Historic Marker Dedicated on Oct. 25th for Brighton War Hero and Famous Fictional Protagonist

photo of historical marker, at time of dedication, Oct 2020, for Edward Crone's boyhood home site in Brighton, NY

L-R: Grant Holcomb, former Director of the Memorial Art Gallery, Historic Brighton President Matt Bashore, Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle

On on Sunday, October 25th, Historic Brighton dedicated a historical marker commemorating Edward Crone and his inspiration for Vonnegut’s character, at the site of Edward Crone’s boyhood home at 1627 Monroe Ave. (now M&T Bank). The marker was made possible thanks to grant from Bruce and Dana Gianniny, and with the cooperation and support of M&T Bank and Royal Oak Realty.

photo of author Kurt Vonnegut, hisnovel Slaughterhouse Five cover, photo of Edward R. Crone, Jr.

Slaughterhouse-Five is a 1969 novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. One of his most popular works and widely regarded as an American classic, it combines science fiction elements with an analysis of the human condition from an uncommon perspective, using time travel as a plot device and the 1945 fire-bombing of the city of Dresden, which Vonnegut witnessed, as a starting point.

Billy Pilgrim is the novel’s chief protagonist. Billy Pilgrim randomly travels through time and is abducted by the “four-dimensional” aliens known as the Tralfamadorians. He is also a prisoner of war in Dresden during World War II, and his later life is greatly influenced by what he saw during the war. He travels between parts of his life repeatedly and randomly, meaning he’s literally lived through the events more than once. He travels back and forth so often that he develops a sense of fatalism about his life because he knows how he is going to die and how his life is going to work out. Vonnegut identified the inspiration for his character as fellow infantryman and prisoner-of-war Edward R. Crone. Crone lived in Brighton, graduated from Brighton High School, and attended Hobart College; he died of malnutrition in German custody a month before the end of the war in Europe.

Crone, an innocent gentle everyman, who died sharing his meager rations with his comrades, inspired writer Kurt Vonnegut who admitted in 1995 to a Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reporter that Edward “Joe” Crone was Billy Pilgrim. A few years before his death, Vonnegut visited Crone’s grave site at Mount Hope Cemetery, and the cynical author visibly wept, saying the visit “finally closed out the Second World War for me.”

Historic Marker Dedicated on Oct. 25th for Brighton War Hero and Famous Fictional Protagonist

photo of historical marker, at time of dedication, Oct 2020, for Edward Crone's boyhood home site in Brighton, NY

L-R: Grant Holcomb, former Director of the Memorial Art Gallery, Historic Brighton President Matt Bashore, Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle

On on Sunday, October 25th, Historic Brighton dedicated a historical marker commemorating Edward Crone and his inspiration for Vonnegut’s character, at the site of Edward Crone’s boyhood home at 1627 Monroe Ave. (now M&T Bank). The marker was made possible thanks to grant from Bruce and Dana Gianniny, and with the cooperation and support of M&T Bank and Royal Oak Realty.

photo of author Kurt Vonnegut, hisnovel Slaughterhouse Five cover, photo of Edward R. Crone, Jr.

Slaughterhouse-Five is a 1969 novel by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. One of his most popular works and widely regarded as an American classic, it combines science fiction elements with an analysis of the human condition from an uncommon perspective, using time travel as a plot device and the 1945 fire-bombing of the city of Dresden, which Vonnegut witnessed, as a starting point.

Billy Pilgrim is the novel’s chief protagonist. Billy Pilgrim randomly travels through time and is abducted by the “four-dimensional” aliens known as the Tralfamadorians. He is also a prisoner of war in Dresden during World War II, and his later life is greatly influenced by what he saw during the war. He travels between parts of his life repeatedly and randomly, meaning he’s literally lived through the events more than once. He travels back and forth so often that he develops a sense of fatalism about his life because he knows how he is going to die and how his life is going to work out. Vonnegut identified the inspiration for his character as fellow infantryman and prisoner-of-war Edward R. Crone. Crone lived in Brighton, graduated from Brighton High School, and attended Hobart College; he died of malnutrition in German custody a month before the end of the war in Europe.

Crone, an innocent gentle everyman, who died sharing his meager rations with his comrades, inspired writer Kurt Vonnegut who admitted in 1995 to a Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reporter that Edward “Joe” Crone was Billy Pilgrim. A few years before his death, Vonnegut visited Crone’s grave site at Mount Hope Cemetery, and the cynical author visibly wept, saying the visit “finally closed out the Second World War for me.”

January 26, 2020 – “Remarkable Rochesterians”

Presented by Jim Memmott.

Popular Democrat & Chronicle columnist, Jim Memmott, will be the speaker at Historic Brighton’s 2020 Annual Meeting on January 26. Jim is marking 10 years of bringing us stories about “Remarkable Rochesterians”* in his popular weekly D & C column. That list now tops a remarkable 500, including many people who lived and worked in the Town of Brighton. We will learn about their contributions to their community, the nation and the world.

Sunday, January 26, 2020 – 2:30PM
Brickstone Wintergarden

Photo of Jim Memmott

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