Shettleworth on Civil War sculpture

Sep 19, 2013
The “General Hiram Berry” statue by Franklin Simmons is part of the Achorn Cemetery in Rockland, which dates from 1865.

Union — Union Historical Society will meet Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Town House on Town House Road/Route 235, just off Union Common. State Historian and Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. will give an illustrated presentation titled Carving a National Image: the Civil War Sculpture of Maine’s Franklin Simmons.

For Maine-born sculptor Franklin Simmons, the Civil War was a major source of inspiration for his work. As a young man near the end of the war, he spent several months in Washington making bas reliefs and busts of the nation’s leading political and military leaders including Abraham Lincoln, William Seward, Ulysses Grant, and William Sherman. Simmons’ Civil War Monument in Lewiston may have been the first in the nation to use the popular motif of the standing soldier. More elaborate war memorials by the sculptor are found in Portland and in Washington, where his equestrian statue of General John Logan is the focal point of Logan Square.

Simmons’ larger-than-life marble statues of General Grant grace the rotundas of the U.S. Capitol and the Sweat Gallery of the Portland Museum of Art. Most of Simmons’ career was spent in Rome, where he died in 1913 at the age of 74.

A native of Portland, Shettleworth attended Deering High School, Colby College and Boston University and was the recipient of honorary doctorates from Bowdoin College and the Maine College of Art. At age 13, Shettleworth became interested in historic preservation through the destruction of Portland’s Union Station in 1961. A year later, he joined the Sills Committee, which founded Greater Portland Landmarks in 1964. In 1971, he was appointed by Gov. Curtis to serve on the first board of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, for which he became architectural historian in 1973 and director in 1976.

Shettleworth has lectured and written extensively on Maine history and architecture, his most recent publication being 2012’s “Waterville.” In 2008, Gov. Baldacci reappointed Shettleworth to a second term as State Historian.

Following the program, refreshments will be served by hosts Elaine Frost and Debbie Hilt. All meetings of Union Historical Society are free and open to the public. Union Historical Society owns and maintains the Robbins House on Union Common, the Cobb’s Ledge historic site on Town House Road and the Old Town House, also located on Town House Road and available to rent for functions. Membership is $5 per year. For more information, call 785-5444 and leave a message; or visit unionhistoricalsociety.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

 

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