Collyer Monument by Charles Parker Dowler


On July 27, 1884, chief engineer of the Pawtucket Fire Department Samuel S. Collyer died when the fire engine he was riding to a fire overturned. Collyer was considered a hero in the community, and though it took six years to have it installed, a fitting monument was erected in his memory depicting the man in his prime and as he perished. A statue of his figure, in full fire-fighting regalia, megaphone in hand, takes the eye first. Below is a relief depicting the accident.

The monument was commissioned to Providence artist Charles Parker Dowler, who came to Providence from Birmingham, England. Working first as a gunsmith during the Civil War, Dowler later turned to more domestic forms of craftsmanship, such as molding, sculpting, and chiseling in plaster, interior decorating, and residential architectural work. The house he built for himself, the Charles Dowler House, is in the National Register of Historic Places, and his decorative carvings at the Narragansett Hotel earned him wide repute. Aside from his monumental and decorative work, Dowler is recognized for his contribution to American Folk Art as a painter and woodcarver of shop figures. Known particularly for his carvings of “Dudes,” or sporting event bookmakers, Dowler’s work is included in the American Index of Design, a project started in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration to archive authentic American Folk Art. Dowler died in 1931.

Todd Stong





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