Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Amherst Civil War plaques await public display at Town Hall

In the midst of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, memorials to those from Amherst who served, including 21 black soldiers, are expected to be installed in Town Hall by the end of the year.

Town Manager John Musante said that plans to put the marble memorials in the Town Room are moving forward.

The plaques, which feature the names of 300 soldiers, including black soldiers from the famous 54th regiment, had been on display in landings in Town Hall, but were removed during renovations in the 1990s.

Using what is left of $40,000 that was allocated to restore the bright white surface and dark lettering on the yellowing tablets, facilities supervisor Ronald Bohonowicz is seeking a contractor to bring the tablets from Ruxton gravel pit back to Town Hall.

They will be positioned against the south wall of the Town Room in Town Hall, but mounted so that they are free standing, Musante said.

The six marble tablets each measure 56 inches by 75 inches and weigh about 800 pounds apiece. They were commissioned in 1893 by the local Grand Army of the Republic post.

The town will also try to get up to $5,000 from the state sesquicentennial commission to enhance the display with signs directing visitors to the tablets and providing information about them and the Civil War.

“It would become a nice history lesson,” Musante said.

— SCOTT MERZBACH

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