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Memorial Parkway Monuments

Thomas R. Proctor Memorial

South of the Parkway, on the northern fringe of Roscoe Conkling Park, is the Thomas Redfield Proctor monument which was erected in 1921. The sculptor of this monument is George Thomas Brewster, and the pose of the bronze figure of Proctor rivals in its assured dignity that of Brewster's Vice President Sherman, done two years later. Inscribed on the pedestal are the words: "This Memorial is erected by the people of Utica to perpetuate the memory of Thomas Redfield who gave to the city he loved its magnificent system of parks".

Thomas Proctor 1844 to 1920 arrived in Utica in 1869 to become proprietor and later owner of bags Hotel. He was also the president of the Second National Bank, trustee of the New York Roads Improvement Association, a Donator of the House of the Good Shepherd (An orphanage at Genesee and Burrstone Road), and President of the Oneida County Historical Society.

The inscription on the pedestal calls attention to his extraordinary role in the development of Utica's park system. In 1899 he opened for public use, 60 acres of the Bagg's Hotel farm East of Culver Avenue. He quietly bought up land on the outskirts of the city and on June 23rd, 1907, encouraging the Chamber of Commerce to engage the services of Frederick Law Olmsted Jr, turned this newly acquired land over to the city for use as parks. The 60-acre Bagg's Hotel Farm became T.R. Proctor Park, 385 acres south of the Parkway became Roscoe Conkling Park, and two plots of 17 Acres each became Horatio Seymour Park at Sunset Avenue and Burrstone Road and Addison Miller Park, York Street and Burrstone Road. The legal transfer of ownership continued until 1923 when Thomas Proctor's widow Maria deeded F.T.Proctor Park to the city.

The original location of the Thomas Proctor Monument was in Roscoe Conkling Park a few hundred yards to the East and higher up Steel Hill, where Proctor seemed to be surveying the extensive park system for which he was largely responsible. In 1997 the bronze statue was moved to its present location. Fragments of its granite base were reassembled with poured concrete 'planters', replacing the original granite benches. Hence the monument is no longer the object of quiet meditation, rather something to be glimpsed from a passing automobile at 40 miles an hour.

Return to a complete listing of all Central New York Conservancy Memorials.