The Ancient Order of Hibernians Hartford Division 2 dedicated the Irish Canal Workers Memorial in Windsor Locks, Conn., on Sunday, March 20.
The memorial honors the 400 immigrant laborers who left their homeland in Ireland and came to the area between May 1827 and November 1829 to build the canal bypassing the treacherous Enfield Rapids.
In particular, the memorial honors those canal workers and family members that are buried in an unmarked cemetery that is located about 100 yards and across the canal from where the memorial is placed.
The fundraising for the memorial came from gifts as large as $500 to just loose change raised at various events. Members of the Irish-American Home Society were very generous to the cause, as was Ahlstrom-Munksjo, Inc., an international company, which has a location in Windsor Locks that dates back for 250 years. A fundraising night was also held at Puerto Vallarta Restaurant in Newington, Conn., that raised money for the memorial.
The monument was designed and constructed by K.G. Kenna Memorials, Inc., of Wethersfield, East Hartford, and Manchester, Conn.
United States Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman John Larson attended the event as did AOH National Director Richard Thompson and Connecticut State President Brian O’Neill.