Elephant Memorial - Deep River, CT
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member chrissyml
N 41° 23.100 W 072° 26.160
18T E 714385 N 4584669
Quick Description: A memorial to tel elephants killed for their tusks
Location: Connecticut, United States
Date Posted: 6/13/2021 6:59:43 AM
Waymark Code: WM14CVA
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 2

Long Description:
Text of the plaque:

"During the 1800's Deep River was the center of America's ivory trade. Elephant tusks from Africa were brought to Deep River landing for local factories to make piano keys, combs, buttons, and billiard balls. Up to 100,000 elephants a year were killed, their tusks transported by slaves, to sustain this trade. Deep River remembers its debt to this majestic creature as it looks forward to a new future as "Queen of the Valley.""

Deep River, and the boro of Ivoryton located within it, became very wealthy because of elephant tusks.

From National Geographic:

"A Town Built on Ivory

Deep River is more like an idyllic country village than a town, but it has a dark history: It owes its prosperity to the ivory trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Over the weekend, hundreds of locals gathered to immerse themselves in understanding their town’s ivory history. They attended lectures with local historian Brenda Milkofsky, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Herb Raffaele spoke about the challenges of the illegal trade. U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney also graced the event, and I spoke about the ongoing massacres on the ground in Africa.

I was amazed that so few people knew about the animal whose teeth had brought wealth to their village. They watched the award-winning National Geographic film Battle for the Elephants and expressed horror at the unfolding crisis. Children read their own thoughtful essays and poems and displayed creative artworks during an event at the local museum.

Then the community dedicated an elephant sculpture at the entrance of the town hall and laid a plaque with carefully chosen words:

“Deep River remembers its debt to this majestic creature as it looks forward to a new future as ‘Queen of the Valley.’”

One Elephant, 45 Pianos

Indeed, Deep River owes a steep debt to the African elephant. Nestled in the lower Connecticut River Valley, it and the nearby village of Ivoryton in Essex at one time processed up to 90 percent of the ivory that was imported into the United States. John Heminway, writer and director of Battle for the Elephants, and I spent hours learning about the fascinating history of the town’s ivory past, which is beautifully documented and displayed in its local museum. We discovered that during the 19th century, the trade contributed to the slaughter of 100,000 elephants each year, and this went on for decades.

According to the Deep River Historical Society, it began with Phineas Pratt’s invention of the circular saw. This led to the area’s dominance in the production of piano keys—made of ivory. The ivory business was so profitable for Deep River that it won the town the dubious title of “Queen of the Valley,” which refers to its location in the lower Connecticut Valley. Between 1862 and 1863, Deep River and Ivoryton were at the center of ivory milling in the United States.

It was a lucrative business; a 75-pound adult African elephant tusk could yield the wafer-thin ivory veneers to cover the keys of 45 pianos. Ships sailed for East Africa, docking at Zanzibar to load the ivory cargo taken from elephants gunned down deep in the interior of Africa. The business takes an even darker pall when one considers that the ivory was carried on the backs of African slaves.

‘We Can Change the Future’

Rather than shying away from this dark history, the people of Deep River are acknowledging it, teaching it to the younger generations, and contributing toward saving elephants. Some residents told me, “We cannot change the past, but we can change the future.” Grade-school children seemed to grasp the significance of their town’s history, writing lines in their essays such as, “We drove one of the gentlest species on the planet to the brink of extinction,” and “Our blood and elephants’ blood are one.”"

Source: (visit link)

This monument was placed by the Rotary Club outside Deep River's town hall.
Plaque or monument: A mix of the two

Placed by?: Rotary Club of Deep River

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