SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – A statue honoring the New York 77th Infantry Regiment, a group of local soldiers who fought in the Union Army during the American Civil War, once again stands in Congress Park in Saratoga Springs.
The monument, vandalized in July 2020, was reinstalled Tuesday morning by employees of the Saratoga Springs Public Works Department, as community members watched and celebrated.
Prior to this grand return, the zinc statue required extensive repairs, which were carried out by Evergreene Architectural Artists in Maryland.
“It’s amazing what they did,” said Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly, recalling the statue lying in several pieces on the ground last summer.
Repair costs were $58,218 and were covered by the city’s insurance program.
Additional community donations, organized by the New York State Civil War Centennial Committee and Col. George L. Willard Camp #154 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, totaling $14,215.90, were used for landscaping and improving security.
“It’s a beautiful monument and we’re really excited to be able to do it,” Kelly said Tuesday, thanking everyone involved in the effort.
“There are a lot of people coming together to make this happen,” she continued. “It’s a community effort. It’s not just one person.”
Plus, “it’s a really nice piece of history in our park,” Kelly said of the statue, which was originally donated in 1875 by veterans of the 77th Regiment.
“The community rallied around this when it was vandalized,” Kelly said, noting that cameras and lights will now protect the monument from such incidents.
Although no arrests were made in connection with the 2020 damage, “if anyone touches it,” the mayor said, “it’s going to be caught on camera this time.”
Ray LeMay III, historian of Col. George L. Willard Camp #154 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, who donated to the project, believes the initiative was important. Shortly after watching workers unveil the restored statue, he said, “It’s a monumental day for everyone.”