I have been looking at some of the commemorative statues that there are around Gloucester. There’s art and history in so many places. One is a WWI memorial and is a large statue of Joan of Arc on a horse in Legion Square at the intersection of Washington and Middle streets. The imposing bronze statue, which was dedicated in 1921, is one and a quarter times life size, stands on top of a large carved granite base. There are bronze plaques on either side listing “The Sons of Gloucester Who Gave Their Lives in the Great World War” and decorative plaques at either end. Wrapping around the base is a granite bench; perhaps designed so people might sit there with friends and family, and reminisce. There are beach stones surrounding the monument, and set into the ground like cobblestones.
Designed by Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), her original Joan of Arc statue won an honorable mention at a Paris art show. There were four other Joan of Arc statues cast by her that were placed in either New York City, San Francisco, Quebec, Canada and Blois, France. Huntington was 34 when she made the original plaster statue in her family’s studio in 1910 which was near Annisquam. It has been reported that the horse was modeled after one of the East Gloucester Fire Station’s horses, and that “Joan” was actually Anna’s, niece who was sitting on a barrel.
For those who have never looked closely at this imposing statue and monument, I suggest they park, and carefully walk to the center of the square. It is truly an artistic masterpiece!