This is a granite arch, erected as a tribute to the Berlin veterans of World War I.
This memorial, in Veterans Memorial Park, was dedicated in 1926 and has a small plaque in front that reads:
TO THOSE WHO SERVED
THE WORLD WAR
On November 11, 2018, the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I, this peaceful Root Common Park was rededicated to the men and women from Wauwatosa serving in the war. The trees are a tribute to the four soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty: Bernard A. Diedrich, Alexander E. Shiells, Harry S. Robbins and William Nehring.
At this site, on Memorial Day, 1928, the City of Wauwatosa dedicated three elm trees and bronze plaques to three Wauwatosa men who died serving our country during World War I. Over time, the trees died and the plaques were lost. Reconstruction of Root Common Park in 2018 revealed parts of the original memorial and a fourth fallen World War I soldier was identified.
They served in the U.S. Army’s 32nd Division, along with 15,000 other members of the Wisconsin National Guard. The 32nd fought in four major campaigns; defeated 23 German divisions; captured over 2,000 prisoners; suffered over 14,000 casualties; never yielded ground to the enemy; and were given the name “Les Terribles” by the French for their audacity in battle.
Shortly after the war, the Division adopted the shoulder insignia of a battle line shot through with a red arrow, symbolizing its tenacity in piercing every German defensive line faced. The 32nd became known as the Red Arrow Division and continues to operate today as the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Wisconsin National Guard.
This is a flagpole topped with a bronze eagle and four reliefs carved onto an octagonal granite base. It was sculpted by Benjamin Franklin Hawkins and dedicated by the Service Star Legion in October of 1932 to honor the veterans of World War I.
Background: A report surfaced in the June 2,1927 edition of the Milwaukee Sentinel stating that there was discussion and debate arising as to where to best place a monument to soldiers and sailors, intended to be erected by the Milwaukee Chapter of the Service Star Legion, an organization of war mothers.
Location debate continued while the group considered designs for the project, and finally settled on a replica "doughboy" statue, of which there were already three erected in various eastern cities. Unfortunately, Milwaukee's Art Commission rejected the selection, causing members of the Service Star Legion to appeal to Milwaukee's alderman to overrule the Art Commission by resolution. Alderman John Koerner answered the call, and introduced a resolution at a special Milwaukee Common Council meeting in late July 1930, which was approved. This set up a stand-off for a time between the commission and the council, with A. C. Hansen, Secretary of the Art Commission, being quoted in an August 1, 1930 Milwaukee Journal article as citing a state law that gave the commission primacy over public art installation decisions, making the council's action void. It was eventually ruled that Hansen was right, and the Milwaukee Art Commission's decision stood.
This slowed project momentum while the Service Star Legion figured out how to follow through with the Art Commission's request that they hold a contest to pick an artist. The contest commenced in 1933, and members of the Legion met at the Art Institution on September 18, 1933 to view the 17 models that came in from artists throughout the country. Alfred G. Pelikan, director of the Art Institution, was quoted in a September 20, 1933 Milwaukee Journal article as saying, "We are just helping to arrange the exhibition. I was asked to help judge the memorial contest, but I said 'nosiree.' I've got enough trouble of my own."
While the women of the Service Star Legion ultimately settled on Benjamin Franklin Hawkins' flagpole design, they were reported to have little enthusiasm for it. Mrs. Louis Manegold, chairwoman of the Legion's Memorial Design Committee, said, "We picked this as the best of the designs submitted, but there was not one in the competition that appealed to us as much as the doughboy. He seemed typical of the feeling of the boys when we saw them come home in 1919. This is graceful and impressive, but it doesn't express a thing."
From there, developments moved quickly from approval to planning, and then to a groundbreaking ceremony on August 1, 1934 at the chosen site, a small triangle of land bounded by N. Second St., N. Plankinton Ave. and W. Wells St. A few months later the project was complete, and a dedication ceremony was held on November 11, 1934, then known as Armistice Day. The flagpole unveiling was seen as the highlight of the day honoring the 750 Milwaukeeans who lost their lives in World War I.
The flagpole stayed in its location until June 14, 1979, when it was moved to be closer to the War Memorial Center as part of MacArthur Memorial Week, June 7 - 14. The flagpole had stood taller at its original location, installed atop two octagonal granite stones, but was relocated with only one of those base stones to the new location.