 1883. Another year or so of grading and landscaping the newly christened “Monument Square” followed and the monument was ready for dedication in 1885.[1]

This took place with a procession and ceremonies on August 29, 1885 on the anniversary of the Second Battle of Bull Run. One of the fallen, William Blood of the 16th Massachusetts Infantry, was killed during that battle and this fact was part of the reasoning to hold the event on that date. Congressman Charles H. Allen of Lowell gave the oration. He devoted much of his address to abstract concepts of honor, patriotism and liberty and praised the volunteer soldiers of Carlisle for upholding them. He spoke of the “principles of statesmanship and true government which were maintained through the war” through the sufferings of many—including Carlisle’s soldiers. He added a unique note, arguing that less money should be spent in the future on guns and warships and more on educating young people. Educated citizens, he insisted, “would prove a mighty fortress to our country.”[2]

The names of 13 Carlisle men who died in the war are recorded on the monument. Over all, according to a list assembled by monument committee member Sydney Bull in his history of Carlisle, 53 Carlisle residents served and were credited to the town’s quota. He did not list, he said, an additional number who were credited to the quotas of other towns.[3]


[1] Sydney A. Bull, “Carlisle,” in History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts (Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1890), 730-731.

[2] Boston Daily Advertiser, August 31, 1885, 5.

[3] Sydney A. Bull, 729-730.