The first Civil War Monument in Brewer was placed at the Oak Hill Cemetery off from Route 15 in South Brewer at a dedication ceremony on May 30, 1873. The small obelisk-style monument is made of Frankfort, Maine granite and includes Italian marble plaques. The statue was designed by the Hallowell Granite Company and S.P. Bradbury of Bangor. The funds to erect the statue came from the townspeople, the Brewer Artillery unit from the Civil War and public donations. The main inscription on the statue facing the river is as follows: “In Memory of the Citizens Soldiers of Brewer Who Died in Defense of Our Country – War of 1861-65.” The other three sides list the names of Brewer citizens who died in the conflict.
Chamberlain Freedom Park, located on a hillside at 12 State Street is both a tribute to General Joshua L. Chamberlain, the Civil War hero and Brewer native (who grew up at 80 Chamberlain Street) and to the role that Brewer played in the “Underground Railroad” in southern slaves’ flight to freedom. It includes a statue to General Chamberlain and a granite monument to the 20th Maine, Third Brigade, First Division Fifth Corps of the Union Army of the 1860s. The park is designed to depict the breastworks and flank of the Union line that the 20th Maine tenaciously defended and held on Little Round Top. Chamberlain lead the Maine men at the pivotal battle against the Confederate troops on July 3, 1863 battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania during the Civil War. General Chamberlain won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his defense there, was chosen by General Grant to accept the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, was elected Maine’s Governor and later became the President of Bowdoin College.
Visitors will also find a bronze sculpture, called “North to Freedom” depicting a slave climbing out of a tunnel. The tunnel itself had previously been hidden under the historic John Holyoke House that was torn down in 1995 to accommodate the construction of the replacement Penobscot Bridge to Bangor. Both the house and the tunnel were allegedly part of the secret route used by slaves to escape from the American South into Canada in the 19th century.