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Monuments & Memorials

"The centennial of World War One offers an opportunity for people in the United States
to learn about and commemorate the sacrifices of their predecessors."

from The World War One Centennial Commission Act, January 14, 2013

DCWorldWarMonumen 1World War One was a watershed in American history. The United States' decision to join the battle in 1917 "to make the world safe for democracy" proved pivotal in securing allied victory — a victory that would usher in the American Century.

In the war's aftermath, individuals, towns, cities, counties, and states all felt compelled to mark the war, as did colleges, businesses, clubs, associations, veterans groups, and houses of worship. Thousands of memorials—from simple honor rolls, to Doughboy sculptures, to grandiose architectural ensembles—were erected throughout the US in the 1920s and 1930s, blanketing the American landscape.

Each of these memorials, regardless of size or expense, has a story. But sadly, as we enter the war's centennial period, these memorials and their very purpose—to honor in perpetuity the more than four million Americans who served in the war and the more than 116,000 who were killed—have largely been forgotten. And while many memorials are carefully tended, others have fallen into disrepair through neglect, vandalism, or theft. Some have been destroyed. Watch this CBS news video on the plight of these monuments.

The extant memorials are our most salient material links in the US to the war. They afford a vital window onto the conflict, its participants, and those determined to remember them. Rediscovering the memorials and the stories they tell will contribute to their physical and cultural rehabilitation—a fitting commemoration of the war and the sacrifices it entailed.

Submitting a Monument or Memorial for the Database

This interactive database provides location and all other available information on known World War One monuments and memorials.  Do you know of a World War One Monument or Memorial that is not listed in our database? Do you see incorrect information listed for one of the sites? Do you have photos of one of our listed sites that you want to contribute? Click here to submit the relevant information for inclusion in the database.

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Berryville Town Square

      
Berryville
AR
USA
72616
Town Square in the city of Berryville, Arkansas.
 

Berryville Town Square

      
302 Public Square, Berryville, AR 72616
Carroll
AR
USA
72616
No additional information at this time.
 

Berwyn WW1 Memorial

      
 
3001 S. Wisconsin
Berwyn
IL
USA
60402
In Proska park there is a WW1 memorial that is in need of some repair.
 
 
Corner of US Highway 441 and Old Bishop Road
Bishop
GA
USA
30621
Erected on July 6, 2003 by the AMVet Post 10 and Auxiliary

“In Honor of All American Veterans Who Served During Wars in Defense of Their County 1917 - 2003"
 
Jersey City
NJ
USA
07305

There are two memorials for the Black Tom explosion - one at Liberty State Park in NY Harbor; the other, a stained glass window at Our Lady of Czestochowa Church in Jersey City. 

Black Tom was an island in New York Harbor, next to Liberty Island, that received its name from an early African American resident.  By 1880, a railroad connected it to Jersey City & it began its use as a shipping depot.  By 1916, its mile-long pier housed a depot and warehouses for the National Dock & Storage Company. 

In 1914 Imperial Germany sent Count Johann von Bernstorff to be its new ambassador in Washington D.C. But von Bernstorff's staff of diplomats were not all as they seemed for these bureaucrats were a veritable army of undercover spies and saboteurs, arriving with millions of dollars to aid the German war effort by sabotage and illicit destruction.

Among their principal targets were the endless supplies of munitions that the neutral US was selling to Great Britain and France. In 1916, over 2,000,000 tons of explosives were in storage on Black Tom, ready to sail across the Atlantic. The island soon caught the attentions of von Bernstorff and his saboteurs.

On the night of July 30, 1916, Black Tom island disappeared. Just after 2 am, slow burning pencil bombs planted by the German agents ignited an explosion so colossal it registered 5.5 on the Richter scale. As glass windows shattered in Times Square and St.Patrick's Cathedral, the blast shook the Brooklyn Bridge and was felt as far away as Philadelphia and Maryland. The Statue of Liberty felt the full blast and was showered with shrapnel, exploding bullets and shells.  

Federal investigations named two guards at Black Tom as the likely culprits; the guards turned out to be German agents Kurt Jahnke and Lothar Witzke, but both escaped. An explosion in 1917 at the Mare Island naval shipyard in Vallejo, CA was also attributed to them. When the US finally responded to German's secret war of attrition by declaring war in 1917, Jahnke and Witzke fled to Mexico.

Black Tom Island was reconstructed with landfill and is today the southeastern part of Jersey City's Liberty State Park. Today the park is a popular recreation area, with families taking advantage of the close up views of the Statue of Liberty. But in the corner of the picnic area is a simple plaque, often passed by, which reads, "You are walking on a site which saw one of the worst acts of terrorism in American history."

It is not known exactly how many people died or were injured in the explosion. Possibly, the congregation of Our Lady of Czestochowa were hit hard, which led to the commemorating of the attack with their stained glass window memorial.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad who owned Black Tom Island sought compensation against Germany, who settled on a payment of $50 million which was finally paid as recently as 1979. 

The attack may be long forgotten and little known, but it has an ongoing repercussion.  Structural damage caused by the explosion is the reason today's visitors to the Statue of Liberty are prohibited from going up into the torch.  It has been closed to the public since that fiery evening. 

Narrative adapted from Atlas Obscura website. 

Photos courtesy of: 
Memorials - Luke J. Spencer, Atlas Obscura
Vintage photos - NJ Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks & Forestry

 
Hartford City
IN
USA
47348

September 28, 1921

Ernest Moore Viquesney

This monument includes the Blackford County World War I Honor Roll as well as one of sculptor E. M. Viquesney's "Spirit of the American Doughboy" sculptures.
 
220 2nd Ave E
Oneonta
AL
USA
35121

November 11, 1992

Erected by the American Legion & Auxiliary, Disabled American Veterans & Auxiliary, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars & Auxiliary.
 

Bluffton Veterans Park

      
Bluffton
IN
USA
46714

Unknown

 

Boone County Courthouse

          
100 N Main St.
Harrison
AR
USA
72601
Courthouse for Boone County, Arkansas.
 
100 N Main St.
Harrison
AR
USA
72601
No additional information at this time.
 
Lebanon
IN
USA
46052
 
East Ulen Drive
Lebanon
IN
USA
46052

2009

 

Bowman Area Veterans Memorial

          
Bowman
GA
USA
30624

Photos courtesy of Lamar Veatch

"Dedicated to the glory of God and all veterans of the Bowman community, more especially to these who have given their lives for our nation's cause."
 
Mount Clemens
MI
USA
48043
http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM577M_Boys_of_St_Peters_Parish_WWI_Monument_Mt_Clemens_MI

1925

Daprato Statuary Company, fabricator

Boys of St. Peters Parish WWI Monument

This monument lists the names of the boys of St. Peters parish in Mt. Clemens, MI. that served their country in The Great War from 1917-1918.

World War I was a global war which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths. Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilized from 1914 to 1918.

World War I Monument/Joan of Arc (sculpture)
Is described as Full-length figure of Joan of Arc dressed in armor and standing in contrapposto (weight-bearing leg, proper right). She gazes towards sky. Proper right hand grips the pole of a flag or banner; proper left rests on the upper edge of a shield which is balanced upright, tip resting on the ground, behind bent proper left leg. Shield emblazoned with upright sword, pommel down, and crown, flanked by fleurs-de-lis. Figure wears a sword, belted to hips and slung behind legs. Between the feet, a spiked war club lies on the ground.
The statue is made from zinc or lead with a granite base.
Statue: approx. 8 x 2 x 2 ft. Base: approx. 8 1/2 x 11 3/4 x 11 3/4 ft.

An inscription of Deprato Foundry Co. unsigned Founder's mark appears. Other than that there is a bronze plaque (SE Side) which reads;
This Monument erected to perpetuate the memory of the boys of St. Peter’s Parish. Mount Clemens, Mich who served their country in the world war 1917-1918
(then listed are 178 names, of which 5 died and 8 were wounded)

 
101 E Cedar St #8, Warren, AR 71671
Warren
AR
USA
71671
No additional information at this time.
 
Coldwater
MI
USA
49036

Branch County World War Monument

This is a plaque in a park dedicated to several war memorials. It honors those from Branch County, Michigan, who gave their lives in The World War for their country.There are several guns on display as well, demonstrating the various types of weaponry used throughout the years. One pair was dedicated in 1988, honoring those who served.

 
Quitman
GA
USA
31643

Photos courtesy of Lamar Veatch

Originally a WW1 monument, now an all wars memorial.  Individual bricks are placed in the plaza, with the names of Brooks County military.  The memorial is sponsored by VFW Post 5659, Quitman, GA.
 
 
164 S Main St
Brundidge
AL
USA
36010
 

Bullock County WWI Memorial

          
219 N. Prairie St.
Union Springs
AL
USA
36089

1936

"In Memory of Bullock County World War Soldiers, Erected by American Mothers of National Defenders Chapter, Service Star Legion, 1917-18, Dedicated 1936."
 
Burke County Courthouse
Waynesboro
GA
USA
30830
The tablet at the county courthouse is inscribed, “This tablet is placed to perpetuate the memory of Burke County (Ga) men who, in the service of their country in the World War, lost their lives in the sinking of the S.S. OTRANTO, October 6th 1918.”  The names of seven local victims are listed.
 
602 North Liberty Street
Waynesboro
GA
USA
30830
Burke County Courthouse in Waynesboro, Georgia is a Carpenter Romanesque building completed in 1857. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

At the entrance of this courthouse is a plaque in memory of those from this community that lost their lives in the S.S. Otranto sinking, October 6, 1918.
 
 
700 Court Square
Greenville
AL
USA
36037
 
 
925 Quintard Ave (median)
Anniston
AL
USA
36201

November 11, 1921

Dedicated by the William Forney Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
 

Calhoun – Legion Monument

          
401 West Line Street
Calhoun
GA
USA
30701

Photos courtesy of Lamar Veatch

A monument on the grounds of the Legion post, inscribed “In memory of our buddies who did not come back.”
 
Madison Avenue & Knickerbocker Road
Cresskill
NJ
USA
07627

1924

Capt. Robert Ingersoll Aitken

In August 1919, Bergen County purchased land for a monument commemorating the role of Camp Merritt during the Great War at the intersection of Madison Avenue & Knickerbocker Road in Cresskill - marking the center of the largest embarkation camp in the US during WWI.  Modeled after the Washington Monument, the obelisk is 65 feet tall and made of granite.  Inscribed on the base are the names of the 578 people who died at the camp, mostly as the result of the 1918 influenza epidemic.  A large carved relief by the sculptor Robert Ingersoll Aitken shows a striding doughboy with an eagle flying overhead.

Set into a large boulder is a copper plaque with a relief of the Palisades, illustrating that the Camp Merritt site was used as an area of embarkation.  The plaque was designed by artist Katherine Lamb Tait.

The monument was dedicated on May 30, 1924.  A crowd of 20,000 heard a dedicatory address given by famed Army General Pershing.

Narrative adapted from Bergen County, NJ official website. 

Photo courtesy of:  Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS)

 

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