NORTHFIELD, N.H. — Charles Tilton had cash. Lots of it. His Gold Rush fortune paid for bridges, a new Town Hall, and public statuary throughout the hamlet named in his family’s honor. So when the wealthy benefactor wanted a memento of his trip to Rome in 1881, a mere postcard or souvenir ashtray wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, Tilton built a colossal memorial arch atop a 150-foot-high peak in close eyeshot of his grand mansion.
Inspired by the Arch of Titus, the Concord granite monument overlooking downtown Tilton soars more than five stories high. Tilton dedicated the structure to his ancestors and hoped that, in contrast to its Roman counterpart, his arch would commemorate peace, not war. The Tilton Arch indeed crowns a tranquil park with expansive views of the New Hampshire countryside.