I had a brief Miss Emily Litella moment this week when I saw the final plans for the Stearns Square renovation; stories were released on two media outlets with somewhat blurry pictures of the design and I was unable to read much of what I saw and, it turns out, I was also unable to see a very significant part of the plan.
A not nearly as contentious as I’d like to be proposal was floated to return the original Augustus Saint Gaudens’ Puritan to its original location on the square. As far as I can tell no one except me was in favor of doing that. What I didn’t see in the final plans was an awareness that, in the absence of the Puritan, another vertical statue of some sort should stand opposite the turtle fountain.
The Springfield BID released a higher resolution version of the plans which showed clearly that the former location of the Puritan was to be dedicated to a “new sculpture”: Never-mind!
Given the somewhat xenophobic use of some of the reproductions of the work of Saint Gaudens by some it would be clever to sit in its original place a statue of John Brown (one local historian thinks it already is) and Frederick Douglass only a few blocks from the place where they met for the very first time; memorializing not only this significant event in the history of the United States, but also showing Springfield’s resolve to be a model of courage in the face of bigotry.