New London in New London County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)
Williams Memorial Park
Hempstead Historic Neighborhood
New London was a wealthy city in the mid-1800s, largely due to its success in whaling and other maritime ventures. Leading families displayed their wealth in opulent houses and furnishings, but many sought to bestow a more public legacy. They improved the city by donating statues, art, public building and charitable endowments.
Parks were an obvious outlet for beneficial impulses. The urban park movement was gaining strength, inspired by prophets such as landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who taught that parks could reduce the harmful effects of rapid urbanization. These ideas captured the imagination of a progressive New London mayor, Charles Augustus Williams.
Williamsís idea of creating a park in this location was a bold one, for the area was then occupied by the cityís Second Burial Ground, established 1793. Williams consulted Olmsted, who drew up plans for a park despite the inherent difficulties. Bodies in the cemetery were exhumed and moved to Cedar Grove Cemetery in 1886.
As its founders anticipated, the park had immediate beneficial results, as residents built impressive new houses or improved existing ones. In conjunction with the fashionable Second Congregational Church, William Memorial Park made the district an attractive place for wealthy New Londoners to live. Today, the area displays many
The obelisk, erected 1889, honors the 21st Connecticut Regiment of Civil War volunteers. Recruited almost entirely in eastern Connecticut, the 21st served from August 1862 through the end of the war. One of its companies was composed largely of New London residents. New London, fervent in the Union cause, was credited with 1200 Union Army recruits, in addition to a large number of sailors.
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Charles Augustus Williams
Charles Augustus Williams, a progressive mayor, was the son of T.W. Williams, largely credited with founding New Londonís whaling prosperity. Williams and the allied Haven and Chappell families were prominent in the nearby Second Congregational Church and lived in the vicinity.
Location. 41° 21.419′ N, 72° 6.095′ W. Marker is in New London, Connecticut, in New London County. Marker is at the intersection of Broad Street and Hempstead Street, on the left when traveling west on Broad Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New London CT 06320, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. 21st Regt. Conn. Vol. (here, next to this marker); Hempstead Historic District (a few steps from this marker); City of New London (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Winthrop (about 600 feet away); Jonathan Brooks Tomb † 1786 (approx. 0.2 miles away); New London War Dead (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nathan Hale (approx. 0.2 miles away); New London War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New London.
More about this marker. An old photograph of the park with the caption “Todayís Williams Memorial Park was the earlier Second Burial Ground.” appears at the right of the marker. Next to this is a picture of the 21st Connecticut Regiment Monument. A portrait of Charles Augustus Williams is part of the sidebar. A map of a walking guide of New London also appears on the left of the marker.
Categories. • Man-Made Features • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 15, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 324 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 15, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.