LT. GOVERNOR BYSIEWICZ, VERNON ELECTED OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE GRANT-IN-AID FOR FOX HILL MEMORIAL TOWER
(VERNON, CT) – Today, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Vernon elected officials announced a $2.5 million grant-in-aid to the Town of Vernon for the rehabilitation and restoration of the historic Fox Hill Memorial Tower.
One of north central Connecticut's most noticeable landmarks and the highest man-made point in Vernon, the Fox Hill Tower looks over downtown Rockville and surrounding towns. It stands in Henry Park and is a memorial to all Vernon and Rockville veterans.
When open, visitors can take stairs to the top and take in a full 360-degree view of the town. But before Fox Hill tower ever stood, another tower stood in its place. An earlier tower made of wood stood from 1878 until it was destroyed in a blizzard in 1880. Visitors were charged 15¢ to climb the tower and use the telescope at the top.
“Filled with deep historical roots, this area has always been a spot to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the surrounding nature,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “This tower still stands as a symbol of both our collective Connecticut history and all of the sacrifices our state’s veterans have made on our behalf. It’s incredibly important that we preserve this historic landmark, and these funds will ensure that Fox Hill tower will be standing tall for decades to come.”
Decades later, the 72-foot-tall tower was constructed in 1937 and completed in 1939, as a collaborative Works Progress Administration project, one of the agencies born out of the American New Deal, spearheaded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The WPA focused on hiring workers during the Great Depression and investing in projects to benefit local cities.
Bronze tablets bearing the names and inscriptions of three branches of the United States military - Army, Navy and Marine Corps - are fixed to the walls. The memorial site originally included a WWI tank, which was later removed and melted down to aid in the war efforts during WWII. On August 5th, 1939, the tower was dedicated to the veterans of all wars from the Town of Vernon and Rockville.
“I want to say thank you to the Governor and Lt. Governor. This package was already put together and we were looking for funding to rehabilitate the tower,” said State Senator and Vernon Mayor Dan Champagne. “There is a lot of work to be done here. The whole promenade has to be taken up and reset. The cap on the outside needs to be redone as well as the walls themselves. The roof has to be repointed, stairs need to be done and the entire interior needs to be painted as well. This project will be right around $4 million, so we are so happy that the state came through with $2.5 million to help us out with this project.”
“Having the opportunity to view the interior and take in all of the views, this is a beautiful memorial that has been dedicated to our state’s veterans,” said State Representative Tim Ackert. “What a signature this tower is for the Town of Vernon. I thank the Governor and Lt. Governor for their support and vision on helping move this project forward. And a thank you to Mayor Champagne. You put in the work, and we helped sign on.”
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Contact: Chelsea Neelon