On May 18, 1894 the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Association of Jamaica was chartered, its purpose to build a monument to perpetuate the memory of those who served in the Union Army in the Civil War — defeating the Confederacy and ending slavery in the United States.
The resulting statue was unveiled and dedicated on Memorial Day 1896 in the middle of Hillside Avenue and Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica. It was a bronze figure of the winged Victory by Fredrick Wellington Ruckstull (1853-1942).
Soon, with the advent of the automobile age, the intersection became hazardous because of its blind turns. The monument association, which owned the land, resisted efforts to have the Victory moved or condemned for safety’s sake.
However, expansion of the IND subway to 169th Street in 1937 left the group no choice but to relocate the statue — though it took 23 years to do it.It was moved to Major Mark Memorial Park at 173rd Street and Hillside Avenue in 1960.
One of the original members of the association was Charles H. Vosburgh (1876-1967), the principal of Jamaica High School from 1919 to 1946. After the other members died and the group was disbanded, Vosburgh turned its records over to the Queens Library.
The monument suffered brutal graffiti and vandalism in the 1970s and ’80s. But today it proudly stands restored and graffiti-free — one of the finest historical jewels in the Jamaica community.