Chauncey Depew Statue Dedication 1918

On September 24, 1918 the statue of Chauncey M. Depew was unveiled in Depew Park, Peekskill, NY. Chauncey himself, who was 84 years old, was on hand to assist in the ceremony. The park was originally purchased from Native Americans in 1685 by Chauncey’s ancestor François du Puy under a license from Governor Thomas Donagan and was donated by Mr. Depew to the Village of Peekskill. Fellow 1840 classmate of Chauncey’s from Peekskill Military Academy, Sanford R. Knapp, made the presentation speech.

According to the NY Times “Mr. Depew, in his speech, told of the early history of Peekskill and the efforts of many of the old Peekskill citizens during the civil war, when Mr. Depew was Secretary of State for New York, and the heroism of the soldiers who marched away then. Praising the American Army in France today.”

The NYT also transcribed part of Depew’s speech:

“Now the boys of our village are fighting over there. Though the seas divide them from us there is no waking moment when they are not in our thoughts. We have the youngest army that ever walked on a battlefield, but it understands as well as the President and the Cabinet or the House and the Senate why it is in France. It asks no loot on territory or indemnity, but it is determined never to return until autocracy has been beaten to its knees, until militarism has received its death blow, and until the world is sure of permanent peace with liberty.”

The statue was created by Sigurd Neandross and was unveiled by Miss Helen Husted, who was the daughter of General James W. Husted.

About John G. Testa

Former District 1 County Legislator, John G. Testa is served five terms at the Westchester County Board of Legislators, spending the last 3 terms as BOL Minority Leader. John G. Testa is a lifelong resident of Peekskill who first entered elected public service as a member of the Peekskill Common Council in 1998 and then served three terms as Mayor. He previously served on the Conservation and Parks Advisory Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. John became an elected official eager to improve the City in which his family has lived for more than a century and quickly earned a reputation as a strong, independent, nonpartisan voice for fiscal responsibility. John received a BS degree in Technology from SUNY Oswego, where his academic achievements gained him induction into Epsilon Pi Tau, the International Honorary Fraternity of Technology. He earned his MS degree in Technology from the City College of New York. He began his teaching career in 1980 at Peekskill High School, his alma mater, as an instructor in Technology and Social Studies, retiring in 2013 after 33 years teaching. John has been a leader in support for the Arts Community in Westchester. He presided over the construction of the Peekskill Art Lofts, the establishment of the Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, and the complete restoration of the Paramount Center for the Arts, originally a 1930’s movie house and helped bring critical funding to many Westchester programs. Legislator Testa received the “Advancing the Arts in Westchester Award” by ArtsWestchester. John has a been a leader on environmental issues for two decades and has a long record of initiatives he has supported and spearheaded. His active involvement in developing and promoting environmentally friendly policies began as mayor and continued throughout his time as Westchester County Legislator. His efforts consistently earned John the endorsement of the NY League of Conservation Voters. John’s most recognizable accomplishment has been his promotion and preservation of local history and historic landmarks, bringing an unprecedented focus on the region’s rich history, and its legacy of historic Victorian architecture. His roots in historical preservation stem from his experience as a Revolutionary War re-enactor and member of The Brigade of the American Revolution for 50 years. John was instrumental in securing the preservation of the Lincoln Depot, now the Lincoln Depot Museum, where he now serves as President. The museum was recognized in 2015 as one of The Best Museums in Westchester. He also secured the preservation of historic Fort Hill as parkland, a 40-acre parcel that was originally a Revolutionary War encampment site. Under his leadership, the United States Dept. of the Interior declared Peekskill a “Preserve America Community.” John was able to establish a record number of National Register designations of local structures, including the first Downtown and Neighborhood Historic Districts and supported the preservation of the historic Miller House in North White Plains. In 2017 John was named a “Champion of History” by the Lincoln Society in Peekskill. John and his wife of 37 years, Nancy, live in Peekskill and have two adult children, John, Jr. (fiancé Courtney Kelly) and Katy (husband Mike Mearon). John and Nancy recently welcomed the arrival of their first grandchild, Lacey Mae, in 2019.
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3 Responses to Chauncey Depew Statue Dedication 1918

  1. Domenic(Rick) Politi says:

    Hello, Mr. Testa. Have tremendously enjoyed your PEEKSKILL archive collection of photographs some years ago. Being from the CITY(not Village of course, prior to 1940), 1957-2003, and walking through Depew Park a few less times than through the front door of my house(and of my parents), I never recall seeing(noticing?) the DEPEW STATUE, which I recall reading once, had been financed by Mr. Depew for the occasion above(dedication/1918). Can you tell us where it is at this time, and if moved, when?

  2. The Depew statue has never been moved and is still located in Depew Park. The location is on the knoll next to the playground area. The ‘figure eight’ pool lies in between the playground and the Depew Statue. Thanks for your note and for enjoying my posts!

    • Domenic(Rick) Politi says:

      I am still a bit confused, is this to the rear of the DEPEW PARK OFFICE, which is at the top of a knoll with the “abbreviated” Lake Mitchell(C. Mitchell Depew) at bottom, a wing filled c. 1990(?) with small children’s park to follow. If so, I have never walked behind that building.

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