fb-pixel Skip to main content

Maureen Wall may have commissioned the new piece that she and her three brothers donated to the Burlington Sculpture Park in memory of their parents, but that didn’t stop her from becoming as emotional as everyone else at the recent unveiling ceremony.

“I tried not to cry, because it wasn’t supposed to be a sad time,” said Wall, who lives in Woburn. “I know the committee thinks we did them a favor by donating the sculpture, but in reality, they did one for us.”

The 6-foot sculpture is a customized version of “Love Birds,” a pair of painted steel cardinals perched upon a steel heart by Haverhill artist Dale Rogers. He also created “Havoc,” a smaller version of his iconic “American Dog” sculpture that points the way from the tip of the common across the street to the other sculptures gracing the open field between the Burlington Police Department and Grand View Farm.

Last year, Roger replaced the original “American Dog” sculpture seen by many motorists off Route 495 in Haverhill with an even larger version: 25 feet tall and about 32 feet long.

Advertisement



“It’s super humbling whenever a client asks me to do something that has special meaning, and the fact this is being shared with the park is great,” Rogers said. “The dog has been a crowd-pleaser for a long time, but ‘Love Birds’ is a great piece to me. It’s very spiritual for a lot of people; not religious or defining, but spiritual in a way that’s balanced with nature. Maybe it’s corny that I feel this way, but it makes me happy when I look at it.”

Wall said she selected that design from Rogers’s website because she has felt comforted by a male and female cardinal that have regularly visited her yard since the passing of her parents, longtime Burlington residents Thomas E. Murray Jr. and Florence Murray.

Advertisement



Thomas, who died from Alzheimer’s disease at age 79 on Oct. 1, 2018, was a Burlington firefighter and founder of B&T Construction who developed numerous neighborhoods and built more than 200 homes in the town alone. He was married for 57 years to Florence (Wagner), who owned the Soap & Suds laundromat in downtown Burlington before working as head traffic supervisor for the town and office manager for B&T Construction. She succumbed to cancer at age 77 on Dec. 12, 2019.

Wall said she and her brothers — Tom Murray of Burlington, Ted Murray of Dunstable, and Mark Murray of Rumney, N.H. — were inspired by their father’s tribute honoring his own father. Following the death of former Burlington police chief and highway superintendent Thomas E. Murray Sr. in 1989, Thomas E. Murray Jr. beautified a piece of town-owned land and placed a granite memorial at the intersection of Bedford Street and Terrace Hall Avenue.

“It’s a place we can go to be with him and think about his life, rather than focus on his death in a cemetery,” said Wall, who followed in her mother’s footsteps in becoming a traffic supervisor for the Burlington Police Department. Similarly, she said she is “over-the-moon excited” about the central location of the sculpture, which she enjoys seeing even when driving by. Those who make an up-close visit may scan a QR code at the site to read the backstory.

Advertisement



“We want people to enjoy [the sculpture],” Wall said, “and hopefully want to learn about our parents’ lives if they didn’t know them.”

The Burlington Sculpture Park opened in summer 2020 with six works, each leased for two years with the option to purchase. This past July, sculptor Joshua Ruder of Greenfield added three park benches carved from boulders and granite excavated from Mary Cummings Park in Burlington. One is dubbed the “unity bench” because it was funded by Burlington Planning Board clerk Paul Raymond and Attorney Robert Buckley, a member of the Sculpture Park and Master Plan Steering committees and senior partner at Riemer & Braunstein LLP, as a nod to their shared dedication to balancing the needs of the town’s residential and business communities.

Yet the committee hadn’t anticipated a community member wanting to donate a sculpture, according to Barbara L’Heureux, a member of the Sculpture Park Committee and Burlington Planning Board.

“It’s such a unique and meaningful way to remember a loved one,” L’Heureux said. “It’s wonderful for Maureen and her family, but also very generous for the community because we would not have had the funds to install another sculpture this year. We hope more people want to do it.”

Meanwhile, a free public event is planned at the park on Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. featuring performances by The Red Trouser Show (an acrobat/juggling duo) and members of the Burlington High School chorus and band. For more information, visit burlingtonsculpturepark.org.

“It is wonderful to see the park becoming part of the fabric of our community,” L’Heureux said.

Advertisement



For more information, visit burlingtonsculpturepark.org.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.