Bennington Battle Monument marks 125th year

By:  Patrick McArdle

BENNINGTON — As it celebrates its 125th anniversary, the Bennington Battle Monument remains the “massive and lofty” tribute its principal founder hoped it would be to the Vermonters who contributed so strongly to American independence. 

The monument, an obelisk 306 feet, 4.5 inches tall and made of limestone, was opened to the public in 1891. It was built to commemorate the Battle of Bennington, fought on Aug. 16, 1777, which actually took place in nearby Walloomsac, New York. A group of colonial forces, including members of the Green Mountain Boys, prevented British soldiers from taking supplies kept at the spot where the monument now stands.

The American fighters, from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, were led by Gen. John Stark and joined by Vermonters led by Col. Seth Warner. The defeat of the British soldiers, led by Gen. John Burgoyne, led to Burgoyne’s surrender in Saratoga, which was considered a major turning point in the Revolutionary War.

The monument has been tied to Vermont’s history since its earliest days. Its opening to the public was timed to coincide with the centennial of Vermont being granted statehood in 1791. 

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