A Civil War anniversary


01852vTomorrow (Sunday) is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, Tennesee, which has been described as “second only to Gettysburg in importance during the entire war.” The U.S. Civil War.

It’s an important anniversary for my family and me because that was the battle that shaped the rest of my great-great-grandfather’s life.

Adolph Redick didn’t die in that battle, but in a related battle of another sort, the story of which was pieced together by the joint efforts of my sister the genealogist and me about three years ago. I posted a version of this story on my old blog in 2011.

Adolph Redick was born in Posen (then in Prussia) in 1827. A stonemason (this is related to the usual theme of this blog!), he emigrated with his wife Christina to Chicago sometime around 1860.d3f45-lookout2bcopy

In 1864, Adolph’s friend John Stubenbeck encouraged him to enlist in the 51st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company K. (That’s a picture of some of the men of the 51st Illinois, Company K, at Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the right. I checked with an archivist at the United States Army Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, which holds the photo, but was told that none of the men is identified in the picture. So I just imagine that GGGrandfather Adolph is among them.)

During the Battle of Franklin he was clocked in the head with the barrel of a Confederate rifle:

“While making a charge on the enemy we were attacked by some infantry hidden behind a rail fence. Redieck (sic) received a blow on his head with the barrel end of a gun which stunned him and he dropped. I, being a neighbor of his at home and had induced him to enlist, I assisted him as much as I could and looked for him to be placed in an ambulance. A week or so later he performed his duty again,” Stubenbeck said in support of Adolph’s disability application (“Proof of Incurrence of Disability”) more than 20 years later.

According to the “Declaration for Original Invalid Pension” completed in 1885, Adolph also contracted malaria while on duty in New Orleans in 1865, resulting in “dropsy and general debility.” He was treated at regimental headquarters up to the time of his discharge, and “ever since then.”

17a8b-frontback(Adolph entered the 51st Illinois as a private, and mustered out as a corporal at the end of the war in 1865. Above is a photo of a replica of his dogtag.)

Once home, Christina reported that he grew increasingly “irascible,” according to my conversation with a cousin, Adolph’s great-granddaughter. Christina ultimately had him committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum at Dunning in 1886, where he died of a hemorrhage three years later.

In his statement, Stubenbeck also said, “I believe the blow (from the Confederate rifle) was what made him insane and caused his death.”

A “Claimant’s Affidavit,” completed (with assistance) by Christina on 15 November 1898, tells the story of his commitment to Dunning: “My husband was sick on bed until the last eight months of his life. He was complaining ever since he returned home from the war of sickness, mostly about his severe headache. His only brother who died two years ago living in close neighborhood took him often to doctors, dispensaries, etc. The only doctor I had to go along was the County Physician Dr. Bluthardt who send him to the Insane Asylum in 1886. He died in 1889 there. It was my brother in law who attended to my pension claim in 1890. I cannot speak English whatsoever so I left everything to him.”

According to Dunning records, he was buried in the asylum’s cemetery.

Dunning, like many similar institutions of the time, was a scary and shameful place to be associated with. In his book Challenging Chicago. Coping with Everyday Life, 1837-1920, Perry Duis (a history professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago), wrote:

“For many generations of Chicago children, bad behavior came to a halt with a stern warning: ‘Be careful, or you’re going to Dunning.’ The prospect sent shivers down the spines of youngsters, who regarded it as the most dread place imaginable… Dunning … evoked images of gloomy institution walls, the cries of the insane, and the hopeless poor peering from its window.”

Adolph’s reward for winding up in Dunning? His son changed the family name from Redick to Richard.

But there was another indignity to come. Dunning officially closed on 30 June 1912, and reopened the next day as Chicago State Hospital. It later became the Chicago-Read Mental Health Center. The asylum’s graveyard was forgotten until excavation for a commercial-residential project on the site was begun in the late 1980s. The crews working on the site found skeletal remains and a mummified corpse, and a “cemetery genealogist” (according to a Chicago Tribune story) estimated the cemetery that stood there contained 38,000 bodies. It was determined that it had been the public burial ground for the indigent and mentally ill from nearby poorhouse-insane asylum complex. Owing largely to the efforts of Rev. William Brauer, the remains were transferred to five acres of state-owned property nearby and made into “Read-Dunning Memorial Park.” It features eight markers indicating the groups who are buried there, including “insane asylum,” “orphaned/abandoned children,” and unclaimed corpses from the Great Chicago Fire.

2aaa7-dunning2baerial2bcropJurisdiction of the park – and hence, responsibility for maintaining it – has been in dispute, but the cause of preserving it has been taken up by a local group. In addition, Barry Fleig, cemetery chairman of the Chicago Genealogical Society before he retired to Phoenix, has compiled a searchable database of 8,000 of the souls buried there.~TM

All material copyright © Terry Murray 2014-2022 unless indicated otherwise

Terry Murray

d3f45-lookout2bcopyToday is Remembrance Day (or Veterans Day for you American readers), which was begun after the First World War. So, in a departure from gargoyles and architecture, I’d like to write today about my great-great-grandfather Adolph Redick, who fought on the Union side in the U.S. Civil War.

He didn’t die in a Civil War battle, but a battle of another sort, the story of which has been pieced together by the joint efforts of my sister the genealogist and me.

Adolph Redick was born in Posen (then in Prussia) in 1827. A stonemason (I guess this is related to the usual theme of this blog!), he emigrated with his wife Christina to Chicago sometime around 1860.

In 1864, Adolph’s friend John Stubenbeck encouraged him to enlist in the 51st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company K. (That’s a picture of some of the men of the 51st Illinois, Company K, at…

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The sainted gargoyles of London, Ontario


Roman Catholic churches in North America tend not to have gargoyles, in my experience. An exception to that is St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica in London, Ont.

Its architect was the Irish-born Joseph Connolly who moved to Toronto after training in Dublin. Although he also designed secular buildings, he is principally known for his Gothic Revival churches. In fact, he was designed or remodelled upwards of 25 Roman Catholic churches and chapels in that style in Ontario alone.

London’s Bishop John Walsh, another Irish expat, chose Connolly as the cathedral’s architect. Work on the project began in 1880 and it was dedicated in 1885.


The cathedral has three arched doorways which are presided over by a slew of gargoyles (well, not strictly gargoyles seeing as they have no spouts).


Sometime later, two bishops were memorialized in stone on either side of the main door. On the right side of the door is Bishop Walsh, and on the left, Bishop John Cody, under whom the cathedral was completed (including two towers which were added in the 1950s) and became a Minor Basilica.

Bishop John Walsh

Bishop Walsh

Bishop John Cody

Bishop John Cody

Gargoyles in the news


Woman killed by falling gargoyle

A 34-year-old woman was killed when she was struck by a piece of a stone gargoyle that fell from a Chicago church in early September. Sarah Bean, 34, was a mother of two and a medical technician at a local hospital. Lance Johnson, her fiance, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking more than $100,000 in damages, according to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times. He and Bean were going to lunch when she was hit.

An annual inspection of the Second Presbyterian Church, at 19th Street and Michigan Avenue, was planned for later this year, the Sun-Times story said. City inspectors visited the church most recently in October 2013 for a “minor inspection,” but a 2011 city-ordered structural engineering report noted problems but no “imminently hazardous conditions” at the church which is more than 100 years old. The church subsequently passed inspections in early 2012 and 2013.


Philly gargoyles make annual appearance

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Earlier this month, two 300-lb. gargoyles were raised to the top of the facade of the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. The gargoyles – Frank and Carson – are brought out to help … celebrate? … “Terror Behind the Walls,” called the largest haunted house in the U.S., which is running this year from 19 Sept. through 8 Nov. The event has been held since 1991.

Frank and Carson were designed and built specifically for Eastern State Penitentiary by Creative Visions in St. Louis.

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Credit: Krystle Marcellus/Eastern State Penitentiary

Proceeds from admissions go to the operation and preservation of the 19th-century prison, which is National Historic Landmark, according to its website.

Eastern State Penitentiary at night • Credit: Sean Kelley/Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary at night • Credit: Sean Kelley/Eastern State Penitentiary


Syracuse residents urged to look up

David Lassman, a writer-photographer at syracuse.com, the website of The Post-Standard newspaper, recently urged people to look up and take notice of the “interesting stone images” on the New York city’s many 19th- and early 20th-century buildings. He posted nearly 30 photos of gargoyles (“a weird feature not seen in today’s architecture”), “classical statues” and other faces watching over the them.

More Western faces


My previous two posts (here and here) dealt with sculptures on the Physics and Astronomy Building at Western University (UWO) in London, Ont. To wind up my coverage of that wonderful building, I thought I’d just post a few of my favourite faces.

uwo-tecumsehThe first is Tecumseh, the Shawnee Indian who was an ally of the British during the War of 1812. Notably, he joined British Major-General Sir Isaac Brock in the Siege of Detroit, forcing the city’s surrender in August 1812.

uwo-toothThen there’s this fellow, identified by Don Moorcroftemeritus professor of physics at UWO, who photographed and identified most of the figures on the building, as “boy with toothache,” who he said was modelled after a magazine advertisement for toothpaste. But I think he’s actually the same boy as the one in the ads for Dent’s Toothache Gum. Note the tears in the ad below and the sculpture above.

dentsgumFinally, Prof. Moorcroft didn’t identify this cowled fellow, but I’m partial to him:


In my next post, I’ll wrap up my very brief trip to London, Ont., with the faces on St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica.



Over the moon


uwo-moonIn addition to failing to mark either of the anniversaries of the start of the First World War, I missed the 45th anniversary of the moon landing.

So, better late than never, I am noting it here with a picture of a sculpture of the moon on the Physics and Astronomy building at Western University (UWO) in London, Ont.

It’s one of 23 small sculptures surrounding the east entrance of the building. It — along with Old Bill (see previous post) and the other faces there — was identified by Don Moorcroftemeritus professor of physics at UWO, who photographed and identified most of the figures on that building.

The moon has a companion sun at the west entrance. Prof. Moorcroft explains its presence there by citing a 1924 London Free Press story which reported the stone mason Dan Cree “was surprised one morning by a workman as he was carving the face of a summer sun. ‘What on earth are you putting the face of the sun there for?’ he was asked. ‘Oh, it’s a bit dull this morning,’ was the reply, ‘and I thought I might coax the sun out to see his picture.’ ”



I’m particularly fond of the exquisite sculptures of a Canadian maple leaf and a bunch of grapes:



Old Bill: A WWI remembrance in stone


Observation of the centenary of the First World War (WWI) is underway, beginning for some in June, marking the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and for others in July, marking the anniversary of the start of hostilities.

Old Bill at UWO

Old Bill at UWO

Here, I’m starting now, with this sculpture of the British WWI cartoon figure “Old Bill.” He appears on the Physics and Astronomy Building at Western University (UWO — because it used to be called the University of Western Ontario) in London, Ontario.

“Old Bill,” described as “the blob-nosed walrus-moustached old soldier” who appeared in cartoons from the front by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather (1887-1959) from 1915.

With the outbreak of war, Bairnsfather was deployed with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and went to the Western Front to help relieve the manpower shortage experienced by the British in Flanders. He was sent home to Britain in 1915, suffering from the effects of a chlorine gas attack, a shell explosion and shell shock.

He had been cartooning while at the front, and in 1916, he was transferred to the Intelligence Department of the War Office, and officially appointed “Officer Cartoonist,” and toured the French, Italian and American armies in that capacity.


It’s not clear why he appeared on the UWO building, but the building’s construction history contains a clue. According to an article in a March 2010 issue of Western News, the first buildings on campus were University College and the Natural Science building (which is now the Physics and Astronomy building).

John Putherbough, builder of the Natural Science building (which was completed in 1924), was in a friendly competition with the building of University College to see who could do the best job, the article quotes Alan Noon, a freelance researcher with the university’s public affairs department. Putherbough hired stone mason Dan Cree of Hamilton, Ont., who asked if he could put some “interesting designs” on the building “to give it some colour and movement,” Noon said.

“From that enthusiasm came more than 30 one-of-a-kind sculptures, which Cree carved on the spot,” the article said, with Noon adding, “That’s what makes them so special, there were no moulds whatsoever.”

uwo-owlThe building also sports an Old Bill-like owl. (An Old Bill sculpture also appears on Yeo Hall at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont.)

Free the Greek Gods!


This story has been in the Toronto news since May, but it’s reappeared because now there’s a Facebook page and a petition.

Among the works of the late Toronto sculptor E.B. Cox are 20 (or 21 — reports vary) pieces representing Greek gods and goddesses. They have a long history, but the salient point is that they were donated to the City of Toronto in 1978 and placed on the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in what became known as The Garden of the Greek Gods.

The gods and goddesses are now fenced in by Muzik, a nightclub that leases land on the CNE grounds, which has been expanding its patio. So the figures, which Cox reportedly wanted children to be able to play on, are now restricted to the eyeballs of the beautiful people aged 19 and older who frequent the club.

Long Branch branch of the Toronto Public Library - sculpture attributed to E.B. Cox

Long Branch branch of the Toronto Public Library – sculpture attributed to E.B. Cox

Aside from losing these beautiful public sculptures to a private establishment, it’s troubling to imagine them as impromptu perches for Smirnoff Ice and Bud Light Lime,” said Ed Conroy in a blogto.com post in mid-May.

Toronto Star story at that time noted that work on the patio has been underway since 2008. Star report Zoe McKnight got appropriately horrified comments from Cox’s family and the owner of the gallery that represents his remaining work, but when she tried to find what is going to be done about, she was sent in circles: “Ward 19 councillor Mike Layton declined to comment, deferring to Exhibition Place, which deferred to Muzik’s management for information about the licence. Club owner Zlatko Starkovski did not respond. A spokesperson deferred to the landlord, Exhibition Place, which is a city agency.”

It’s not clear that the city or the CNE or Muzik have done anything about restoring the sculptures to a public venue. But Cox’s daughter and godson have launched a petition that states, “The use of these artworks as patio decorations in a private nightclub is both disrespectful to the artist and his family as well as degrading to the art and to Canadian heritage in general,” and adds, with a tone dangerously bordering on resignation, “The art is the property of the City of Toronto, and if there is enough public outcry on this issue, city officials may decide to have the art removed from Muzik’s patio and moved to a more suitable location.” (emphasis mine)

There is also a “Free the Greek Gods” Facebook page, featuring a picture of an imprisoned Cyclops.

I haven’t shot the Greek gods (they’re not attached to a building), but there are plenty of pictures in the links provided here. However, I’m posting my pictures of some of Cox’s work on buildings, including the figure on the Etobicoke branch of the Toronto Public Library (above) and his Reading-Writing-‘Rithmetic on the Duke of Connaught Public School in the East End.









Technical difficulties … please stand by


Harumph!For technical reasons too tedious to go into here, when I moved a previous blog to this site, the photos were left behind.

Horrors! and a bloody nuisance.

So bear with me – I am slowly restoring the photos to the earlier posts.

In the meantime, if what you’re looking for isn’t here, you can look at the earlier blog, which I haven’t deleted: terrymurray.blogspot.com.

Gargoyles in the news


trib1ATLANTA: Houses in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward on Kennesaw Avenue are lodged between desireable neighbourhoods that warrant asking prices of $500,000 – and high-crime areas that mean thosehouses remain on the market for months. One such house was highlighted here because of the two gargoyle statues on its front porch. “Crime be damned!” said the article.

BARRE, VERMONT: A new bicycle rack features two gargoyle sculptures at either end of a serpentine metal bar on the town’s Main Street. They were created by local sculptor Chris Miller as part of the Stone Sculpture Legacy Program, which was paid for by the Charles Semprebon Fund. Sempron, a Barre native, left $2 million to the city when he died in 2009, earmarking about half of the money to complete a bike path between Barre City and Barre Town and some of the bequest to promote public art. Semprebon was a cycling enthusiast and Barre is a stone capital, with a history of granite-working. Two other sculpted bike racks have been commissioned: One is a jack-in-the-box on a spring-style bike rack, and the the other is a big-wheeled tricycle that appears to jump from one side of a bike rack to the other. All three are carved from Barre granite.

NOT STRICTLY GARGOYLES: Canadian word-watcher (actually, “word spy”) Paul McFedries flagged “parasite building” as a new phrase that has entered the lexicon. He defines it as “a small building or structure that has been added to an existing, larger building, particularly when the styles of the two structures are noticeably different.” Maybe like the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto?





Orange ya glad?


kingbilly3.webMaybe it’s because “the Eastern world, it is exploding,”and blowing lesser conflicts out of the news, but I don’t remember hearing anything about Orange parades this year.

No news of a parade in Toronto or in Northern Ireland, where “marching season” usually culminates with a walk parade demonstration riot by members of the Orange Order on 12 July to mark William of Orange‘s victory over King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

I’m not complaining, mind you. Now that the 12th is safely over and I can’t be accused of being Orange myself (which I’m not!), however, and to nod at least to the historical event, I can post a picture of  a sculpture of King Billy on a building here in Toronto.


It appears on a building in Little Italy that now houses a Starbucks, the Kalendar Cafe and the Movie House Lofts, but began life as the Orange Order Lodge. Built in 1911 by architect George Martel Miller, it was actually the Western District Orange Hall, so called because it was located on College Street in the west end of the city.

As late as the 1950s, Toronto had 10 Orange halls, including the Eastern Orange Hall on Queen Street East.

I don’t know whether any of the other nine locations are extant or whether they have an image of King Billy on them. I noticed this one on the very day my book, Faces on Places: A Grotesque Tour of Toronto, was launched in 2006 – and I knew I’d missed at least one of the city’s architectural faces…