Friday, December 13, 2013
AUGUSTA — The installation of a new monument on State Street took less than an hour this morning causing much less of an impact on traffic than the initial four hours projected.
The shut down was needed while workers installed a new monument on the lawn in front of the Kennebec County Courthouse.
The monument is a life-size bronze statue of Melville Weston Fuller, who was born in Augusta and became the eighth chief justice of the United States. A foundation is already in place, Kennebec County Administrator Robert Devlin said. The monument consists of a granite slab and block with an engraving bearing a brief biography of Fuller. Fuller was cast in a seated position, Devlin said.
The monument is a gift of Robert Fuller, a retired Winthrop attorney who, in 2009, spearheaded the installation of the Daniel Cony statue at Cony High School. Melville Fuller is Robert Fuller’s great-great-granduncle.
The courthouse is undergoing a comprehensive overhaul that includes construction of a sizable addition.
Melville Fuller was born in Augusta in 1833. He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick before attending Harvard Law School.
Fuller eventually established a practice in Augusta and launched a newspaper, The Augusta Age. He was elected to the City Council, which at the time was called the Augusta Common Council, and was the city’s attorney, according to the Supreme Court Historical Society.
Fuller moved in 1856 to Chicago, where he had a successful law practice and became politically active.
A Democrat, Fuller was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1863 and served one term. He was offered, and turned down, a chairmanship and the role of solicitor general of the United States.
President Grover Cleveland nominated Fuller to the U.S. Supreme Court when Morrison Waite died in 1888. Fuller served until his death in Sorrento in 1910.