Our World War I Monument
The Elk Sculpture
Installed in 1930 at the New Brunswick Lodge 324, the bronze elk created by Laura Gardin Fraser was a gift of city resident, Arthur Bishop, to memorialize the former members of that Lodge who died in World War I. The sculpture consists of a bronze depiction of a resting elk placed atop a stepped granite base. It is installed at the front of the Elks Lodge at 40 Livingston Avenue.
The City's bronze elk is a reproduction of Fraser's elk sculpture installed at the $10 million National Memorial of the Elks in Chicago, and it was the second of its kind in the United States. It was shipped to New Brunswick in time for a dedication simultaneous with the observance of the 200th anniversary of the City in October 1930.
Arthur Bishop, prominent citizen, public benefactor, and honorary life member of the Elks, lived at 35 Mine Street. He inherited his fortune, from which he generously bestowed his benefactions upon the Elks, and other entities. In a quiet manner, he aided several institutions of New Brunswick, and also assisted many townspeople through generous financial aid. He shunned public attention to his many kind donations.
Bishop's first gift of $25,000 to the Elks was made in support of work with physically handicapped children. Growing up with a leg deformity, Bishop identified closely with children who were at a physical disadvantage. In his second gift to the Elks, he donated $22,500 for the construction of the Elk statue designed by Laura Gardin Fraser. This gift was made in remembrance of the soldiers, and in particular, the friends he had made within the Elks Lodge who were killed in action.
Arthur Bishop died on February 23, 1932 at the age of 73. Having joined the Elks in December 1929, Mr. Bishop only served for two years before his passing.
Sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser
Born in a suburb of Chicago, artist Laura Gardin Fraser (1889–1966) studied art at the Arts Students League in New York City, and became a prominent early 20th-century sculptor known for both relief and three-dimensional work. The first woman to design a coin for any government, she was awarded the commission of the Alabama Centennial half-dollar in 1921 and the Better Babies medal, made for the Woman’s Home Companion in 1914.
Her subjects were often children or animals, but she is most closely associated with the elk. Amongst her many works and in addition to the City’s elk, she completed a reclining elk for the Elks National Memorial Headquarters Building in Chicago, and the Elks Lodge in Orange, New Jersey.
Fraser’s honors and awards include: The National Arts Club Medal of Honor (1915), the Julia L. Shaw Prize (1919), the Saltus Gold Medal of the National Academy of Design (1924 & 1927), the Ager Prize of the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors (1929) and the Watrous Gold Medal of the National Academy of Design (1931). Her work has also been displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.Laura Gardin Fraser died in 1966 in Westport, Connecticut.
Do You Know…
- The many accomplishments of Paul Robeson?
- Why our City’s oldest and biggest park is called Buccleuch?
- New Brunswick was once called “Prigmore’s Swamp?”
- That the 3rd public reading of the Declaration of Independence happened right here in New Brunswick in 1776?
- Why there’s a street in New Brunswick called “Joyce Kilmer Avenue?”
- Our City’s connection to the classic holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life?”
- That New Brunswick has a World War I memorial?
- That luxury cars and aircraft engines were once manufactured in New Brunswick?