BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) – The Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Division for Historic Preservation announced Friday the illumination of the Bennington Battle Monument in support of the people of Ukraine. The 306-foot monument will be lit up for six weeks, from April 18 to May 26 during the hours of sunset to 11:59 p.m. This is a one-time special illumination event.
The lighting of the monument in the Ukrainian colors of blue and yellow will begin on April 18 at 8 p.m. If you wish to see the initial lighting, you are asked to arrive by 7:30 p.m. at the monument. Participants are invited to bring candles and luminaries.
“President Zelenskyy has told the world that acts of solidarity and showings of support are appreciated by the brave people of Ukraine,” said Governor Phil Scott. “Although on an individual level, there is little any one of us can do, we must continue to come together to show our support, and I appreciate the people of Bennington for coming forward with this idea. The State was happy to help make this happen.”
The tallest man-made structure in Vermont, the 306-foot monument was completed in 1889 to commemorate the 1777 Battle of Bennington, a pivotal victory for the colonial forces on the New England front during the American Revolution. The exterior of the monument is made of Sandy Hill dolomite, a blue-gray magnesian limestone quarried in New York State.
One of the biggest challenges in illuminating the monument is its dark-colored stone, which absorbs colored lights instead of reflecting. The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, stewards of the monument since 1953, hired Kirick Engineering Associates of Williston to identify illumination options for the exterior lighting system that has been shining on the historic structure since 2003.
Custom colored lens adapters, produced by Lawrence Ribbecke Glass Studio, were fitted on the existing lights with metal frames by Conant Metal and Light to give the best illumination of blue and yellow. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) helped with approvals of the temporary option, ensuring the safety of aeronautical space due to the monument’s tapered shape and proximity to the William H. Morse State Airport.
“The special illumination in blue and yellow of this Vermont icon was important to us, but it was not just a matter of changing the light bulbs,” said State Historic Preservation Officer Laura V. Trieschmann. “We had to ensure the aging lighting system was up to the task, get approvals from our partners in Old Bennington and at the FAA, and have special colored lens adapters produced.”
The Bennington Battle Monument will be opening for the season on May 28. The monument is operated by the Division for Historic Preservation, which is part of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.