DANBURY, Conn. -- About 100 people gathered outside City Hall on Monday afternoon for the unveiling ceremony of a monument created by a New Fairfield sculptor that pays tribute to Danbury's Hatting days.
The 14-foot bronze and steel monument, named the "Hat Maker," was created by David Boyajian, an adjunct professor of art at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury.
The statue was commissioned by Union Savings Bank to mark its 150th anniversary in Connecticut. The statue portrays a man turning a hat before a large factory window.
"It's a great day to celebrate Danbury's hatting past as an example of who were are and where we have come," Mayor Mark Boughton said at the ceremony.
City Councilman Thomas J. Saadi said the monument will be a reminder to future generations that Danbury was the hat capital of the world. "This monument is a tribute to our hatting history and more importantly, to the people who owned and worked in the first shops and hat factories, who left us a legacy of prosperity in Danbury," he said.
City historian Brigid Guertin, executive director of the Danbury Museum & Historical Society is thrilled with the statue.
"The monument is representational of our Danbury history and our continuous endeavor to show the history of hatting as a successful stepping stone to our current community," she said. "We know this monument will inspire our future artists, artisans, engineers, trade workers and inventors -- and perhaps even a few historians."
According to Boyajian, the statue -- which took five months to complete -- represents the way he envisions the Hatter from years past. "From the right side, it represents the apprentice. From the left, it's the journeyman and the straight on view is of the master. He represents the whole process of the evolution of the worker," said Boyajian, who has been sculpting since 1991.
Cynthia Merkle, president and CEO of Union Savings Bank, said the bank has had weeks of celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary, including a Portuguese Day Parade, a Giving Back Campaign and a birthday card contest for children.
"A lot has changed in Danbury since June 20, 1866, when James S. Taylor was Union Savings Bank's first president," Merkle said. "We continue to demonstrate the passion our founding fathers had for the communities we serve. This sculpture is dedicated to the individuals in this community who grew this community into the success we are today."