Friday, December 23, 2005

the UNTOLD story of the statue of noah webster in west hartford center

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: THE courant published a story on noah's finger MARCH 10, 2008!!!! here is the link to my posting

and the courant story link as well

first, here is the story on the west hartford library site (accurate although not the FULL story, as i have heard it)

Noah Webster and the Sculptor
The Artist's Model of Noah Webster Statue is on Display at the Main Library
The West Hartford Public Library is now showcasing a fascinating piece of local history, a statute of our town’s most famous citizen, Noah Webster. But it is not just any statute. This statute is the original model for the 13-1/2 foot statute of Noah Webster which rests on the corner of Memorial Road and South Main Street. The statue, and the man who carved it, Korczak Ziolkowski, are an intriguing part of West Hartford lore.
The library’s statue, affectionately known as “Little Noah,” is 2-1/2 feet tall and stands across from the reference desk on the main floor. Ziolkowski originally donated the statue to the library in May 1943, but because it could not be properly protected, it has been kept in storage until its formal unveiling on May 15. Former Mayor Nan Glass calls the statue, “a little treasure for the town, a valuable and unique item.”
Noah Webster’s sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, was a man of great spirit, strong convictions, and certain persistence. About 65 years ago, Ziolkowski came from the Boston area to West Hartford as a young man and bought a house on Sedgwick Road. He made the basement of his house into a gallery, and his garage into a studio workshop.
Soon after he arrived in town, Ziolkowski began reading the history of Noah Webster, who was born in our town in 1758, and who wrote “An American Dictionary of the English Language,” published in 1828. Ziolkowski said, “I was standing before the fireplace in my West Hartford home, when it dawned on my that the Town where Webster was born had no memorial to him. As I studied his history, I became fascinated with what he had accomplished and I determined to do a statue memorializing a great American.”...........

the next portion of this story was told to me years ago by a friend. it seems his mother was part of a women's group in town who was none too pleased with the final rendition of the statue. if you drove around from memorial drive taking a right onto main street, you would see noah's hand down by his side with his index finger extended. however, it didn't LOOK like his index finger, it looked like good old noah had a giant woody (again, the way i heard it was mr ziolkowski was pissed at the fine citizenry of the charming town of west hartford [as i am MOST of the time. hey, what are the percentage of people in west hartford that own an suv? i am guessing it's in the 85% range. do they NEED an suv? ] and to get them back for all of their complaining and whining, he redesigned the arm and finger of the statue just a bit). the fine citizenry of the charming burg of west hartford (well a group of babes at any rate) decided to do something about it. by the cover of night, they snuck into the center (no radio shack and no max's or grants back then) and armed with only their wits, stealth and a ball peen hammer, they whacked (so to speak) off mr webster'appendaged appendege, never, may i add, to be replaced!

if you don't believe this is true all you have to do is get in your car and drive from memorial to main (of course you can't do that now because they are working on blue back [another story for another day] and see for yourself.

bronzes by korczak

1 comment:

Rucci said...

Crap crap crap........(about the finger anyhow)