Guglielmo Marconi in Roger Williams Park
Diane and I heard that there was a statue to Marconi in Roger Williams Park, so we went to find it one day last winter. There it was, an 18 foot shaft of granite nestled in a copse of trees on a knoll off Frederick Greene Boulevard about 100 yards south of Carr Street.
A handsome and fitting monument to the inventor of the wireless telegraph, it sat overlooking the tranquil pond. I was impressed by its beauty and its power. I needed to know more of the story so, as usual, I went to the best source of information that I know, The Providence Public Library. Betty mailed me the information from the 1953 stories in the Providence Journal.
Work for the monument started before WW II in 1937 or so. It was halted when the United States broke off diplomatic relations with Italy at the start of the War. The granite pieces had been completed and stored in Westerly and Providence.
A committee of undeterred citizens…Walter F. Fitzpatrick, Oresto DiSaia, Frank Rao and Mrs. Alice Thompson, with advice from Antonio Pace and Luigi Scala…moved forward after the War to get the Roger Williams site approved.
The monument was dedicated on October 26, 1953 with Marconi’s proud daughter, Degna Paresce, the guest of honor. Imagine, Marconi’s daughter in Rhode Island not so long ago. “I am honored and pleased,” she said while standing at the foot of the monument. A host of other State and Religious dignitaries were present one of whom, Bishop McVinney, expressed the hope that Marconi’s invention would be used for the good of mankind.. Senators Pastore and Greene said it was fitting for the monument to be in Roger Williams Park as both men…Marconi and Williams… were described as pioneers.
I wonder what Marconi would think if he were present today to see where the wireless world has come. Power indeed.
As you all know so well and have heard me say, I believe it is good to remember and record the past. It is good to recognize those who have contribited. It is good to recognize those who acknowledge genious and so erect lasting monuments.
Giuseppe Marconi, a humble and kind man, typified the “spirit of the good heart and genius for work.”
If you are in the Park, find the Marconi statue and pause for a moment to think of those who made it possible.
I would love to hear your thoughts.