The mystery of the missing monument at Bay Bulls Big Pond that was solved four years ago, is apparently a mystery again, though for different reasons.
The monument to aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne, who pitched down on Bay Bulls Big Pond on July 12, 1933, went missing from its site four years ago, causing residents in the area to worry about what had happened to it.
It turned out that staff with the City of St. John’s had removed it, promising at the time it would be re-erected at a different site near the pond once some construction at the water treatment plant there was completed.
Four years later however, with that construction long over, the monument is still under wraps – somewhere. When reached Tuesday, Ward Five councillor Wally Collins promised to look into it and was shocked to learn City officials plan to move the monument to Quidi Vidi Lake, where Lindbergh also touched down.
“I’m not too fussy about them taking it out of the Goulds, to be truthful,” Collins said. “If they want to put another monument down at Quidi Vidi, that’s up to them. I don’t want it taken out of the Goulds.”
Collins said he intends to discuss the matter with the staff person responsible for the decision. He said the monument was removed in the first place because nobody was maintaining it. “And there was a lot of garbage and everything being dumped down around that area,” he added.
But Collins said he can’t see why the monument can’t be erected again and maintained better this time around. “I’m going to look into it further,” he said.
Goulds resident Don Earle, who grew up near the Big Pond and alerted the Irish Loop Post to the monument’s disappearance four years ago, was the person who brought attention to its status again this time. He called several weeks ago wondering if there was any news on the monument, as it had not been reinstalled at the pond.
“The monument itself is thrown out on the ground behind the water treatment plant, just like an old rock,” he said. “Being from there, I’m having a problem accepting the fact that a part of our history, a part of what happened in there, is being thrown by the wayside and kind of forgotten about.”
Earle made those comments about a month ago. When the Irish Loop Post visited the water treatment plant on Tuesday, there was no obvious sign of the monument anywhere on the grounds indicating it has since been removed to yet another location.
Earle suspects some official decided arbitrarily to have the monument removed from the Big Pond on the pretext that visitors to it were leaving garbage.
“That’s a load of BS,” he said. “There was never any garbage dumped in there like there is in off the pipeline or in the woods. I used to be in there every day. They’re full of baloney. They wanted an easy way out of blocking off access to that pond because it’s a water treatment area. And my problem is the powers that be told us they were getting ready to erect a (new) site at the bottom of the pond, which never, ever happened.”
Earle said he understands the pond is a water supply and has to be protected. But he is confident that if senior officials checked with the City workers who actually clean up the area, they would learn the monument wasn’t used as a dumping ground.
The Lindbergh visit - at the time he was one of the most famous people in the world being not only an aviation pioneer, but also a celebrity because of the infamous and tragic kidnapping of his child – is part of the area’s history, Earle said. “Is it acceptable just to throw that stuff to the wayside and forget about it?” he asked. “That was part of the pride of being a Big Pond boy… I don’t think it’s good enough.”
It doesn’t come close to the mystery of what really happened to the Lindbergh baby, but the whereabouts of a monument dedicated to his father that had gone missing from its home aside Bay Bulls Big Pond has been solved.
An official with the City of St. John’s says the monument has been taken down and is being stored for placement at a different site near the pond once some construction at the water supply plant is completed.
The monument is dedicated to aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, who was no stranger to Newfoundland, having made history by flying over St. John’s in 1927 in his plane the Spirit of St. Louis on his way from New York to Paris in what was then the world’s first solo, non-stop transatlantic flight.
On July 12, 1933, Lindbergh and his wife Anne pitched down on Bay Bulls Big Pond drawing a crowd of onlookers from the city. It was an era of rapid aviation growth, with a fleet of Italian planes landing at Cartwright, Labrador on the same day enroute to the United States. By then, Lindbergh was even more famous, but tragically so, because of the kidnapping and murder of his 18-month old son Charles Jr., in March of 1932.
Sometime subsequent to the 1933 visit to Newfoundland, a monument was erected in Lindbergh’s honour just off the main road near the head of Bay Bulls Big Pond. A city official said when the city took over the area as part of its watershed in the 1980s, it found the monument in disrepair and fixed up the site, even adding a picnic table and garbage can for people dropping by to view it.
However, lately a trailer was parked at the site and city officials became worried that the area could get polluted. About a month ago, the monument was removed.
One local resident, who has asked to remain unnamed, isn’t happy with the decision. The resident, who grew up near the pond, said the monument pre-dates the city’s acquisition of the area.
“They (the city) took the monument out of there and there was no notification to the residents of Bay Bulls Big Pond,” said the man. “I’m sure over the years there have been thousands and thousands of people who have stopped down there and had a little picnic. I know I spent a lot of time down there over the years with my children. Now I don’t know the history of it, but he (Lindbergh) landed on Big Pond and they put up a monument all about it. There was a picnic table there and a garbage bucket and it was a nice little place to go in and relax for a little bit with your children and the City removed it.”
The man said local residents used to take pride in the fact the monument was never vandalized. “There was never any garbage thrown around there, there were no problems with loitering,” the man said. “I just want it brought to people’s attention that it’s gone, They’re talking about putting the monument at the foot of the pond down where Newfoundland Power has all the generators. Now I mean that’s not a spot where you want to be hanging out with your children.”