General Jones and the Suffrage Wagon: A Monument Proposal
for Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Our concept focuses on the most prominent feature of Rosalie Gardiner Jones’ grassroots suffrage activism, her “Suffrage Wagon.” The wagon is both symbol and vehicle of Jones’ strength, courage and activism on the road, so we propose to incorporate the “Suffrage Wagon” into the monument as both a testament to Jones’ work and spirit and as a storytelling device. A statue of “General Jones” as a hiker honors Jones’ many long marches for suffrage. A wall inscription identifies the artwork. The monument is installed on a raised walkway, rather than on a freestanding base, in order to underscore the connections between Jones’ time and ours in the continuing struggle for equal rights. While the wagon is engraved with representations of Jones, the monument also includes a statue of Jones to answer the call to broaden New York State’s public art landscape of traditional commemorative statues by the inclusion of underrepresented groups.
Visitors to the site are first struck by the anachronistic image of a wagon parked adjacent to a carpark and paved roads. Based on Jones’ original wagon, this wagon performs as a device for interpretive information. On closer inspection, the surfaces of the wagon come alive with relief work and engraved clippings from Jones’ travels, her struggles and achievements. The engraving figuratively transports key aspects of Jones’s biography and the history of women’s suffrage into the present through an iconic motif of Jones’ life.
Engraving and relief work on the wagon will feature clippings that tell Jones’ story, including her journeys in the “Suffrage Wagon,”, the 1912 “Votes for Women” Hikers March, “GeneralJones” leading her “Army of the Hudson,” “Votes for Women” banners and leaflet bags, her speeches, trips by plane to drop leaflets, etc. Reference material will be selected with input from local historical societies as well as scholars in the field. Dimensional sunflower designs will also embellish the wagon. A separate interpretative sign will not be necessary since the “Suffrage Wagon” itself is used as a vehicle for interpretive information.
A wall will act as a backdrop for the wagon and statue, which will bracket an inscription that could read, “Rosalie Gardiner Jones, Cold Spring Harbor Women’s Suffragist, (1883-1978)” The wagon, statue and wall inscription will be visible from Harbor Road, the parking lot and the driveway because of the raised installation, which should take maximum advantage of the slope of the site. A sitting wall with a railing will provide ample seating facing the monument. Recessed low-glare lighting installed in the paving can illuminate the monument after dusk.
Size and Materials:
Bronze, over–life size (dimensions variable)