On September 14, 2023, the second of our life-size bronze sculptures was unveiled, honoring educator Elisabeth M. Bennet, 1881-1959, school principal at Barnard and Nathan Hale Schools. The statue is located in front of Bennet Academy, 1151 Main Street, near the flagpole. The dedication ceremony was held outdoors, thanking donors, supporters, and artist Michael Keropian. The dedication booklet, with photos and stories, is available on our website by clicking: Miss Bennet in words and pictures.

On November 10, 2019, the first of our life-size bronze sculptures was unveiled, honoring Olympian, athlete, and Manchester native Joe McCluskey. The statue is located along the route of Manchester's Thanksgiving Day Road Race, on Highland Street near its intersection with Wyllys Street. Info: Joe McCluskey.

We are currently raising funds for our third statue, celebrating the achievements of award-winning author Emily Cheney Neville, 1919-1997, born and raised in Manchester. Her autobiographical novel "Traveler From a Small Kingdom" describes her childhood and Manchester life in the 1920s. The book is available online here. "It's like This, Cat," another of her YA (young adult) books, won the Newbery Prize. Emily worked as a journalist before becoming the mother of five children, and when her youngest child started school, she began writing novels, and in later life earned a law degree. You can read "It's Like This, Cat," online here. Click to read more about Emily Cheney Neville and her books. In her authobiography, she said, "I cannot live without reading and writing, and walking around, sometimes quite a distance." Click to read Emily's Autobiography.

More about Miss Bennet, the second of the three sculptures.

MISS BENNET -- Watch Town Troubadour Bill Ludwig sing this Miss Bennet song, original lyrics by Bill and music by Bill and Dan Thompson.
Find out more about Miss Bennet's career as an educator in "Moments with Miss Bennet." Click each icon to bring up the video...

Background on this project. The Sculpture Committee has planned three bronze statues for the Town of Manchester as permanent public art designed to connect us to our past and create a legacy for future generations, emphasizing Manchester's historic assets and illustrating its cultural heritage. The bronze sculptures will honor individuals who have made significant contributions to our community in the areas of sports, education, the arts, inventing, etc. Manchester's history is all around us -- in the architecture, the paintings in Town Hall, the Dancing Bear fountain, and the silk industry legacy left to us by the Cheney family. With thanks to the very generous donors who funded the first two sculptures, the Sculpture Project continues its fundraising efforts. Your investment will make the sculptures a significant asset to our community.

Honorees are:

  • Completed: Joe McCluskey (1911-2002), statue located in the parklet near the intersection of Highland, Wyllys, and Spring Street, along the route of the Manchester Road Race. Joe, Olympic medalist and winner of multiple national titles in various distance events, is credited with the early success of the Manchester Road Race, winning three consecutive years. Click to read the printed program distributed at the November 10, 2019 ceremony dedicating Joe McCluskey's statue. Click to read "Joe McCluskey, Manchester's Greatest Runner."

  • Completed: Elisabeth Bennet (1881-1959), principal of Manchester Public Schools, was credited with many "firsts," including establishing a school library in the basement of Barnard School with donations from friends and her own personal library. She is credited for saving the lives of 1,100 students in the 1913 fire that destroyed the school building. Two years after her death, Barnard Junior High was renamed in her honor to the Elisabeth M. Bennet Middle School. Click to read more about Elisabeth M. Bennet. Click here for information about Miss Bennet's own educational records.

  • Currently fundraising: Emily Cheney Neville (1919-1997), see biographical information above.

    The committee: Inspired by the possibilites of public art and support from the community, the committee has organized and raised funds to honor Manchester's historic figures with sculptures. Committee members are Lynn Sottile, Joyce Hodgson Post, Tana Parseliti, Donna Fitzgerald, Michele O'Neil, Ann Lucente, Catherine Wynn, Susan Wright, Susan Barlow, Edward Burzawa, Catherine Thrall, and Dorothy Malerba.

    One of our fund-raising projects was a house tour of six private homes in Manchester on Saturday, October 13, 2018. Read more, including information about each house: House Tour Pamphlet.