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Upton Monument

December 3, 2019 - 1:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in photos, batavia, Upton Monument, Old Courthouse, news, weather.

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It was a beautiful morning in Genesee County, with temperatures in the teens so trees stayed flocked even though the sun was out and the sky was blue.

Top photo, from Court Street, looking toward the Old Courthouse.

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The snow-covered eagle atop the Upton Monument taken through the window on the third floor of the Old Courthouse.

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The Rowell Mansion.

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Centennial Park (in black and white).

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Centennial Park (in black and white).

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The Barber Conable Post Office Building in Batavia.

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The flag pole outside the Old Courthouse.

September 12, 2019 - 12:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Upton Monument, batavia, video, history.
Video Sponsor

Back in May, I decided to make a documentary about the Upton Monument to coincide with its centennial. The initial deadline for finishing it was the rededication ceremony in August. Obviously, I missed that deadline, so then I tried for the end of August. Still, wasn't done.

Finally, it's done.

Thank you to Ryan Duffy, Michael Eula, Larry Barnes, Jim Neider, and Bill Kauffman for their help and interviews, and Dan Fischer for his narration, and to Billie Owens for reading the poem by Bessie Chandler.

I imagine more than 100 hours of work went into making this. I hope you like it. I thought it important to create something documenting and celebrating the history of our community's most significant landmark.  

Chances are, everybody who watches this will learn something new about either the history of the monument, the life of Emory Upton, and the context of the times in which it was built.

August 4, 2019 - 6:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Upton Monument, batavia, veterans, video.
Video Sponsor

One hundred years ago, in August 1919, the folks of Genesee County dedicated the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, better known as the Upton Monument. To commemorate the centennial of the monument, the Veterans Council and the American Legion conducted a rededication ceremony on Saturday.

July 6, 2019 - 11:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Upton Monument, batavia, news.

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I stopped by the Upton Monument earlier this evening to get a picture of the 100-year-old landmark lit by the new LED system.

May 9, 2019 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Soldiers and Sailors Monument, notify, Upton Monument, batavia, news.

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Terry Ross, from the Genesee County maintenance department, works on a new lighting system at the base of the Upton Monument.

The LED system was donated by Batavia-based Lighting Design Innovations, which two years ago donated a new color-changing light system for the Old Courthouse cupola.

The new lights are on a 14-volt system and draw only 20 watts. They are replacing four 400-watt lights.  

Ross said lights are being installed to light the plaques of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and another light, which is what he's working on in the picture, will illuminate the statue of Gen. Emory Upton. Ross said the DOT has given permission for the county to install an LED light at the top of the stoplight poll next to the monument that will illuminate the eagle at the top, but first the county must figure out how to run the power up to the light on the outside of the pole.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is 100 years old this year. It was dedicated in August 1919.

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April 26, 2019 - 11:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in downtown, Old Courthouse, Upton Monument, batavia, news.

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This is the prettiest time of year around the Old Courthouse and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Also, the daffodils in front of City Hall are blooming.

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February 6, 2019 - 6:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in weather, news, batavia, Upton Monument.

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Icy covered trees throughout the region today, including behind the Upton Monument at Main and Ellicott in Batavia.

There's a weather advisory for tonight. Expect more ice through the morning.

July 3, 2018 - 6:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Upton Monument, soldiers monument, batavia, history, news, notify.

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It's not exactly a facelift Gen. Emery Upton will get on the Soldier's Monument at the corner of Ellicott and Main streets in the City of Batavia, but when his bronze sculpture turns 100 next year, you should be able to see it better at night.

Lighting Design Innovations, a Batavia-based company, is planning to install new lighting on the monument next month thanks to $1,500 in donations the company has received for the project.

The county's Ways and Means Committee is recommending the Legislature accept the donation.

Assistant County Manager Matt Landers said company officials describe the current lighting as "flood lights" and their designers will come up with a plan to appropriately light the monument with more modern fixtures to make it more attractive when viewed at night.

LDI, which donated the rotating color lighting for the cupola of the Old Courthouse last year, is also trying to secure $6,500 in donations to pay for colored lighting on two of the pillars of the Old Courthouse.

"They are obviously very passionate about lighting," Landers said.

The offer was well received by the members of the Legislature.

"I think it’s very generous of them," said Marianne Clattenburg, who is chair of Ways and Means.

The Soldier's Monument was first conceived by local citizens in 1882 as a way to pay tribute to those from the area who died in the Civil War. A committee was formed to champion the idea but fundraising, apparently, didn't start until 1903. The first donation came from Albert Knapp.

By the end of the year, the fund reached $1,713.66.

In 1904, voters approved a $10,000 expenditure for the monument. The city agreed to pay another $15,000.

In 1907, there was a move to put Lincoln's bust atop the monument.

The next year, there was an effort to locate the monument in what is now Centennial Park (then called State Park) instead of its present -- and originally proposed -- location.

In 1911, the Genesee County Soldier's Monument Association was formed.

In 1917, the Board of Supervisors viewed a wooden model of the proposed monument and appropriated $10,000 for the project.

The city, at that point, was willing to chip in $5,000.

The granite structure was constructed in Barre, Vt., in 1918. C.A. Worden, a New Yorker, was the designer.

The base was placed in August 1918.

By October 1918, crews were ready to affix the eagle at the top, with a 3-foot, 10-inch tail, and an eight-foot wingspan. The bronze figure of Gen. Emory Upton was paid for by his sister, Sarah Edwards. Another sister, Sara Upton Evans, also made a contribution.

Supervisors accepted monument in January 1919.

As of February 1919, the City had not yet paid for its share of the monument. The county threatened to sue the city and after the county paid the $5,000 due from its contingency fund, the City Council approved paying its $5,000 share In April 1919.

The monument was dedicated Aug. 6, 1919. 

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens.

November 11, 2015 - 1:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in veterans, Upton Monument, batavia.

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Veterans were a baffled by this setup when they arrived at the Upton Monument this morning. They aren't sure if this was meant as some sort of message or it's just somebody's litter. The boxes were all empty.

Submitted photo.

March 5, 2014 - 3:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument.

This protest sign appeared for a time today in front of the Upton Monument at Main and Ellicott streets.

It's gone now.

The City Manager's office has the sign. If the person who placed it at the intersection wants it back and can prove ownership, it will be returned, County Manager Jay Gsell said.

"There's so many things that are not appropriate about that sign," Gsell said.

Such as: It was placed without permission; permission would need to be granted by the city, state and county; the veterans consider the location hallowed ground; nobody knows who placed the sign.

(The person in the picture is just a pedestrian who happened to be in the area at the time the picture was taken.)

March 26, 2012 - 3:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Upton Monument.

Temperatures could drop as low as 25 degrees tonight and that is going to be bad news for flowering trees, budding plants and other shrubs with newly sprung sensitive leaves.

"Twenty eight degrees is the critical temperature," said Jan Beglinger, agriculture outreach educator and master gardener coordinator for the Genesee County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

If it drops below 28 degrees -- especially if there is no breeze and cloud cover -- a lot of plants could be damaged.

Beglinger recommends covering plants with blankets, burlap or newspaper (but not plastic, which doesn't provide any insulation), where and when possible.

Blooms and budding for plants have come unseasonable early, but Western New York is not officially out of winter yet.

"I knew when we had beautiful weather for 10 straight days, we were going to pay for it," Beglinger said.

Photos of the cherry blossom of the trees between the Upton Monument and the Old Courthouse. I figured today might be my last day this year to get any shots of the blossoms.

June 17, 2011 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Upton Monument.

Trevor Wanberg, of Rochester, was in the little park behind the Upton Monument this afternoon waiting for a friend to get off work so they could jam. Wanberg said he and his friend are looking to get a band together, but don't get many chances to practice together. Wanberg is generally only able to make the trip to Batavia on his days off, when his girlfriend, who has a job in Batavia, is able to give him a ride. While I snapped a few pictures, he picked out a crisp version of Neil Young's "Needle and the Damage Done."

May 2, 2011 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument.

As Victor Thomas, 26, and three of his buddies watched the news of Osama bin Laden's death last night and saw the celebrations in Washington, D.C., and New York, they wanted to be part of something in Batavia.

So they jumped in a car and drove downtown.

"The City of Batavia was dead," Thomas said. "Not one person was out. Nobody was honking horns or celebrating."

So, Thomas, along with his cousin Christopher Thomas, 26, Ordy Edwards, 26, and Jason Armison, 24, decided to drive to the only place open to buy sign materials -- Walmart -- and get a board and some paint and fix up a sign.

They made a red, white and blue sign and painted on it, "Osama Got Obama'd."

He said they then mused for about 20 minutes on where to place the sign. They thought about putting it in front of the courthouse to represent justice, but then they did a little research on Emery Upson and discovered one of his specialities as a general was tactics in invading enemy territory. That made the Upson Monument, they thought, the perfect place to commemorate Osama's sudden demise in a protected compound in Pakistan.

Now they're a little upset that county workers took the sign down -- Christopher Thomas happened to be driving by at the time and retrieved the sign -- and are planning a rally at 4 p.m. in front of the Post Office.

Victor said anybody wanting to show support for freedom of speech or the United States should attend.

Thomas has seen the comments on The Batavian and is surprised that some have taken the sign as a partisan political statement.

"There was no thought about politics," Thomas said. "They both have O's, Osama and Obama. We didn't take it in a political way. He's our president and every soldier fighting is marching to his orders. They (some readers) took it as political and we just were trying to be traditional or patriotic."

He said he was worried the sign would be taken down, but was hoping it would stay up today so people could drive by and honk their horns, "just to give some kind of recognition to what happened on 9/11 and what our troops are doing."

Photo courtesy WBTA.

May 2, 2011 - 10:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument.

Some time over night somebody placed a red, white and blue handmade sign in front of the Upton Monument that read "Osama Got Obama'd."

By 9 a.m., the sign was gone.

County Manager Jay Gsell told Dan Fischer at WBTA that county workers removed the sign because the Upton Monument was not the appropriate location to place it.

Photo courtesy WBTA.

April 27, 2011 - 10:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Upton Monument.

Yesterday, there were no obvious blossoms on the trees behind the Upton Monument at Ellicott and Main streets. This morning, an explosion of pink.

Surely, spring is here, finally?

The seven-day forecast calls for more rain this week, but supposedly, Saturday will be clear, which is good news for those of us who have gardening to do.

April 15, 2011 - 9:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument.

The eagle atop the Upton Monument at Main and Ellicott in yesterday's late afternoon sun.

August 4, 2010 - 11:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Upton Monument.

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From inside the County Legislature's chambers.

July 16, 2010 - 12:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Ellicott Street, main street, Upton Monument.

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Arriving back in Batavia from Geneseo at dusk, I remembered that one of the pictures I've been thinking about trying to get, is the front of Batavia Police Station at night because of the funky green lights on the front of the building. That led to a general playing around with night photography at the intersection of Main and Ellicott streets. These are the four photos from that session.

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June 7, 2010 - 4:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument.

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No flags, no wreath, no flowers -- Helen Batchelor looked at the Gen. Emory Upton Monument a couple of summers ago and thought Batavia's most noteworthy war hero, and all the veterans and war dead he represents, deserved something better.

On her own -- Batchelor is not associated with a local veterans group, but is on the board of the Holland Land Office Museum -- Batchelor decided to do something about Upton's "nakedness," as she put it.

She planted spring bulbs this year and through Legislator Hollis Upson managed to get a $20 donation each from each of the county legislators for new flags. That only left the issue of the wreath.

One evening Batchelor ran into local funeral director and veteran Ron Konieczny at Alex's Place and he asked her what she had been up to recently, and she told him about her Upton Monument project.

"What can I do to help?" she remembers him asking. "We need a wreath," she said. "He said, 'I'll take care of it,' and he did. He called Kathy at The Enchanted Florist and we have a wreath."

The wreath is now officially in place and will stay affixed to the monument until Christmas, when a holiday wreath will replace it, and for every year for the rest of his life, Konienczny said, there will be an annual wreath and a Christmas wreath placed on the monument -- all at his own expense.

"The wreath is a symbol," Konienczny said. "It has no beginning. It has no end. And this is how we remember the deaths (of our military service personnel)."

Pictured, from left, are Upson, Konienczny, Nancy Konienczny and Batchelor.

May 28, 2010 - 1:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Upton Monument.

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Terry Ross affixes brand new flags to the Upton Monument in preparation for Memorial Day.

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