“The Volunteer” stands proudly at Marlborough’s Spanish-American War Memorial


“The Volunteer” stands proudly at Marlborough’s Spanish-American War Memorial
The footwear of the bronze infantryman in “The Volunteer” memorial were most likely based on boots made in the local factories of the world-famous Frye Boot Company.
(Photo/Susan Alatalo)

MARLBOROUGH – “The Volunteer” is the Spanish-American War Memorial standing by the Marlborough Public Library, a decoratively-shingled First Baptist Church and, most recently, the stark POW/MIA Chair of Honor. Atop a granite base along Main Street is an eight-foot infantryman stepping forward, raising his rifle. The young soldier appears to be protecting the institutions behind him, as his boot is placed over the edge of the pedestal. 

An infantryman is trained, armed and equipped to fight on the ground, so combat footwear must be strong and durable. 

“The Volunteer” is probably wearing the world-famous Frye boots, which were manufactured in the City of Marlborough where the still-successful brand began. During times of war many local factory workers designed, tanned, cut, formed, assembled, stitched, nailed, dyed, laced, boxed and loaded countless boots onto trains at one of Marlborough’s four railroad stations. 

Like the Queen Anne style of architecture of the church behind it, the statue’s form is asymmetrical. The sculptor, Co Crawford, has posed the figure to impart more movement to it. 

With sleeves rolled up, the arms and torso of the statue visually drip with patina, the green film which forms on bronze from oxidation. Other than subtle gradations, the sculpture is monochromatic, helping to remove the individualism of the soldier represented.

The statue stands for all the soldiers listed on the bronze plaques on the sides of the base, including men in China, as well as in the original roster of Company F, 6th Massachusetts Infantry United States Volunteers who served in the Cuban, Filipino and Puerto Rican campaigns. Engraved is the anglicized spelling of ‘Porto,’ used before the original Spanish was reinstated. 

When reading the familiar names, it is evident that these are neighbors, relatives, civil servants, friends and early inhabitants. Marlborough’s schools, streets, parks, public buildings and organizations often bear names of local veterans who served the country.

Engraved upon the front plaque are the names of twelve Marlborough men who died in the Spanish-American War. The 1898–1902 conflict between the United States and Spain also resulted in the U.S. acquisition of territories in the western Pacific and Latin America and thereby, the end of Spanish colonial rule in the Americas. 

Through the Marlborough Historical Commission, the City dedicated the memorial in October of 1924 “to her sons who freely served in humanity’s cause.” Marlborough’s hometown heroes are additionally honored through banners hung along streets near the City’s center; their images, names and assignments are displayed.

The Civil War monument and “The Doughboy” of World War I are two more war memorials located close to the Spanish-American War Memorial, all fittingly situated along the parade routes for Veterans Day and Memorial Day commemorations.

No posts to display