Buildings - Statues - Monuments

1800 - 1899

1817 - 1819 First School at Old City Hotel in Hartford, CT

The First School at Old City Hotel

on Main & Gold St. in Hartford, CT

1817 – 1819

The Connecticut Asylum for the Deaf Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb Persons

The first school (Incorporated ” Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons” on June 22, 1816) was opened in the Old Bennett’s City Hotel in Hartford, CT on Tuesday, April 15, 1817.

This plaque is on the corner at Bushnell Tower & Plaza in Hartford, CT.


1819 - 1821 Second School at Day House

The Second School at Day House

on Prospect Street in Hartford, CT

1819 – 1821

The Connecticut Asylum for the Deaf Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb Persons

More rooms were expanded to include more pupils on the second and third floors in the Thomas Day house in Hartford, CT (the former home of Mrs. H. Hopkins, a physician’s widow) in 1818.

The new school name “American Asylum at Hartford for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons” was incorporated in May 1819.

1821 - 1921 Third School at Old Hartford

The Third School at “Old Hartford”

on Asylum Street in Hartford, CT

1821 – 1921

    • The Connecticut Asylum for the Deaf Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb Persons
    • The American Asylum at Hartford for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (renamed in 1890)
    • The American School at Hartford for the Deaf  (renamed in 1895)
1862-1863 – The wooden fence surrounded the yard and the statue of Gallaudet Memorial was unveiled. Wood fence surrounded the front yard with pine trees and the Gallaudet Monument.
1874 – The bushes without wooded fence surrounded the yard and the statue of Clerc Memorial was unveiled.  Bushes replaced the fence around the yard which then included the Clerc Memorial. Pine trees were removed and replaced with different trees.
1875 – On the left is the Gallaudet Monument. On the right is the Laurent Clerc Monument. This picture was taken in 1875.
Gallaudet Monument was unveiled September 6, 1854
Clerc Monument was unveiled September 16, 1874.
The Fountain
Old Hartford Pupils

Old Hartford School

The American School for the Deaf (ASD) was incorporated in May 1816 under the name, “The Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons.”  By the time the school was built on Asylum Hill in Hartford five years later (1821), the name of the school had been changed to “The American Asylum, at Hartford, for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb.”

The name of the school was changed again (and shortened) in 1885 after the Deaf Community requested that the word “Asylum” be dropped from the school’s title, and the school was renamed, “The American School, at Hartford, for the Deaf.”  This remains its proper name today; however, the “at Hartford” is often dropped (likely after the move to West Hartford) and it is now less formally referred to as the “American School for the Deaf.”

ASD rented space in two different Hartford locations before it built its first school building on Lord’s Hill in Hartford (later known as Asylum Hill), completed in 1821.  The cost of the new building was $24,282 and it could accommodate 120 pupils.  Eventually, the beloved school became known as “Old Hartford,” and over the years many improvements were made to the school and grounds to conform to changing demographics and needs.

In 1822, Industrial and Vocational classes were added to the school’s curriculum, so the following year two one-story workshops were built behind the main building at a cost of $1,011.  These workshops housed facilities for shoe-making, coopering, cabinet-making, and a cutler shop.  Instruction in these trades became so popular that in 1825 the workshops were expanded and enlarged in response to the increasing number of pupils who wished to be instructed in mechanical trades.

Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases were not uncommon in the early 1800s and this was an ongoing challenge at ASD.  In 1833 a severe outbreak of cholera (almost always caused by bad water) prompted the school to make important changes in its kitchen facilities, which were located in the basement at the time.  A new building was constructed later in 1833, right behind the main building.  It was 56’ long and 32’ wide, and cost about $3,500.  The first floor housed a new kitchen and washroom, and the second floor contained the dining room.  (This building was expanded on the north by 17’ in 1846 at a cost of $600, and again in 1850 when a third floor was added above the dining room for a girls’ dormitory at approximately $3,000).

By 1844 the number of pupils was so great that existing accommodations were no longer adequate to comfortably house everyone.  A new brick three-story building abutting the left side of the main building was constructed that year at a cost of $8,000.  It was 50’ wide by 60’ long and contained four classrooms on the first floor, four classrooms on the second floor, and classroom, chapel, and museum on the third floor.  This building was called the “West Wing.”

In 1849 one of the workshops behind the school was taken down and a much larger one was built in its place.  It was a two-story brick structure, 115’ long and 30’ wide.  Part of the second floor housed the tailor shop; the rest of the building was used as a cabinet shop.  A second story was added to the other shop building for shoe-making, and the first floor was used as a showroom for furniture that was made in the cabinet shop. 

Mid-century modernization at “Old Hartford” included the introduction of gas lighting into all the school buildings in 1849 through an arrangement with the Hartford Gas Light Company.  In 1850, clean water became more readily available through the use of hydraulic rams.  Each of these improvements were breakthroughs that addressed significant health concerns at the school – fire prevention and pure water.  Aesthetics during this time were included, too – the three-story veranda and front fountain were added in 1852, just in time for the school’s upcoming 35th anniversary.  And, in 1854, the Gallaudet Monument was added to the front yard.

When enrollment exceeded 200 pupils in 1855, the Board of Directors voted to construct another building to separate the youngest pupils from the older ones.  The three-story brick building was completed in the spring; it was 70’ long by 53’ wide and cost $15,500.  It included accommodations for the Principal and his family, the female teachers, assistant matron, and 35 or 40 of the youngest pupils.  This was called the “East Wing.”

The City of Hartford built the town reservoir on the school’s property, facing Garden Street, later in 1855.  For the first time since it opened, the school had plentiful access to pure, clean water. 

After numerous suggestions from the school’s physician, a gymnasium and play house were constructed behind the main building in 1868.  It was believed that physical activity and outdoor play were crucial in maintaining good health.

The East Wing was extended in 1872 to add new bathrooms and washrooms, a cloak room, and two new school rooms.

The Clerc Monument was added to the front yard of the school in 1874.

In 1877 school property sewers were laid and connected to the City of Hartford sewer system.  This meant that indoor bathrooms could now be added throughout the school buildings – an enormous improvement in the standards of health and comfort to all residents.

Fire escapes were added to the exterior of all school buildings in 1884, by order of the City of Hartford Fire Department.

In 1892 the City of Hartford Reservoir on the school property was closed and turned into a park, to the great amusement of the pupils.

Remodeling on campus in 1898 included upgrades to the heating plant, stable, wagon sheds, and ice house – all behind the main building.

In 1900 the old shops, sheds, and laundry building were removed to make way for the new kindergarten/primary school – Cogswell Hall – on the northeast section of the property behind the main building.

In 1901 a new, large Industrial Building was added behind the West Wing; all shops were contained within this building.

Hartford had changed considerably from 1821; it was no longer a farming community, but a busy city.  In 1914 the City of Hartford proposed the new Broad Street extension, which would cut across the school property, effectively separating Cogswell Hall from the main building.  Unwilling to split the campus, the Board of Directors voted to begin looking for a new site for the school.

In 1917, the school purchased 96 acres of farmland in West Hartford at a cost of $50,000.  Once plans for the new campus were finalized in 1919, the school property and buildings on Asylum Hill were sold to the Hartford Fire Insurance Company for $250,000. 

1819 -The “Old Hartford was razed in August 1919.

1844 The Chapel at Old Hartford

The Chapel at Old Hartford


The Dedication of the Chapel of the American Asylum

From the Twenty-Ninth Annual Report of the Directors of American Asylum at Hartford for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb, May 10, 1845.


The President and Directors of the Asylum, with other gentlemen and ladies from the city, met at the Institution the morning, to unite with the officers and pupils in the interesting service of dedicating the Chapel of the Asylum to the worship of God.


Before proceeding to this, however, the building of which it forms a part, is worthy of a passing notice.


Early in the season it was found, from the increased number of pupils in the Institution, that more extensive accommodations were necessary to the health and comfort of its inmates. The Directors with great liberality determined to erect the building which has just been completed. It is exceedingly neat and substantial; sixty-four feet by fifty feet, and three stories high. The first and second stories are devoted to school-rooms, which are eight in number; each room measuring twenty-five feet by twenty. The rooms are all furnished with at least eighteen slates, three feet by four and a half, which are fixed firmly to the walls, in solid frames neatly painted, and perfectly arranged for the best admission of light. The Chapel, which is forty-eight feet by forty, with a school-room twenty feet by twenty, and a small office, occupy the third story of the building. The Chapel is one of the neatest and most beautiful rooms ever constructed for such a purpose. A platform raised two and a half feet from the floor, extends across one side of the room, and directly in front of it, are seats rising towards the door, sufficient to accommodate about three hundred persons. Behind the platform, is a row of slates of the largest size, secured firmly to the wall, on which a text of scripture is written for explanation, at the morning and evening service, and also an outline of the discourses delivered by signs on the Sabbath, while on the front edge of the platform, is a small desk for the officiating officer. Each room has a distinct flue and register for ventilation, and the whole building is warmed by two powerful furnaces in the cellar.


Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet delivered at the opening of the Chapel of the American Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb on December 30, 1844. 

1854 Gallaudet Monument at Old Hartford

Gallaudet Monument at Old Hartford 

in Hartford, CT


A Vision  1852

“The Deaf Mutes of Vermont are requested to meet at Montpelier on Wednesday, February 18, 1852 to devise measures for aiding in the erection of a monument to the memory of our lamented benefactor, The Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, founder of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum in Hartford, Ct.  Every deaf mute should deem it a privilege to attend.”  Burlington Free Press, Feb. 13, 1852

The first Convention of the Deaf, which eventually became the New England Gallaudet Association (NEGA), was held in Montpelier VT on February 18, 1852.  The purpose of this meeting was to raise funds for a memorial to The Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet, who had passed only five months earlier.  After an address by the president, George M. Lucas, a Resolution to “use our best endeavors to aid in the erection of a suitable monument” was unanimously adopted.

The Convention was held again in Montpelier VT on February 23 & 24, 1853 to discuss progress regarding the memorial.  On September 12, 1853, Laurent Clerc requested – and received – permission from ASD’s Board of Directors to locate a monument “in front of the Asylum on the ground west of the fountain.”  Plans advanced slowly until the group met again on January 4, 1854.  At this meeting, the NEGA was formally established.  A generous bequest of an alum prompted renewed interest in the memorial and encouraged a financial arrangement with a proprietary attitude – every single dollar for the monument would be paid by the Deaf Community.  The Gallaudet Monument Association was formed, with Laurent Clerc named as its president.  The original Resolutions of the Gallaudet Monument Association were as follows:

WHEREAS, We, the deaf and dumb, deplore the death of the Rev. Thomas H. Gallaudet L.L.D. and desire to express, not only our gratitude for the benefits of education which he procured for us by his energetic exertions, but also our admiration of his eminent virtues and pure benevolence; therefore be it:

RESOLVED, That a suitable monument be erected to his memory on the grounds of the American Asylum at Hartford, Conn.  Adopted.

RESOLVED, That voluntary contributions be collected from the deaf and dumb throughout the United States for that purpose.  Adopted.

Agents were appointed to solicit contributions from the Deaf and transmit them to a central committee.  Many hearing individuals offered funds, but not a cent of their money was deposited in the treasury.  On August 14, 1854 Laurent Clerc again approached ASD’s Board of Directors – this time with an invitation to attend the laying of the cornerstone of the monument on the Asylum grounds.

The Monument  1853-1854

“He died, rich in our love and gratitude.  Blessed be his name – to be chiseled in our manual alphabet on this monument.”  John Carlin, 1854.

Determined that the entirety of the monument be sustained by the Deaf community, Albert Newsam (a former pupil of the Pennsylvania Institution and one of the most skilled engravers and lithographers in the country) was asked to prepare a design for the structure.  John Carlin, a skillful deaf artist from New York, was hired to engrave the four base panels.  The overall execution of the monument was committed to the James S. Batterson Marble Company with Mr. Argenti as their sculptor (this was the single departure from the rule of limitation to deaf artists, labor, and funds).

The four base panels constituted the most attractive feature of the monument:

A. On the north panel the name GALLAUDET, in the letters of the manual alphabet, is inscribed in bas-relief. (A fragment of the base showing the effects of weathering is displayed at ASD’s Cogswell Heritage House.)
B. The column itself was crowned with ornate capital surmounted by a “Globe.”
C. This radii, is the Syriac word “Ephphatha”.
D. Bas-Relief by John Carlin

The East panel was inscribed as follows: 

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D.

Born in Philadelphia,

December 10, 1787,

Died in Hartford,

September 10, 1851,

Aged Sixty-Four Years.

The West panel was inscribed as follows:

Erected to the Memory of

Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, LL.D.,

By the Deaf and Dumb

Of the United States,

As a Testimonial

Of Profound Gratitude

To Their

Earliest and Best Friend

And Benefactor.

The components of the monument consisted of a platform of Quincy granite, 6 ft.-10 in. square and 10 in. thick.  The plinth, also of granite, was 6 ft. square and 1 ft. thick.  The marble base was 5 ft.-3 in. square, and 18 in. thick.  The die consisted of John Carlin’s four panels and was surmounted by a cap on which the base of the 11-ft. column rested.  On the south side of the column, surrounded by radii, was the Syriac word, “Ephphatha” – meaning “be opened.”  The band that connected the two blocks of the column was encircled with a wreath of ivy – the symbol of immortality.  The column itself was crowned with an ornate capital, surmounted by a globe.  The whole height of the monument was 20 ft.-6 in. and the cost was $2,500.  Both in design and execution, the Gallaudet Monument was deemed “one of the most beautiful monuments of its kind in the United States, worthy of the noble name which it is raised to honor.”

Dedication  1854

“No wonder he was loved by all the Deaf.”  Laurent Clerc, 1854

The monument was formally unveiled on the front lawn of “Old Hartford” at 10:00 Wednesday morning, September 6, 1854.  The ceremony – covered by the local newspapers – was attended by hundreds from the Deaf Community, numerous citizens of Hartford, and many from surrounding counties.  After the call to order by the school’s Principal, the Rev. William W. Turner, and a commencement of prayer by the Rev. Dr. Hawes of Hartford, Laurent Clerc delivered a fervent address to the crowd from the front steps of the school.  He told the story of meeting Gallaudet in France, the difficulties Gallaudet encountered in England seeking to learn the art of teaching written language through the medium of signs, and their return to America where a new struggle began for sufficient funds to start a school.  Among his comments about Thomas Gallaudet, “No person knew better how to speak to others, of what he himself knew, and of what he knew would please his listeners.  He was a man of uprightness and equity; benevolent, obliging, and kind to everybody.”

Other deliveries included remarks by John Carlin and the Mayor of Hartford, Hon. Henry C. Deming (Clerc’s son-in-law) who laid the cornerstone.  Mr. Deming read a list of articles to be deposited inside a lead box in the monument.  The box contained:

◊ A current edition of the [Hartford] “Courant”

◊ A current edition of “The [Hartford] Times”

◊ The Hartford Directory of 1854-1855

◊ A copy of “Tribute to Gallaudet” by Henry Barnard

◊ The Connecticut Register with the name of “Laurent Clerc” inscribed on the first page

◊ The “American Annals of Deaf and Dumb”

◊ A list of contributors to the Gallaudet Monument

◊ “A Scriptural Catechism” originally written by Gallaudet in 1829

◊ Reports of Directors

◊ An address given by Laurent Clerc and read before the governor and the Legislature on May 28, 1818

◊ The proceedings of the 3rd convention of the American Instructors of the Deaf and Dumb at Columbus, Ohio, 1853

Centennial 1917

“The triumph of a hundred years is ours.”  J.H. McFarlane, Alabama guest


Anniversary exercises celebrating the school’s centennial were held during the first week of July 1917.  The history of education of the deaf was depicted by over 200 actors & actresses in a pageant called, “The Five Senses” – laid out for a large audience seated in a wide semicircle atop the high banks of the Garden Street reservoir and the lawn below as a stage.  Actors included descendants of both Thomas Gallaudet and Laurent Clerc.  Katherine Gallaudet, a granddaughter of Gallaudet, was the bride in one episode of the pageant and even wore the wedding dress worn at the wedding of her grandmother (currently on display at ASD’s Cogswell Heritage House).  Following the pageant, Gallaudet’s great-granddaughter, Eleanor Sherman, placed wreaths on the Gallaudet and Clerc Monuments, with musical accompaniment by the Fanwood Cadets of New York.

Among the honored guests in the audience were four French delegates, sent by the French Government.  The four men – all deaf – were Henri Gaillard, Edmond Pilet, Eugene Graff, and Jean Olivier.  They brought with them two identical bronze sprays stylized with palm fronds and sprigs of white oak with acorns.  The white oak signified durability; the palm was chosen for its ornamental beauty.  On the binding ribbon is printed “Les Sourds Muets Francais 1817-1917” (The Deaf Mutes of France 1817-1917).  The gift symbolized the school’s alliance with France – then and now.  One of the sprays was placed on the Laurent Clerc statue; the other was placed on the Gallaudet Monument.  The bronze sprays became treasured memorials, and remain so today.

Later in the day, announcement was made of plans to purchase 100 acres of land on North Main Street in West Hartford as a new site for the school.  In the late afternoon, Professor Perkins, Principal Frank R. Wheeler, Dr. John B. Hotchkiss of Gallaudet College, and others went to the new location and planted an elm tree in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the American School for the Deaf.


Move to West Hartford  1919- 1921

“I doubt if many schools have a finer combination of beauty, accessibility, and opportunity for development than we have on our 92 acres of field, water, and woodland.”  Prof. Henry A. Perkins, 1921

In 1919, the American School for the Deaf sold the Asylum Avenue property to the Hartford Fire Insurance Company.  Immediately following the sale, demolition began on the “Old Hartford” school building.  Classes continued in the Cogswell and Industrial Buildings on site, and no new students were admitted until the new school in West Hartford was completed.  Every day, students and alumni watched as their beloved old school – and home – was leveled.

The Gallaudet Monument stood on the front lawn at “Old Hartford” for more than 60 years.  Over time, the marble base had crumbled, making it unlikely to withstand the move to West Hartford.  In 1919 the Gallaudet Monument Repair Committee was formed as a sub-committee of the National Association of the Deaf (Thomas Francis Fox, Chairman) to explore restoration or replacement costs of the monument.  As the debate regarding restoration vs. replacement continued, the old school was razed and construction of the new Hartford Fire Insurance Company building had begun.  The monument – still on site – stood precariously in harm’s way.  Allen W. Brown from the Presbrey-Coykendall Stone Contracting Company offered to store the Gallaudet Monument until final action by the Committee was decided.  Principal Wheeler was overseeing the dismantling of the old school, interim boarding accommodations for students, construction of the new school, rising costs of building materials, and delayed deadlines, so he gratefully accepted Mr. Brown’s offer.  The monument was dismantled in pieces, and Mr. Brown took the pieces home with him and carefully stored them in his West Hartford barn for safekeeping.  But the main bas-relief panel, showing Gallaudet teaching his first three pupils, was salvaged by ASD Board member Charles L. Taylor after he noticed it lying broken among some rubble.  The panel was restored and placed in the south wall of the main entryway of the Gallaudet Building in May 1932. 


Alumni “CHIP” Fund   1924 & 1925

“We noted with much pleasure that our friends were willing to lend us a helping hand.”  1924 Report of the Alumni “Chip” Fund


In 1920 the Gallaudet Monument Repair Committee began appealing to the deaf of the entire country – not to rebuild the original monument, but to replace it with a copy of the bronze Gallaudet Statue (designed by Daniel Chester French) at Gallaudet College in Washington DC.  The Committee determined that there was considerable opposition to restoration of the monument in its old form because they felt it was “so universally associated with graveyards that it would be out of place on the grounds of a school.”  In view of this, the idea of restoring the old monument was abandoned in favor of re-casting a new bronze statue of Gallaudet.  Estimated cost of the new statue was $5200, or $9200 including a base.  The Committee only had $3000 in the fund, so they began an aggressive campaign to raise the balance for the new memorial.  Contributions were lean in post WWI years, so Professor Drake (treasurer of the Monument Replica Fund Committee) suggested that chips of the old monument base (in crumbled disrepair) be sold for $1.00 each.  The idea quickly took hold and ASD teacher, James Sullivan, was named Chairman of the Alumni “Chip” Fund, supported by another teacher (and alum), Joseph W. Bouchard.  By March 1924, Mr. Bouchard noticed the supply of chips was nearly exhausted and made plans to retrieve additional pieces from Mr. Allen’s barn.  According to an account in the New Era, “Mr. Bouchard and the school’s farmer, Ernest Smith, hitched an old horse to a wagon as old as the horse and rode to the farmhouse about a mile away.  They started the journey homeward; the poor horse had to drag the load of stone up and down several hills until all of a sudden it stopped.  Gradually it dawned on Mr. Smith that the horse did not relish the idea of giving a free ride to Mr. Bouchard who weighs nearly 170 lbs.  So, Mr. Bouchard got off and then commenced to swing with long strides up the road.”  In May 1924 it was reported that over 600 chips had been sold, with proceeds coming in from far-off states such as Texas, Ohio, Virginia, Minnesota, and Oregon.  The final report of the Alumni “Chip” Fund in November 1925 showed a balance of $798.19.



Lost & Found  1954

“I think it would be interesting for you to pay a visit to this garden.”  Dr. Edmund B. Boatner, 1967 Letter to staff

By the mid 1900s, the location of the monument pieces had long been forgotten – until Loy E. Golloday, editor of the school paper, found an old letter regarding proposed repairs to the monument.  After a few inquiries, past Alumni Chip Fund member, Joseph Bouchard, was able to show Mr. Golloday the exact location of the abandoned pieces – Allen Brown’s barn at 753 North Main Street where they’d been stacked for over 33 years.  The discovery also ended a decades-long search for the missing bronze palm leaf spray given to the school in 1917 for its 100th anniversary from the French delegates.  This had been the object of several unsuccessful searches in the past.  Although some parts of the monument were missing, most were intact, including three of the four inscription panels, the two pieces of the column, and the globe at the top of the monument.  Using an old school truck, staff and students brought the pieces of the Gallaudet Monument (and the bronze spray) back to the school – almost 100 years to the date of the dedication of the monument at “Old Hartford.”  The pieces were placed behind the garage, with a plan to artistically incorporate them into the landscape around the school.  The bronze spray was immediately affixed to the right side of the base of the Gallaudet Statue in front of the school.

Reconstruction   2016 – Current

“The monument will be so repaired as to appear in all its former comeliness.”

Laurent Clerc, 1874 letter to ASD Board

Concerns about preservation of the Gallaudet Monument were raised as early as 1874 by Laurent Clerc.  The Board of Directors approved ongoing cleaning and reasonable maintenance to keep the monument in good repair as funds permitted.  The late 1800s was a period of tremendous economical growth in the U.S., but the economy declined significantly in the years following World War I.  The sharp recession was compounded by the global influenza pandemic of 1918-19 that killed more people than the war itself.  The entire population felt the effects of these strains, including the American Asylum.  In the midst of these hardships, Principal Wheeler struggled against enormous challenges to relocate the school to West Hartford and restore enrollment.  These years were followed by the Depression, World War II, and financial adversity.  The future of the monument was continually overshadowed by bitter circumstances.

After the monument pieces were recovered and returned to the school in the mid 1950s, several suggestions for restoration were proposed, each with a similar objective – how to appropriately preserve the monument’s past while also securing its future.  However, the balance between history and cost was invariably tipped by lack of funding, each time leaving the monument’s destiny uncertain once again.

By 2016 the ASD Alumni Association had raised and earmarked funds to renovate the Gallaudet Building’s iconic cupola.  Unfortunately, the cupola was in such an advanced state of decline that the cost to fully repair and move the cupola far exceeded the amount raised.  The school then asked the Alumni Association if they would be willing to move those funds to the renovation of the Gallaudet Monument.  The Alumni Association voted in favor of this new project.

Work on reconfiguration began in 2016 when conservator Francis Miller, Conserve ART LLC, visited the campus and assessed the feasibility of reassembling the monument.  Once Mr. Miller evaluated its condition, a budget to complete the renovation was determined.  Upon ASD’s approval, Mr. Miller’s collaboration with landscape architect John Stewart, CR3 Studio at Loureiro, led to a new setting design for the monument at the entrance to the school that balanced elements from the original site with the new location.  Mr. Miller brought samples of existing decorative marble fragments to Rock of Ages in Graniteville, VT for the design of new sections in light-colored Barre Grey granite.  He also made molds of the original John Carlin marble relief carving from the front of the monument as well as the bronze French emblem, and delivered both to Modern Art Foundry, Long Island City, NY for casting in bronze.  A second mold was made of the “GALLAUDET” manual alphabet relief sculpture fragment.  A plaster cast was made from the mold and sent to Steven Petersen, a deaf artist in Duluth, MN.  Mr. Petersen interpreted Carlin’s original design with the creation of a drawing and clay model – the first stages in the formation of a new bronze relief sculpture.

As soon as spring weather permitted, earth work and foundations for the new site design began.  Rock of Ages fabricated the new sections during this period.  With an audience of alumni in attendance, Francis Miller completed the reconstruction of the Monument on the front lawn of the Gallaudet-Clerc Education Center on April 14 and 15, 2021.  (Unveiling and dedication, which was scheduled for Homecoming in October 2021, was postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions.)

We proudly join the ASD Alumni Association in welcoming back the Gallaudet Monument in the true spirit of Homecoming.

Erected in Spring of 2021
1874 Laurent Clerc Statue at Old Hartford

Laurent Clerc Statue at Old Hartford

in Hartford, CT


The Decision  1874

Louis Laurent Marie Clerc – often called the “Apostle to the Deaf” – died on July 18, 1869.

The same feeling of gratitude which prompted the Deaf Community to honor the memory of Thomas H. Gallaudet in 1854 when the Gallaudet Monument was dedicated, led them to show their feelings toward his co-founder, Laurent Clerc, in a similar manner. In September 1871, a meeting of delegates from nearly all Deaf associations was held, and a committee was appointed to collect funds for a memorial to Laurent Clerc. This committee was called the National Clerc Memorial Union. Its officers included Thomas Brown (founder of the New England Gallaudet Association) as President, and Henry Winter Syle (first Deaf person to be ordained an Episcopalian priest in the U.S.) as Secretary. In December 1873 it was decided that the memorial should be a bust, to be placed on the grounds of the American Asylum in Hartford.

On behalf of the Union, Henry Winter Syle sent a letter to ASD’s Board of Directors dated May 11, 1874:


The Deaf Mutes of the United States, desirous at once to provide a public and lasting memorial of the invaluable labors of Laurent Clerc and to attest their own deep sense of gratitude for the benefits of education received by them largely in the first place through his instrumentality, have taken steps toward the erection of a monument to his memory.

Their unanimous and earnest desire is to have it placed on the grounds of the institution of which you gentlemen have charge, and in a position corresponding to that of the monument Mr. Clerc assisted in erecting to his friend and fellow worker – the sainted Gallaudet. Here it would be on the scene of Mr. Clerc’s labors in your service during almost the whole of his sojourn in America and within sight of the spot where he passed his declining years and breathed his last.

This desire was early communicated to the President of your honorable body and, upon his assurances that you would doubtless accede to it at your annual meeting, a design was selected with special reference to such a site and is now in course of execution.

The design embraces a bronze bust larger than life, supported by a simple but massive and elegant pedestal of Scotch Granite, bearing suitable inscriptions – the whole rising to the height of twelve feet at which altitude it is thought the bust will be best viewed. In the model of the bust just completed, it is universally admitted the best likeness of Mr. Clerc yet produced. The whole will, it is believed, form a monument worthy of the honored dead, and fitted to adorn the grounds of the American Asylum. We have already on hand within a few dollars of the amount required, which is estimated at three thousand dollars, and there is every reason to expect the monument to be ready for dedication by the end of next August.

I now have the honor in the name of the National Clerc Memorial Union and by authority of its Executive Committee, respectfully to request that you will allow us to place the above described monument to Mr. Clerc – complete and free from any pecuniary liability for its construction and erection – on the grounds of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb upon a site opposite and corresponding to that of the memorial of the Rev. T. H. Gallaudet, S.S.D., and that you will then accept it and take charge of it in trust forever in the same manner as the Gallaudet Monument.

Very Respectfully,

Your Obedient Servant,

Henry Winter Syle

Secretary, National Clerc Memorial Union

ASD’s Board of Directors acknowledged – with gratification – the value of the proposed tribute to Laurent Clerc, and granted the request to place the memorial on the Asylum grounds. In addition, they offered the hospitality of the Asylum on the occasion of the dedication to the officers and as many others as could be comfortably accommodated.

The Funding

The Treasurer of the National Clerc Memorial Union fund was Charles S. Newell Jr. On July 25, 1874, Mr. Newell reported that sufficient funds had been secured ($2,876.98) to pay for the memorial in full, immediately upon its completion – thus closing the undertaking which had taken the past five years.

Similar to the Gallaudet Monument, the cost of the Clerc Memorial was fully funded by the Deaf Community. The entire cost was $2,900.

The Site

As noted above, at a meeting of the National Clerc Memorial Union in December 1873, it was determined that the memorial to Clerc be placed on the grounds of the American Asylum in Hartford. The school’s Board of Directors approved the decision at their meeting on May 27, 1874. The Clerc Memorial stood on the grounds of “Old Hartford” for more than four decades.

In 1916, anticipating the upcoming move from Hartford to West Hartford, the Directing Committee of the school considered the establishment of a park to contain the Clerc Memorial and Gallaudet Monument permanently. Lacking consensus, a sub-committee was formed in 1919 to determine the fate of the monuments “which must necessarily be disturbed by the transfer of the property” (to the Hartford Fire Insurance Company). Without available funding, the sub-committee decided to put the monuments in nearby storage, at least temporarily.

The Clerc Memorial was taken out of storage and moved to the new school in West Hartford in the summer of 1924. It was placed onto a new base of granite in front of the south (girls’) wing of the Gallaudet Building. The bronze bust was reported “in a wonderful state of preservation.” A re-dedication of the new site was held in the fall – exactly 50 years after it was first placed at “Old Hartford”  and Principal Wheeler presided.

The Artist

The design of the Laurent Clerc Memorial was entrusted to Mr. James G. Batterson of Hartford for his good taste and skill. At age 23, Mr. Batterson established himself in Hartford as proprietor of a stoneyard called the New England Granite Works, primarily producing cemetery monuments. In 1854, he produced ASD’s Gallaudet Monument. In 1864 he designed the Samuel Colt Monument in Cedar Hill Cemetery, noteworthy at 40’ high. But his most famous project was the CT State Capitol in 1873-1878.

To keep up with the demand throughout the state for monuments of such size and artistic ambition, Mr. Batterson hired Carl H. (Charles) Conrads in 1866. Mr. Conrads was a well-established sculptor, known for his Civil War monuments. His works included the seated figure of “Morality” in Plymouth, MA – the largest solid granite monument in the world at the time. In addition to Laurent Clerc, Mr. Conrads also modeled statues of Alexander Hamilton, Daniel Webster, and Horace Bushnell.

The Memorial Bust

It was not easy to determine the form of the proposed memorial, and many debates ensued. But even Clerc, in his final years, had entertained a hope that if there were to be a memorial to himself, it would be in a like manner of Gallaudet’s. Finally in 1873, it was decided that the memorial should be a bust in accordance with what was known to have been the desire of Laurent Clerc himself. The likeness was, in all respects, considered to present a finer appearance than any other that could have been obtained at the same cost. The account of the Memorial’s description, as it appeared in the American Annals (Vol. 20, 1875) is as follows:

 ◊ The monument to the late Laurent Clerc consists of a bronze bust and a memorial pedestal composed of five stones.

 ◊ The base is of Westerly, R.I. gray granite – 5 ft. square by 14 in. thick, finely hammered. The remaining portions are of Scotch granite, bluish-gray in color, and very highly polished, from the Spittal Granite Works, Messrs. Bower & Florence, Aberdeen.

 ◊ The second base is 3 ft.-10 in. square by 10 in. thick.

 ◊ The moulded base is 3 ft. by 3 in. square by 18 in. thick and has a bronze plate inserted in the front, bearing a bas-relief of the name CLERC in the manual alphabet.

 ◊ The die is 3 ft.-3 in. high by 2 ft.-6 in. square at the bottom, diminishing to 2 ft.-2 in. square at the top, and bears inscriptions in front and on the two sides, in sunk beveled gilt letters.

 ◊ The cap is 2 ft.-9 in. square by 2 ft. high. It is richly moulded and bears in front the monogram L.C. in elegant sunken letters.

 ◊ The bronze bust is of heroic size. It was modeled by Carl Conrads of Hartford and cast at the Ames Foundry in Chicopee, Mass. It is finely chased and finished by hand.

 ◊ The monogram was designed by Mr. Batterson’s draftsman, Mr. Henry Bryant, of Hartford, who also made the working drawings of the details of the pedestal from the general designs furnished by myself (Henry Winter Syles).

 ◊ The total height to the top of the bust is 11 ft.-6 in. Three sides of the base are inscribed as follows:



The Apostle

To the Deaf Mutes of the

New World

Directly under this is a bas-relief in bronze of the name “Clerc” in the letters of the manual alphabet



Born in LaBalme, France

December 26, 1785

Lauded at New York August 9, 1816

Died at Hartford

July 18, 1869


Erected by the Deaf-Mutes of America

To the Memory of their Benefactor

The pupil of Sicard

The Associate of Gallaudet

Who left his native land to

Elevate them by his teaching and

Encourage them by his example

The Unveiling & Dedication

The dedication of the Laurent Clerc Memorial Bust took place on Wednesday afternoon, September 16, 1874. Deaf people from all over the country, along with prominent citizens of Hartford, gathered on the slope in front of the American Asylum to honor the memory of Clerc. The ceremony was led by Miss Lottie Beers, a granddaughter of Clerc’s. A wreath of flowers – a gift from the Deaf of Boston and vicinity who were unable to attend in person – was placed upon the Bust. The attendees then withdrew to the Asylum Hill Congregational Church where the dedication services took place. Thomas Brown, one of the early graduates of the Asylum, presided. Prayer was offered in sign language by the Rev. William W. Turner, former Principal of the Asylum. Mr. Brown, who was also the president of the National Clerc Memorial Union, delivered by signs the presentation address, which was read by Mr. Job Williams, an instructor in the Asylum at the time. Other addresses were given by Hon. Calvin Day, President of the American Asylum and Mr. James Denison, Principal of the Preparatory Department at Columbia Institution. Mr. Henry W. Syle also read letters from:

◊ Hon. W. W. Eaton, Hartford

◊ President Barnard, Columbia College

◊ Prof. George E. Day, Yale College

Other brief addresses were given by:

◊ The Rev. Dr. Francis J. Clerc, son of Laurent Clerc

◊ The Rev. Thomas Gallaudet, St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf

◊ Dr. Edward M. Gallaudet, President of the Deaf-Mute College

◊ Mr. David E. Bartlett, Instructor at the Asylum

◊ Dr. Isaac L. Peet, Principal of the New York Institution

Ceremonies at the church were concluded at 6:00, and the events of the day were closed with a banquet at the Park Central Hotel, which was largely attended.



Among the guests at the school’s centennial celebration in July 1917 were four French delegates sent by the French Government. They gave the school two identical bronze sprays, stylized with palm fronds and sprigs of white oak. Inscribed are the words, “Les Sourds Muets Francais 1817-1917” (The Deaf Mutes of France 1817-1917). The sprays symbolized the school’s alliance with France – then and now. One was placed on the Clerc Memorial, and the other was placed on the Gallaudet Monument.


The Memorial was placed in storage for safe-keeping.


 The Memorial was moved from storage and placed on a new granite base on front of the south wing of the new school building in West Hartford.


The ASD Alumni Association donated three granite benches to the school; two were placed in front of the Clerc Memorial (the other one was placed in front of the school at the bus stop on North Main Street).


Outdoor lighting was added to the grounds surrounding the Clerc Memorial so it could be illuminated at night.


In May a professional restoration team was hired to clean and remove discoloration and oxidation from the Memorial.


LC Memorial Plaza dedicated to Robert Dean Morton, ASD Board of Directors and Chairman of Buildings & Grounds Committee on May 28.


LC Statue at new school building called Gallaudet Clerc Education Center (GCEC)

Clerc Statue at Fourth School in West Hartford, CT

1900 - 1949

1900 the Boiler Room at Old Hartford

The Boiler Room at Old Hartford

in Hartford, CT


The Sixth Biennial Report of the Directors and Officers of the

American School at Hartford for the Deaf, pages 16-17.

Until the summer of 1900, the main building of the school was heated by six boilers, located at four different points under the building, and stoves heated the shops and storehouses.

Upon the erection of the new building, the directors decided to establish a central steam plant to heat all the facilities. The Hartford Steam Boiler and Inspection and Insurance Company was hired to make surveys, draw plans, and give estimates of the cost. Their plans were approved: the brick barn was remodeled to provide rooms for the boilers, the storage of coal in the basement, a modern laundry on the floor above, and sleeping-rooms and bathrooms for employees on the second story. At the side of the building, a chimney 75 feet high was erected.

The plant contained two one-hundred horsepower low-pressure boilers for heating and one thirty horsepower high-pressure boiler to supply steam for cooking, heating, water, and power for sawing and turning.

The Boiler-house was connected to both school buildings by brick conduits three feet wide and four feet high, passing the steam and returned pipes of both the high and low pressure, telephone wires, and gas pipes. The main to the primary length was 675 feet, and to the main building was 625 feet.


1901 Cogswell Hall at Old Hartford

Cogswell Hall (Primary Building) at Old Hartford

in Hartford, CT

Cogswell Hall – Primary in the front on Green Street


Cogswell Hall – Primary in the rear


By ASD Principal, Job Williams


The Directors gave the name of Cogswell Hall to new building in memory of Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell who did so much to introduce the education.


The Primary Building, so long and so urgently needed, was completed early the fall of 1901, and on the nineteenth of September was opened for the reception of pupils. It was a great improvement to have the younger children in a building by themselves where all the arrangements are suited to their special needs.


The material used in the building is red brick, the stone finish being gray Indiana limestone with base course of sandstone and steps of granite. Gray brick was used throughout the staircase enclosures and at the main entrance vestibule. The roof was covered with dark slate, and a lofty portico at the front, as well as the two-storied piazza in the rear, were built of wood with metal roof.


The material used in the building is red brick, the stone finish being gray Indiana limestone with base course of sandstone and steps of granite. Gray brick was used throughout the staircase enclosures and at the main entrance vestibule. The roof was covered with dark slate, and a lofty portico at the front, as well as the two-storied piazza in the rear, were built of wood with metal roof. The building was erected from plans by Architect William C. Brockiesby and occupied a site on the site on the grounds of the school facing Garden Street.

The Classroom


The Classroom


The corner of  Reception Room


The Teacher’s Room


The Teachers’ Sitting Room


The Dining room


The building was fifty-four feet wide, and a hundred and twenty-five feet long with wings on each corner, 17 X 20.8 feet, built at an angle of 45 degrees from the main structure. Including the wing, the length was 149 feet, and the width was 79 feet. It was three stories high, exclusive of the attic and basement, the latter, owing to the nature of the site, being advantageously located. The central hall extended the entire length of the building. Mill construction, or slow burning construction, was used, and great care taken to avoid the possibility of damage by fire.


The two separate lines of stair-cases were enclosed within brick walls, and constructed of iron. The basement had two ample entrances, and contained a dining-room, sun exposed, 30 X 42 feet, and furnished with open fireplace, the kitchen, serving-room, storeroom, pantry, servants’ diningroom, two large playrooms, and convenient toilets. The first floor contained six well-lighted class rooms, reception room, office, matron’s sitting-room, two sitting-rooms, one for the boys, and one for the girls. The rooms opened on a large piazza, and each had a fireplace of stone. Upon the second floor were the various dormitories with a locker for each child, the bathrooms, supervisors’ rooms. Matron’s room, teachers’ dining-room, served by a lift running in a fire-proof shaft from serving-room below, also linen-rooms. The third story contained rooms for teachers, spare-rooms, sewing-room, and (separately planned and accessible from one of the main stair-cases) servants’ quarters with bathroom, and two hospitals, each with a private bathroom and nurse’s room in close proximity with linen-rooms, near which was a lift. The hospitals had good sun exposure, and were furnished with open fireplaces. The building was finished throughout in brown ash, the floors were laid with riftgrain hard pine. Metal lathing and hard plaster were used throughout the building. At each end of the building was an iron fire-escape, easily accessible from each floor. The building was  lighted throughout by both gas and electricity, and was heated by steam, chiefly by direct radiation. In the rear were ample play-grounds for the children occupying the building.


1901 Industrial Building at Old Hartford

Industrial Building at Old Hartford

in Hartford, CT


The Seventh Biennial Report of the Directors of Officers of the American School at Hartford for the Deaf

By Gilbert O. Fay, Acting Principal, pages 20-22.


The Industrial Building, provided by generous friends in the spring of 1901, and in some respects the peer of Cogswell Hall was erected the same year upon the west line of their grounds. The building was of slow-burning mill-construction, forty feet by eighty-five, three stories high, heated by steam and lighted by electricity. Under one roof, the parts used by the sexes were separated by a wall, the boys occupying the north end and the girls the south, each sex having an entrance of its own, from its own yard. The first floor contained the cabinet-shop, a stockroom, the ironing-room and the cooking-room. The second contained a cabinet finishing room, the sloyd room, the sewing-room, and the dressmaking-room. The third floor, designed for a gymnasium, but waiting for equipment at the hand of some generous friend of physical training, finds present use for their weekly gymnastic classes and for assemblies of a social character. A wide, deep platform had been erected at the south end and furnished with plain stage fittings, with two dressing-rooms adjacent.


The industrial classes found their new quarters decidedly convenient and attractive. In the cabinet-shop thirty-two boys received daily instruction one and a half hours, in classes of sixteen, and turned out work everyway creditable in amount, variety and quality. The sloyd room received younger boys daily for one hour and a quarter, in two classes of fifteen. The training of eye and hand, the enthusiasm of the little fellows at their work, and the admirable finish of their many models were delightful to see. A cooking class of thirteen advanced girls meets for practice two hours and a half Saturday forenoons. Model meals, plain and substantial, were planned, bread, puddings, and cake were baked, meats cooked, vegetables prepared, and an assortment of pies, canned fruit, and jellies compounded. The whole range of economical provision for the home table was   considered and elaborated. Ironing was practically taught in its own room and other branches of domestic service elsewhere. Plain sewing and fancy work were taught to forty girls, in classes, two hours a week. Twenty-three girls worked three hours a week under the direction of an expert dressmaker, and many were the garments which they had made for other girls, not neglecting their own need and adornment.


In the industrial occupations their girls manifest as much enthusiasm as did their boys in their athletic sports. Saturday, their pupils, in grades, received careful instruction in drawing, and after school hours upon Friday, in five successive classes, all were drilled in gymnastics. A public exhibition of gymnastics, drawing in operation, and finished products of all industrial work, given one June afternoon in 1902, was well attended and heartily commended.


1903- Physical Education Class in Amusement Hall


To the list of required occupations should be added the voluntary devotion of our boys in their their play-time to the current games of base and football, in both of which they excel. A comfortably-equipped playroom, or better, one for each sex, not large, but easily accessible, upon a ground floor, of which we had no lack, for unconstrained amusement in cold and stormy weather, and in evening hours, was evidently needed for the healthful relaxation and best physical development of our pupils of either sex. The daily used of living-rooms for romping, noisy plays created serious disturbance. The old playhouse, moved up to a location nearer the Main Building, would come into good use. There were a whisper that horticulture may soon be available to a limited class through the generosity of a friend. The care of our lawns, gardens, trees, roads, and walks, not to mention the possibilities of our unused acres east and north, would furnish abundant – super-abundant – working material for another industrial class, and that in the line economy.


1901 – Woodworking Class


1903 – Sloyd Room


1903 – Drawing Room


1903 – Dressing Room


1903 – Sewing Room


1903 – Cooking Room


1907 – Products from the Cabinet Shop


1909 – Cabinet Shop


1916 – Girls’ Sewing Class


1907 – Dressmaking Class


1917 – High School Boys’ Woodworking Class


1910-1911 – Products from the Cabinet Shop


1917 – Physical Education Class


1917 – High School Boys’ Woodworking Class


1901 Industrial Building 'Sloyd" at Old Hartford

Industrial Building “Sloyd”

at Old Hartford

in Hartford, CT


From ASD Archives – museum – ASD Weekly: October 23, 2014 by Bradford Moseley


John Dewey once said, “If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” The archives are full of documents that illustrate ASD was dedicated to the most innovative teaching practices of the day. In the early 1900s, the school’s curriculum included a course called “sloyd” – a system of handicraft-based education.


Sloyd is derived from the Swedish word, Sloyd, which refers to the making of crafts, primarily woodwork but also paper-folding and sewing. Its purpose was formative; it was thought that “the benefits of handicrafts in general education built the character of the child, encouraging moral behavior, greater intelligence, and industriousness.” It began in Sweden around 1870 and found its way to America by 1880 at the North Bennet Street Industrial School in Boston.


At that time, boys at ASD were required to take cabinet-making classes. Alongside these classes, they also took sloyd. Frank Wheeler’s Principal’s Report of 1914 noted, “All of the boys are taught sloyd before they begin work in the cabinet shop. Our aim is to train them in habits of order, exactness and neatness, to develop their physical powers, to accustom them to attention and perseverance, and to lead them to think for themselves. A series of exercises have been selected that progress from the easy to difficult, and a variety of tools, woods, and models are used so that the work does not become irksome.”


Sloyd was different from other forms of manual training because of its adherence to a distinct set of principles: Instruction should move: 1) from the known to the unknown, 2) from the easy to the more difficult, 3) from the simple to the more complex, 4) from the concrete to the abstract, and 5) The products made should be practical in nature and build the relationship between home and school.


In those days, many – if not most – students took up a vocation or a trade after graduation (some went on to college). So, trades were taught as a preparation for their life’s work, not simply as an academic accomplishment. Sloyd was an important part of this training. Boys who did well in shop spent very little time in school after 8th grade. Instead, they spent most of their time learning and perfecting their trade and were even hired out to a local foreman.


Vocational training is still very much a part of ASD’s curriculum and Frank Wheeler’s philosophy of excellence is still at the forefront of academic standards at ASD.


This is evidenced by the countless achievements of our current students and thousands of graduates over nearly 200 years. We think Mr. Wheeler would be impressed.

1901 Rooms at Old Hartford

Rooms in the Main Building at Old Hartford

in Hartford, CT


1901 – Old Hartford – 3rd School


1901 -The Classroom


1901 – The Oral Class


1901 – The Cooking Class


1901 – The Sewing Class


1901 – The Sewing Class


1901 – The Dressmaking Class


1901 – The Dressmaking Class


1901 – The Woodworking Class


1901 – The Woodworking Class


1901 – The Cabinet Shop


1901 – The Dining room


1901 – The Dormitory


1903 The Sewing Class


1903 – The Parlor Room


1920 Barn at Fourth School in West Hartford, CT

Barn at Fourth School

in West Hartford, CT


 The first barn on the West Hartford campus was not actually a barn – it was a workman’s shed made by the workmen who built Gallaudet Hall. It was located where the Brewster Gym is now located, and was used to store the workers’ equipment. The barn (shed) was left standing when the school was completed in 1921, and the school used it to house their horse and carriage. Due to decay, it was torn down in 1927, and a second smaller barn (show above) was built in a different location – on the small  hill in back of the athletic fields. The new barn measured 30′ x 40′ and cost $1000. It housed a horse, a cow, and chickens; it was referred to as the “Old Cow Barn.” The structure was destroyed by a fire in 1935.


1921 - 2013 Fourth School

The Fourth School on 139 North Main Street

in West Hartford, CT

The American School for the Deaf at West Hartford

(renamed in 1921)

1921 – 2013

By the first part of 20th century, Lord’s Hill (Asylum Avenue) was no longer a rural neighborhood. Hartford had grown into an industrial city and the local government was proposing new streets through the school’s property. The school’s directors concluded that a more rural setting would afford a better learning environment. In 1919, when a tract of farmland in West Hartford became available, the directors purchased it and built the new building – Gallaudet Hall – on North Main Street. Construction began in 1920. The 130,185 square feet school building was completed in 1922 at a cost of $774,000. Funds were obtained through state appropriation and the sale of Old Hartford.

Gallaudet Hall was taken in 1922
Gallaudet Hall was taken in 1960s
Gallaudet Hall was taken in 2000s before it was demolished
1925 Brewster Gym

The James Henry Brewster, Jr. Gymnasium 


The new boys’ gymnasium was named in honoring of the late James H. Brewster, a former ASD Board vice president and treasurer. It was built in 1925.

Mr. Brewster was served as a Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of the State Fire Insurance Company and Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company. He served in the fire Insurance for over 50 years. He died on August 2, 1920.

He was the descendent of Elder William Brewster of the Mayflower Ship, a famous deaf artist and former ASD pupil, John Brewster, Jr. and John’s father, James Brewster. His son, John H. Brewster, Jr. was an ASD board director from 1932 to 1959.

James H. Brewster, Jr.




1925 The Statue of Thomas H. Gallaudet & Alice Cogswell

The Statue of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet & Alice Cogswell 


In December 1920 the Gallaudet Monument Repair Committee (a sub-committee of the National Association of the Deaf) decided to forego restoration of the Gallaudet Monument that had stood on the grounds of “Old Hartford” for over 60 years. Instead, the Committee voted in favor of casting a replica of the bronze Gallaudet Statue by Daniel Chester French on the site of Gallaudet College in Washington, DC. – the original of which was presented to the College in 1889.

The Decision  1920

The following articles were formally adopted by the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) at their 1920 meeting:

◊ 1st – That in 1854 the Deaf people of the country joined in erecting in Hartford, CT a monument to the memory of their good friend and benefactor, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet.

◊ 2nd – That during the 60 years since then, the marble of this memorial under the sharp tooth of time has been steadily crumbling until, in 1912, the National Association of the Deaf people of the country thought it a duty to undertake the repair of the monument.

◊ 3rd – That this movement resulted in the collection of about $3,000, but –…….

◊ 4th – That the projected repairs were prevented by the contemplated removal of the American School (on whose grounds the monument stood) to a new site in West Hartford.

The Committee in charge of the fund and repairs reported to the convention of the Association in Detroit, MI in the summer of 1920:

◊ 1st – That the monument had been taken apart and placed in storage because the operations of the [Hartford] insurance company that had bought the site threatened to injure it.

◊ 2nd – That it was uncertain when and where the monument could be rebuilt, as the erection of the new buildings of the American School in West Hartford was proceeding very slowly and the proper grading of the grounds for a new site for the memorial will probably be delayed for a year, perhaps two years.

◊ 3rd – That there exists considerable opposition to the erection of the memorial in its old form on the new site of the school, it being felt that this form is so universally associated with graveyards that it would be out of place on the grounds of the school.

In view of this growing sentiment, it was suggested that the idea of restoring the old monument be abandoned entirely and, instead, that the Association procure a replica of its bronze memorial to Gallaudet placed on Kendall Green at Gallaudet College in 1889 to mark the centennial of Thomas H. Gallaudet’s birth. This plan was endorsed by the Gallaudet family, ASD’s Board of Directors, and the sculptor, Daniel C. French.

This replica would be the third memorial to THG – the first being the Gallaudet Monument in 1854 and the second one being the original 1889 bronze Gallaudet Statue at Gallaudet College in Washington, DC.

The Funding

The plan to have a replica made of the Gallaudet Statue required a much larger sum than restoration of the old Monument. The NAD Committee ascertained that the cost of recasting the bronze statue would amount to about $5,000 with an additional $3,000+ needed for the granite base. With only $3,000 on hand, an appeal for contributions was launched. On December 10, 1920 (Gallaudet Day), ASD’s students collected $26.36 towards the effort. John Crane then sent a letter out to the school’s Alumni saying, “This is a good example for the former pupils of our school to follow. So let the Alumni of ‘Old Hartford’ get busy. Send in your nickels, dimes, and dollars. The undersigned has become authorized to receive contributions from the Deaf of New England.”

All money collected for the Statue was contributed by the Deaf people of the United States. By 1923 the fund had reached $6,650 and James Sullivan took over the appeal. He successfully collected the balance needed in time for completion by summer 1925.

The president of NAD announced Labor Day, September 7, 1925 as the date of the official unveiling of the Gallaudet Statue.

The Site

On the morning of Saturday, June 16, 1923, the Committee met with Katherine Gallaudet (granddaughter of Thomas H. Gallaudet) and Professor Henry A. Perkins at the school. They looked over the grounds to select a suitable site for the replica of the Gallaudet Statue. After some deliberation, they came to the conclusion that the statue should be near the school building, in front of the main entrance and facing the building. But they preferred to leave the final decision to the sculptor, Daniel C. French. One week later, on June 23, some members of the Board of Directors and Principal Wheeler met with Mr. French at the school. Mr. French approved of the site and also suggested the kind of stone to be used in the pedestal.

The Artist

Once the idea of a memorial was voted upon, the NAD had to find a sculptor to create the monument. Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), who had just completed a marble bust of President Garfield commissioned by Deaf graduates of Gallaudet College, was the most likely choice. French was also known for his “Lincoln Memorial” and “Minute Man” sculptures.

French’s background, skill, and temperament were well-suited to the task. He was described as polite, always punctual, industrious, high-minded, and patient. He was a self-made sculptor who studied in Italy, Paris, and Boston, but his works still seemed to reflect his New England home.

Upon completion of the working model of the Statue, French’s satisfaction was revealed in a letter to his friend Charles Moore, “It gives a chance to make a very charming thing full of tenderness and pathos and I find myself better pleased with my rendering of it than I am usually with my productions.”

The Statue

The Gallaudet Statue represents, for Daniel French, his first rendering of a human interest “group.” Prior to this work his mastery was that of a single male figure. Unlike his previous works, this statue invited people to examine it from many points of view.

The statue shows Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet at the age of 30, seated in a corner chair, with his first pupil, Alice Cogswell, about 8 or 10 years old, at his side. With his right hand he is showing her how to form the letter “a” of the sign language alphabet that would open up to her the door to a new world. In return she, leaning against the seated man, stretches forth her right hand to form the same letter while she clasps an open book to her chest with her left hand. Gallaudet looks down at her with an expression of compassion and she gazes up at him with gratitude.

The “group” creates an expression of a great teacher creating and responding to the aspirations of his pupil who has had her first taste of new knowledge. The motive of the group is the teaching of the sign letters – but the real bond that holds the two figures together is the interchange of thought and feeling through their gaze, since the usual avenue of speech is closed. The viewer is involved in the story, despite the lack of direct eye contact with either figure. It is superbly mastered and full of poetic charm.

The four sides of the granite pedestal are carved as follows:






















The Unveiling  1925

The presentation and unveiling exercises of the Gallaudet Statue took place on Monday, September 7, 1925 at 10:30 a.m. The festivities were to be held outside in front of the statue, but had to be moved indoors to the auditorium due to rain.

In spite of the weather, attendance reached nearly 1,000. Among those present were:

◊ Arthur L. Roberts – President of the NAD

◊ F. A. Moore – Secretary/Treasurer of the NAD

◊ Thomas F. Fox – Chairman of the Gallaudet Statue Replica Fund

◊ Harley D. Drake – Gallaudet Statue Replica Fund

◊ John O’Rourke – Gallaudet Statue Replica Fund

◊ Prof. Henry A. Perkins – President of the Corporation of ASD

◊ Frank R. Wheeler – Principal of ASD

◊ Michael Lapides – President of ASD Alumni Association

◊ Hon. B. I. Miller – Town Manager of West Hartford

◊ A. Meacham – President of the New England Association of Deaf

◊ Dr. Ely – Vice President of Gallaudet College

◊ Alice Cogswell Sparhawk – Granddaughter of Thomas H. Gallaudet

Ceremonies began with an invocation by the Rev. Stanley Light of Dorchester, MA followed by speeches from most of the attendees listed above.

Prof. Perkins graciously accepted the Statue on behalf of the school:

“Ladies and Gentlemen – It is with the greatest satisfaction that I accept for the Board of Directors this beautiful statue you have given to the American School for the Deaf as a memorial to its founder, our revered first principal, the Rev. Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet. Here it will remain for generations to come, a lasting reminder of a great and good man who devoted the best years of his life and sacrificed his health for afflicted humanity. The story of that struggle reveals a man of a highly sensitive disposition, delicate constitution, and tremendous energy. What he accomplished in that short period is amazing. When we recall that not only was this the first school for the Deaf in America employing a comparatively new art in teaching, but also practically the first organized philanthropic institution as well, we realize what unusual qualities he must have had to make it a success from the beginning. To accomplish so great a task he was called on to be not only a teacher, but an organizer, politician, linguist, author, and preacher. There are few men at any time who can qualify in all these capacities, and we justly do homage to a man whom we honor not only as our founder but also as a remarkable American citizen.”

Motion pictures were to have been taken of the various parts of the presentations and unveiling exercises but, due to rain, only the unveiling of the statue and a group picture of the NAD officials was taken. The other parts were filmed the next day, September 8th. Altogether, about 1,000 feet of reel were used.


Outdoor bronzes cannot survive without protection and regular care, and the green crust that typically forms is actually destructive. After noticing the green discoloration on the Gallaudet Statue in 1983, the Executive Committee of ASD’s Board of Directors hired a professional conservator to restore and preserve it. The restoration team arrived on May 21, 1983 and completed the restoration one week later (including the Laurent Clerc bust at no additional cost). The restoration cost $17,000.

In 1985 a new bluestone patio was designed and installed around the Statue by Hokunson Landscaping. This project was sponsored by the West Hartford Garden Club.

In August 1994, ASD contracted the services of a metal maintenance company – RAMCO – to remove oxidation from the Gallaudet Statue.

In 2002 the parking lot in front of the Gallaudet Building was redesigned to add two new parking lots on both sides of the driveway. As construction workers measured the space on either side of the Statue, they discovered that it was off-center by approximately three feet. When the new walkways were added, it became obvious. To re-align the Statue on center, it was moved off its original foundation (which was broken up) and placed on a new foundation perfectly centered between the driveways.

Time Capsules  1925

When the Gallaudet Statue was originally installed on ASD’s new school site in 1925, a time capsule was placed in its base. 

Items in the capsule included:

◊ American Annals, October 1850

◊ ASD Biennial Report, 1922-24

◊ Connecticut Register, 1854

◊ Thomas H. Gallaudet’s book “Scriptural History Series for Children”

◊ Gallaudet College Catalog, 1922-23

◊ Geer’s Hartford City Directory, 1860s

◊ Several of Caroline Sweet’s textbooks for children

◊ Single issues of the American Era

◊ Current issues of Hartford newspapers

◊ Gallaudet Association souvenir ribbon

Unfortunately, the contents were badly damaged by water and moisture and did not survive.


For the school’s 175th anniversary, staff and students buried a time capsule in the ground in front of the Statue on Founders’ Day, April 9, 1992.

Over the site, they placed a marble plaque that read:

Commemorating ASD’s 175th Anniversary 

To be Opened in 2017

An itemized list of contents was not recorded other than, “In this capsule are mementos, messages, and souvenirs of things that represent ASD.”


Both of these time capsules were opened when the Gallaudet Statue was re-centered on September 12, 2002. A new time capsule – replacing the 1925 one – was filled with an assortment of collectibles from ASD staff and students and submerged in the wet concrete of the new foundation. After the foundation dried, a second time capsule – filled with historical items – was placed inside the Statue as it was set on its new foundation, replacing the one buried during the 175th anniversary in 1992.

1926 Principal's House

Principal’s House


The principal’s new residence was added to the campus in 1926 at a cost of $16,000. The house was originally situated directly across the left wing of Gallaudet Hall (the girls’ side) – it now overlooks the new Quad. The house is of colonial architecture and was built of brick to match the new school. It is a 5,600 square feet structure with three floors and ten rooms. The grounds included a garage, various flower and vegetable gardens, a small fish pond, and custom fencing. Shortly after the  house was built, the boys from Mr. Bonham’s carpentry class added the canopies over each entrance. In 1938 the recreation room (sunroom) was added to the southside of the house (also constructed by the male students).

1929 - 1930 Log Cabin

 Log Cabin

1929 – 1930 

The Log Cabin once stood at the western end of the campus, near a pond formed by the then-dammed Trout Brook. It was built by our boys and their male teachers in 1929(completed in 1930) as a place to “hang out.” The boys also cleared the site, cut the trees, and trimmed the logs. Contributions of money, bricks, lime, sand, and windows were made by staff, alumni, friends, families, and the Board of Directors. The Log Cabin included two stories, eight windows, a fireplace, and a storage closet. It was used for picnics, class reunions, after-school and weekend gatherings, and scouting activities. It was removed in the Spring of 1963 due to deterioration and decay.


May 1930 – May 1963

The earliest records of ASD’s log cabin on the West Hartford campus date back to 1922.  The boy scouts (which had been established 12 years earlier at “Old Hartford”) were seeking a location for a scouting campsite and cabin, and received permission from Principal Wheeler to build one in the woods in 1922.  Instead, they chose to pitch their tents at Camp Pioneer.

A few years later, in April 1927, a group of boys – smokers who were regularly exiled to the back woods to smoke – made the same request of Principal Wheeler who, once again, gave his permission to build a log cabin.  Under the guidance of the woodshop teacher, the boys began the project in May by making plans, measuring the space, and clearing the site.  Then they searched for straight and tall trees in the woods.  They cut down about 75 trees, placed the logs on a wagon, and hauled them to the brook about ½ mile away.  They threw the logs into the water so they would float downstream to the cabin site.  In about two weeks they had collected all the logs they needed.

Work progressed slowly, and eventually everyone became curious about the new project.  Soon, the other boys (non-smokers) wanted to be involved, too.  The smokers said “no,” but Joseph Bouchard (a high school teacher) insisted they all be included.

Together, the boys learned how to make notches in the logs and dovetail the corner pieces together.  They hewed the logs for the floors, stairs, and roof and made window frames.  Then they sealed everything with oakum for protection against bad weather and insects.  They also dug a deep pit for the fireplace and mixed cement for the foundation.  Lastly, they built the porch.  Only the fireplace and chimney were constructed by an outside (deaf) bricklayer.  The boys worked on the cabin every weekend, and the school cook even delivered their lunch to the site.

The boys funded a good part of the cabin themselves, but there were other contributors as well:  the Alumni, friends, Mr. Perkins….Mr. Wheeler provided lumber and nails) and one of the parents contributed shingles and oakum.

The cabin was completed in May 1930, and the boys had every reason to be proud of their accomplishment – they even placed a flagpole at the entrance.  Despite its original intentions, the cabin was never limited to the smokers.  On the contrary, it was used by everyone for social gatherings, Alumni meetings, Scouting, picnics, skating in the winter, and swimming in the summer.  It was the most popular recreational spot on campus.

By the early 1960s the cabin had fallen into disrepair and was no longer safe for students to use.  It was demolished in May 1963 and permits were secured to replace it with a guest house-lodge combination.  (Cook Lodge was built in 1964.)

1933 Greenhouse



In the early 1930s, vocational classes were filled – every student was anxious to learn skills that would enable them to enter the workforce at the earliest opportunity. ASD’s staff and Board were committed to expanding training along vocational lines and often added new courses to the program. When a new course called “Floriculture” was introduced in 1933, it was so popular that a new greenhouse (above) was built. It measured 14 feet wide x 16 feet length x 5 feet height on the sides and 11 feet height at the peak. It was laid out by the shop instructor, located behind the Principal’s House, and built entirely by the students. To accommodate the growing list of students, an additional (larger) greenhouse was built next to this one in 1937.

1938 Brewster Gym Expansion

Brewster Gym Expansion


The expansion – or “second peak” – of the original Brewster Gym provided a much larger basketball court and added space for other indoor games. The regulation basketball court measured 57 feet wide by 84 feet long, with a 21 feet ceiling. These were ideal dimensions for high school basketball, and the court was considered a “model” in its day. Other amenities included a balcony along one entire side, new bleachers, larger locker and shower rooms, a trophy room, storage room, and new office for the coach. The addition was also designed so that the boys’ locker rooms opened to the football field. The entire gymnasium was heated by automatic blowers. The cost of the addition was $17,800, funded by friends of the school.


1943 Root Cellar

 Root Cellar


In response to government rationing during the World War II years, ASD grew their own victory garden to offset anticipated food shortages. Over ten acres of vegetable gardens were planted and harvested behind the athletic fields – all overseen by Mr. Bob Taylor, the school’s Grounds & Buildings Superintendent, and maintained by male students. Pigs and chickens were raised as well. Harvested vegetables were canned, pigs were salted, and poultry was dressed by the girls in cooking classes. To accommodate the cold storage needs of the large amount of preserved food, an 8,800 cubic feet reinforced concrete root cellar was constructed on the side of the hill, behind the school near the woods.

1945 The Barracks

The Barracks


The barracks (west of the vocational buildings) was actually a genuine army barracks in New London, CT. Dr. Boatner purchased the army barracks just before school closed in the summer of 1945. He had it dismantled and transported back to the school in pieces, and it took the entire summer for some of the students and teachers to reconstruct it. The barracks building was originally used to house pigs and chickens, and the students called it the “Poultry Palace”. In 1950, a gift of $4,500 was used to convert the barracks into Girl and Boy Scout Headquarters. Since then it has also been used for the National Theatre for the Deaf, The Converse Communications Center, ASD’s Business Office, and storage.

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