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Where’s Stiles?

By David Wright
Town Historian

Where’s Stiles?

We generally think of Stratford’s memorial monuments as all residing on Academy Hill. However, three very important memorial monuments are located on the West Broad green: the “Peace” monument from World War I, the Goody Bassett Memorial Monument, and the Stiles Judson Monument.

Stiles Judson Monument 1916

The Stiles Judson Monument was placed at the base of West Broad, directly across from St. James Church, in 1916. However, when the World War I Peace monument was placed on West Broad in 1921, the Stiles Judson Monument was moved to its current location across from the Perry House. 

The monument was paid for by Mrs. Minnie Judson, Stiles’ wife, with money Stiles left prior to his death for just such a monument. The monument, and its placement, cost $5,000 in 1916, which is equivalent to about $158,000 today. Stiles was a lover of his fellow man, and animals, so the fountain was designed with water basins for dogs and horses as well as a water fountain for people.

It’s an appropriate memorial to a man who had an impact on Stratford’s town life in many, many ways.  Stiles fought at the State legislative level for cleaning and preserving the Housatonic River. He was an early, and constant, force in procuring the vote for women. He fought against the monopolies of business in his day. He was an organizer, and a leader, of the town’s 275th anniversary in 1889.

The inscription on the monument reads: 

STILES JUDSON LEFT TO HIS NATIVE TOWN.

On the reverse side of the shaft and carved in the granite is the following:

STRATFORD HONORS ITSELF BY ACCEPTING THIS MEMORIAL FROM

STILES JUDSON.  A GIFTED SON.  A PUBLIC OFFICIAL TRUE TO EVERY

TRUST.  AN ABLE LAWYER AND A LOYAL CITIZEN.

The monument itself is a work of art created by the world-renowned sculptor, Bela Lyon Pratt. The monument was disassembled and repaired in July of 2009. However, it sits today in a state of disrepair and confusion. The entire top half of the sculpture is missing, begging the question, “Where is Stiles?” We sincerely hope the monument is being repaired and will proudly stand, once more, on the West Broad Green.

Should you wish to learn more about the monument, or the man for whom the monument was constructed, you may read more at https://bit.ly/3wVcimq.

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