Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Rededicates Kearsarge Memorial in South Boston

State, Local Partnership Enabled the Rehabilitation of the 1930s Memorial
For immediate release:
6/14/2022
  • Department of Conservation & Recreation

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Rededicates Kearsarge Memorial in South Boston

Carolyn Assa, Communications Director

Baker-Polito Administration Rededicates Kearsarge Memorial in South Boston

Boston — Today, Governor Charlie Baker, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card, and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper joined state and local leaders, key stakeholders, and others for a rededication ceremony of the U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial located at Marine Park in South Boston. This is the first time the memorial has been rehabilitated since its installation in 1930. The $164,000 restoration project was a partnership between DCR, the South Boston Allied War Veteran’s Council (SBAWVC), and the City of Boston’s Community Preservation Committee (CPC).

“The U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial commemorates the dedication and sacrifices made by those who served in the U.S. Navy in past wars, and this rehabilitation project enables us to further honor those veterans and their efforts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to have contributed to the restoration of the memorial, which pays tribute to local heroes and keeps their stories alive for generations to learn more about these brave men and women.”

“We have the greatest strength, reach, and impact when we work together to make significant improvements to a treasured community resource within our state parks system,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The restoration of the U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial is a fitting tribute to Massachusetts naval veterans who served, and allows visitors from around the world the opportunity to learn more about the ship’s decades-long journey protecting our country’s interests.”

The restoration of the U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial began in 2019 when the SBAWVC, in collaboration with DCR, received a Boston Community Preservation Act award of $75,000, which DCR matched through the Partnership Matching Funds Program. Once the restoration work began, SBAWVC raised an additional $7,000 in funding, again matched by DCR for a total of $164,000. The monument features the reinstallation of the anchor from the turn of the century U.S.S. Kearsarge, a new pedestal, the reproduction of the original dedication, and a new plaque highlighting the restoration effort and rededication of the Memorial to all Navy veterans.

“The restoration of the U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial serves as a great example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to ensuring that historical monuments in our state parks are preserved,” said EEA Secretary Beth Card. “The monument is an important piece of New England history where people from around the world can come to reflect on the ship’s critical role in American history.”

“The Department of Conservation and Recreation strives to keep historical monuments and other public resources within the Massachusetts Park Systems in top condition,” said Acting DCR Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “We know that these renovations make this site a destination spot for many naval families, and we want them to know we will continue to care for and protect this memorial for many years to come.” 

In 1930, the City of Boston dedicated the U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial to those who served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. The U.S.S. Kearsarge was one of a series of Navy vessels named after the New Hampshire Mountain.

“Named after one of America’s proudest Navy ships, South Boston’s USS Kearsarge Memorial commemorates those who nobly served our Nation as part of the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. “I am grateful to Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Michelle Wu, the Department of Conservation, Dave Falvey and the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, and Boston’s Community Preservation Committee for their work to rehabilitate this Memorial so that it may remain a dignified tribute for years to come.”

“The Kearsarge Memorial has stood as a proud testament to the service of New England’s men and women on US Navy ships since 1930. The USS Kearsarge was one of the most dedicated ships to serve during the Civil War, and it is an honor to have a monument to it here in South Boston,” said Senator Nick Collins.  “I am grateful for the efforts of the South Boston Allied Veterans War Council and the Department of Conservation and Recreation in their efforts to refurbish and rededicate such an important piece of American history.”

"Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City of Boston's Community Preservation Committee and the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council for their partnership on the rehabilitation of the U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial in Marine Park," said State Rep. David Biele. "With today's rededication, the Memorial honors the service and sacrifice of those who served in U.S. Navy and ensures that future generations will know the stories of our veterans and heroes to whom we owe a debt of gratitude." 

“I am proud to join colleagues in government and South Boston neighbors for today’s rededication of the USS Kearsarge Memorial and to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and military families,” said Boston City Council President Ed Flynn, U.S. Navy (Retired).  “It is great to see this historic anchor conserved and preserved, through an exceptional city and state partnership, so that future generations can continue to learn and benefit from our country’s naval history.” 

"As the City Council’s Chair of Veterans, Military Families, and Military Affairs, and daughter and niece to Navy Veterans, I am excited to celebrate the rehabilitation of the USS Kearsarge Memorial here in Marine Park,” said Boston City Councilor Erin Murphy. “Finally, after 92 years, the USS Kearsarge Memorial has got what it deserves - a restoration that will preserve the statue for future generations. Statutes like this must be restored so that history is not forgotten and the legacy of our brave Naval Veterans lives on. I hope this event sets a precedent where we can see more monuments, statues, and memorials restored around the City."

“As the Chair of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), it brings me great pride to know that the USS Kearsarge is the beneficiary of CPA funds,” said Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty. “As we continue to grow and evolve as a City, it is vital that we recognize our history and pay tribute to those who have served and sacrificed on our behalf.

The restoration was completed by Robert Shure of Skylight Studios, a noted conservation and restoration artist whose work is on display across New England. Some of Shure’s notable works include the Massachusetts Fallen Fighter Memorial and the Arnold “Red” Auerbach Bronze Relief at Boston’s North Station. 

The U.S.S. Kearsarge was commissioned on January 24, 1862, at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in New Hampshire and deployed to European waters during the American Civil War, where it hunted down Confederate raiders, including sinking the C.S.S. Alabama. The Kearsarge remained in use until its sinking off the Solomon Islands in 1894.

The Kearsarge Association of Naval Veterans was officially established on July 4, 1890, by a group of Civil War Navy veterans from New England who served on ships in the Atlantic. On July 19, 1930, the Kearsarge Memorial was unveiled by Boston Mayor James Michael Curley. A parade of over 1,000 people was held for the dedication, grand marshalled by David King, the oldest Navy veteran in the U.S. at age 88.

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Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Rededicates Kearsarge Memorial in South Boston

Department of Conservation & Recreation 

DCR manages state parks and oversees more than 450,000 acres throughout Massachusetts. It protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
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