Area behind car will become final resting place for six Civil War tablets
The ground in front of Amherst Town Hall will go from simply historic to hallowed as a Request For Proposals has been issued to display the six "Sacred Dead" Civil War tablets commemorating all 300 or so Amherst men who served in that decimating conflict.
The Grand Army of the Republic donated the tablets to Amherst in 1893.
List of 57 Amherst men who died to preserve the Union
For many years they were displayed in Town Hall but then in the early 1960s during a renovation project they were placed in storage and forgotten until just before 9/11.
As with so many things in life it took the efforts of one concernced citizen, Dudley Bridges, a proud, black, WW2 veteran, to spark a movement to restore the tablets to a place of honor. Unfortunatley Mr. Bridges died in 2004 at age 80 and is now buried in historic West Cemetary.
According to Planning Director Jonathan Tucker:
"The RFP asks the Consultant chosen to work with the Town to: 1) create designs for the site, the display enclosures, signs and interpretive materials, and lighting, 2) take the designs to bid specifications, 3) develop a method for safely transporting and installing the tablets, and 4) develop cost estimates for the whole shebang."
Town Manager John Musante had envisioned them being installed in the Town Room, our seat of government, where the Select Board and other important committees meet. But the tablets are too heavy for the floor and would require expensive reinforement.
The location outside the building gives the tablets much greater visibility at all hours of day, 365 days a year. Even more fitting, that ground was once the location of a WW2 "Roll Of Honor" structure erected during that tumultious time in our history.
Roll of Honor outside Amherst Town Hall 1942 Lincoln Barnes photo
I'm sure Dudley James Bridges would approve. Hoo-Ah!
A patriotic Town Hall, September 1942