Historic wolf heads returned to Brooklyn

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BROOKLYN, Conn. (WTNH) — For the last 10 years, replica wolf heads have adorned General Israel Putnam’s statue in the center of Brooklyn after the original wolf heads were stolen in 1984 and 1985. The replicas replaced them in 2005, but now the originals are back.

“It is 20 pounds,” said Elaine Knowlton, showing the wolf heads. “It’s bronze-finished according to Gerhardt’s design.”

Karl Gerhardt designed the General Putnam statue, which was dedicated in June 1888.

“What we’re looking at now, of course, is almost 100 years on the statue and another almost 30 years, we don’t know where it’s been,” said Knowlton, Curator of the Brooklyn Historical Society Museum.

She didn’t think she’d see the wolf heads again, but a resident spotted them in a catalog for the Ingraham Auction in Coventry.

“I was flabbergasted,” said Knowlton.

The auction house sold them to the town at cost and an anonymous donor came forward with the $650, bringing the wolf heads home where the legacy of General Putnam and how he killed the she-wolf lives on.

“He had a rope tied around him so that they could pull him out,” said Knowlton, recalling how Putnam went into the wolf den.

Once restored, the wolf heads will be displayed inside the museum and kept under lock and key.

“But they’re not the kind of thing that one can easily slip into one’s pocket, you know,” Knowlton said with a laugh.

She doesn’t know when they’ll be putting the two original wolf heads back on display for the public to see, but it may be in August, 30 years after the second wolf head was stolen.

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