Stark Park monument is made whole to volunteers' delight
MANCHESTER — Volunteers who have worked for years to restore Stark Park celebrated Friday as a solid granite adornment missing since the 1970s was replaced at the top a monument next to the grave of Revolutionary War hero Gen. John Stark.
“This is the capstone of the whole thing,” said Patricia Howard, the past president of the nonprofit organization Friends of Stark Park.
The cleanup and restoration of the riverside park has been going on for years. The latest attention has been on the fenced off plot where Stark was buried in 1822.
“It’s important because this is an important man in American history,” she said.
Friends of Stark Park raised the money to restore wrought iron fencing around the plot where Stark and several family members were laid to rest. The stone monument to Stark himself is marred with chips taken as souvenirs before the fence went up early in the 20th century.
The family monument just south of Stark’s grave is much larger and includes names of the other family members. Mounted at the top was an urn carved out of granite until it disappeared some time in the 1970s.
Howard said nobody is sure whether vandals ran off with the piece or if something else happened.
Tom Burrington, a vice president with the Vermont company Rock of Ages, which carved the replacement urn, dropped by Friday to take pictures of the final product.
He pointed out a chip in the monument that may have come from a fallen tree limb, which could have knocked the original piece from the top.
He said the company used old pictures to come up with the scale and proportions for the new urn.
Howard said a public ceremony marking the return of the urn is scheduled for Sept. 14.