Click photo to enlarge
The Bennington Battle Monument on Sunday, as the sun was starting to set.

BENNINGTON>> The Bennington Battle Monument officialy opened for the season on Saturday.

It's the 306-foot monument's 125th anniversary and a slew of events are planned for the year, including a "monumental birthday party" this summer.

Site Administrator Marylou Chicote said the monument, visited by 50,000 people a year, had a steady flow of visitors by Saturday afternoon.

Among them were eight-year-old Daniel Wiedl and six-year-old Eli Wiedl, with their father Ryan Wiedl, all of Cambridge, N.Y.

"I thought it was amazing to be at a place where something important happened, " Daniel said. "It's a great view from the top

"It's really high," Eli added. "When you see people, they look like ants."

"The boys have been wanting to come here for a while. We're just getting out of soccer and had some time. This is my first time too," Ryan said.

Prior to it's opening, the monument's elevator recently underwent $120,000 worth of work. New components have replaced the monument 's original Otis Elevator, which was installed in 1956 after the state took ownership.

This spring, new visual displays will also be installed, Chicote said. One poster on the ground level will tell the story of the Battle of Bennington on Aug. 16, 1777, across the state border in Walloomsac, N.Y. — the monument stands on the ground of a Continental military storehouse that was the objective of the British attack. Another will discuss the monument's history — the idea, the people involved, different designs considered and how it was constructed. And interpretive maps on the 205-foot high observation deck will tell visitors the various sites they can see in the distance.


A historic guest book dating back decades will be available for perusal on the ground floor, along with a new guest book.

"We get visitors from all over the world. But we really want people from Bennington to take part in our events," Chicote said. "We want people who live here to appreciate it too. The monument is part of why we're all here in Bennington."

Events at the monument this year include: