The Village Park, adjacent to the harbor on Bay Street, was designed in the 1930’s by renowned Landscape Architect and Watch Hill resident, Marian Kruger Coffin. Her plans included “Chief Ninigret” the fountain statue created by Enid Yandell, a student of Auguste Rodin, and cast by Alexis Rudner in Paris in 1914. The statue was brought to the US and dedicated in memory of Clement A. Griscom as a gift to the Village. Ms. Coffin’s plan also called for a fountain in the southern end of the Park.
The WHMLIS commissioned Sylvia Shaw to create what became “The Dreamer” statue, which was donated in 1940 by Mrs. Ridley Watts in memory of her late husband. The Gazebo was later added to the Village Park, courtesy of the Lattner Family Foundation, whose support continues today. As with the entire Village Park, the Gazebo is for the enjoyment of all, and as such is not available for private functions or rentals.
The WHMLIS was instrumental in the creation of the Village Park and continues to this day to help the Watch Hill Fire District maintain the Park for all to enjoy. Visit www.whmlis.org for more details on the history of the Park.
During summer months, free concerts are held on certain Tuesday evenings, with free parking made available behind One Bay Street. For the concert schedule, please see our Events Calendar.
A statue to the Niantic tribe’s Chief Ninigret has watched over Watch Hill since 1913, although it has moved several times. The statue originally sculpted by American Enid Yandell in Paris in 1911 was given to the Watch Hill Fire District by Mrs. Clement A. Griscom. Originally a fountain located at the corner of Westerly Road and Ninigret Avenue, water would pour from the fish’s mouths on either side of the esteemed chief. In 1936, Chief Ninigret was moved to the Watch Hill Village Park, however it was moved again to the Memorial House library in 1951 and the plumbing was removed. The chief was moved back to the park in 1966, however his placement in the park and the direction of his gaze have been up for much discussion.
“The wandering of our Indian and the activities about him have gone apace. We hope by next summer that he will be placed on a boulder beside the waters of our bay facing the setting sun, a beautiful view, and a beautiful statue. May he rest peacefully undisturbed, for all time, is our earnest prayer.” – Watch Hill Improvement Society President Sarah Means Spencer. August 20, 1935.
“The Dreamer” Fountain
Another Watch Hill Village Park landmark is “The Dreamer” Fountain. Commissioned by the Watch Hill Improvement Society and sculpted by Sylvia Shaw Judson in 1940, the image of a young child sits atop a public fountain at the south end of the park. The fountain and sculpture were donated to the fire district by Mrs. Ridley Watts in memory of her husband.
A relatively new addition, the Watch Hill Gazebo was given to the town in the late 1990’s by the Lattner family in memory of Frances Howe Lattner. The gazebo was given for the enjoyment of all, and as such is not available for private functions or rentals. That said, the gazebo is open to the public and it is a wonderful place to avoid the elements on hot or rainy days.