World 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.
We are building a US WW1 Memorial register through a program called the Memorials Hunters Club. If you locate a memorial that is not on the map we invite you to upload your treasure to be permanently archived in the national register. You can include your choice of your real name, nickname or team name as the explorers who added that memorial to the register. We even have room for a selfie! Check the map, and if you don't see the your memorial CLICK THE LINK TO ADD IT.
World War I Monument - Jenkintown
100 Cities / 100 Memorials
This monument was erected in November of 1919 to celebrate the return of the men and women who served during WWI. The monument previously stood in front of the old Borough Hall location at the corner of West Avenue and Leedom Street. The original monument was a concrete pedestal with mounted mortar shells, and a bronze tablet of all the names of those who served. When Borough Hall was relocated to its current location at 700 Summit Avenue, the pedestal of the original monument was incapable of being moved and unfortunately was unable to be preserved. The bronze tablet was, however, placed on a large piece of granite instead, which is how the monument sits today. In honor of the 100th anniversary of WWI, the bronze plaque was refinished and the memorial was cleaned. This work was completed in time for Memorial Day 2018 celebrations.
Moved to this location in November 2021 (from E.C. Glass High School), this marker consists of a large bronze plaque mounted on a locally sourced greenstone monolith. It honors the 42 local men who died in World War I, and was erected in 1936 by the Lynchburg Chapter of the DAR..
Ron Wanek designed this life-sized brass statue of a uniformed WWI soldier. He wears high boots, an ammunition belt, helmet and backpack. The granite base is incised with a dedication to all who served in WWI. This memorial was donated by Karen and Todd Wanek, and the face of the doughboy is modeled after Arcadia native Otto Herbert, who served in France in 1917. The monument was dedicated on May 30, 1993.
No visit to Wisconsin would be complete without a tour of the beautiful 54 acre Memorial Park and its unique tribute to veterans of all wars and conflicts located just 40 minutes North of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, in Arcadia, Wisconsin. It is the largest Memorial Park in the U.S., outside of Washington D.C.
This bronze statue was dedicated on November 9, 1930 on Old Post Road and relocated here in 1987. It is a bronze figure of a World War I soldier standing at ease. It was sculpted by J. Clinton Shepherd to honor the enlisted men and nurses from Westport who served in World War I. A bronze shield on the south face reads, “Dedicated to the citizens of Westport who served in the World War. Erected Nov. 11, 1930.” Plaques on the west and east sides of the monument’s base list Westport residents who served in the conflict, with the west plaque honoring seven residents who were killed, and the east plaque honoring seven who served as nurses.
The World War I monument in Wildwood, NJ features the helmeted head and arms of a doughboy, holding the hilt of a sword, looking over the top a tall, rectangular, granite pillar. The sword bisects a cross, with the words loyalty, courage, sacrifice and victory in each of the four quadrants. The monument is “Wildwood’s Tribute to the glory of her sons, 1917-1918.” Around the four sides of the flat, rectangular, marble base are the names of six significant WWI battles abroad.
The sculptor of the doughboy is unknown; the granite pillar was completed by O. J. Hammell of Pleasantville, NJ.
The monument was dedicated on May 26, 1927 by Senator William Bright. “The Wildwoods” – Wildwood, North Wildwood & Wildwood Crest – sent 33 people to serve in the war. Three died, including one woman. The American Legion coordinated the dedication event, which included a parade through town honoring veterans and the new monument.
The monument was erected prominently directly across the street from the Pennsylvania Railroad Station. Being a shore community, thousands of tourists exited the train on this spot. The train station is long gone today, and the monument’s park is now in front of senior housing complex.
Narrative adapted from a history of Wildwood’s parks in The Sun.
Photos courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office
Vintage photos courtesy of: The Sun
This fountain was initially dedicated to the memory of the local citizens who served in World War I, and later the dedication was extended to veterans of all wars. In the center of the fountain is the Albin Polasek sculpture, Emily, which was presented to the city on March 11,1984.
The West Boxford Improvement Society dedicated this monument in 1934 to honor those from Boxford who died in WWI. It consists of a stone boulder and bronze plaque featuring the image of a spread-winged eagle.
Five hundred men from the Wheaton area enlisted in World War I from 1917 through 1919, 13 of whom died in service. In 1922, a memorial consisting of two bronze plaques with the names of all 500 men was mounted on an obelisk and placed at the Warren L. Wheaton home at Roosevelt and Naperville roads. Five hundred ash trees were planted along Roosevelt Road leading up to the obelisk to create Wheaton’s Road of Remembrance. When the road was widened in 1931, the trees were moved to various parks throughout the city, and a new obelisk was built at Northside Park and rededicated in November 1936. Through time, the obelisk became worn and damaged by age. Eventually, the original bronze plaques were reinstalled and the memorial was restored and rededicated on Veterans Day, November 11, 2017.
In the Wickford section of North Kingstown, there is an obelisk in the center of a small green at the corner of Main Street and Brown Street, known as Updike Park. This obelisk is a monument for the residents of North Kingstown who served in World War I.
The monument stands at least 20 ft tall, and has bronze plaques on each side at about eye level.
The plaque facing Brown Street (east) has the following text:
"Dedicated to those who answered their country's call to serve humanity in the World War 1917-1919 and in memory of those who died in that service...[list of names who probably died in service]...Erected by the Town of North Kingstown, 1928."
Each of the other three plaques has names under the military branch they served. The south and north plaques lists the honor roll of those who served in the Army, while the west plaque lists those who served in the Navy. At the base of the obelisk are brick sidewalks, many with names in them.
In 1919, two young Glen Carbon residents, Emil Trentaz and Harry J. Seaton, were killed in battle in France. After their deaths a group of Glen Carbon residents decided to recognize the two soldiers with a statue in their honor. This group held carnivals and dances to raise funds as well as soliciting individual and business donations to help pay for the commissioned artwork. In November 1920, the Doughboy Statue was erected in Glen Carbon Cemetery to stand over the soldiers' graves.
This is a life-size statue of a standing WWI soldier, made from limestone or sandstone. He is standing at attention with his rifle at his side, next to a tree trunk. It was dedicated in May of 1920, financed in part by pennies saved by the children who attended the school where the statue stood. It lists the names of 11 Matamoras citizens who were killed in WWI, and is surrounded by a wrought-iron fence.
The inscription on this marker, erected in 1933, reads:
World War I
1914 — 1918
Dedicated to the men
and women who served
in the great war which
was believed to be the
final war of human
liberty and the "war to
end all wars".
This monument was dedicated on November 11, 1919 in honor of those from Middleton who served in World War I and in memory of the four who died: Rupert M. Burstan; John Hoffecker; Jeremiah Jackson; and E. Davis Manlove. The original eagle atop the monument shattered during restoration in 2007 and a new eagle was unveiled in its place in 2008.
This statue, honoring World War I veterans on the Veterans Memorial Island Sanctuary, was installed in November 2021. The $29,000 monument, paid for through private contributions and local veterans organizations, features a bronze statue of a World War I doughboy carrying a Springfield 1903 rifle and bayonet. The statue was placed so the doughboy appears to look at the sanctuary's central walkway that honors local veterans who have died.
This granite marker was placed by the Ladies Auxiliary, Coeur d”Alene Barracks 227, of the now dissolved veterans service organization (VSO), Veterans of
World War I of the United States, Inc. The year of the markers dedication and its original location are not known, but it was moved to this location from somewhere
else. It now stands at the base of the GAR, Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Monument here in Forest Cemetery. There is a World War I section of this cemetery
with the all to typical empty flag pole. At the poles base is a vacant concrete base. What stood there is not known.
The Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A., Inc. was organized by War I Buddies in 1948, uniting in fraternal, civic and social comradeship those who served honorably in the
Armed Forces of the United States during the period of World War I beginning 6 April 1917 and ending 11 November 1918, "Armistice Day." And for those who served in
Siberia 11 November 1918 to 1 July 1921. 4,734,991 men and women participated in the First World War. The VWWI was incorporated by the 85th Congress on 18 July 1958.
The Memory of these Soldier, Sailors, Airmen & Marines is carried on by their descendents:
Order of the First World War, 14497 NW 22nd Place , Newberry, FL 32669-2022
Danville's monument to Vermilion County's World War I veterans was sculpted by Lorado Taft.
Statues representing Army, Marine, Navy, and Red Cross nurses guard the marble base, where the names of local men who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War I are listed.
This monument was erected during the 1960s to honor veterans of the World and Korean Wars.
Located here is a monument to the local residents who served in four 20th century American wars.
A monument in this small town commemorates the local residents who served in four 20th century American wars.
On a granite stele is attached a bronze plaque topped with a small relief of an eagle. To either side of the plaque arc engraved the insignia for the veterans of the Spanish-American War and WWI, who are honored by this memorial.
This World War Memorial is in the mid-city (ish) area of Los Angeles at the southwest corner of Adams and La Brea on a traffic island. From the street, it is mostly hidden by a metro stop girder. Originally erected in 1936 by the now defunct Greayer Clover American Legion Post. The inscription reads:
SONS AND DAUGHTERS
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES
IN THE CAUSE OF
THE WORLD WAR
Sometime after '45 it was obviously rededicated, but no one seems to know when.
This traffic island was referred to as "Memorial Isle" in the LA Times Archives, and there would be small services there every Memorial and Armistice/Veterans Days. Surrounding patrons used to send the American Legion flowers to display The dirt (which seems to be gone...the, what I assume was, nice top soil is now just a rough grain of sandy stuff) was donated from "US Veterans cemeteries around the world", - we are unsure if these were from ABMC run cemeteries or part of the National Cemetery system.
Corner of La Brea and Adams
Los Angeles, CA, 90016
The inscription on this memorial states "Erected by the people of Pembina Township to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice for Our Country in the great World War" on one side. The other side has the names of two soldiers and the date of 1918. While it was erected in 1918, the dedication was not held until May 30, 1920 with Governor Lynn J. Frazier delivering the address. The memorial was moved from its original location in Selkirk Park to the Pembina State Museum in 1998 due to a flood control project.
Dedicated on November 11th, 1958 and located right outside of Brookline's town hall, this memorial recognizes individuals from Brookline who served and who lost their lives serving in the armed forces of the United States. Specifically, the memorial lists the names of those who were killed in action during World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The inscription in the center of the memorial reads: "Dedicated to the men and women of Brookline who served their country in the armed forces of the United States of America in time of war and in loving memory of those who gave their lives." On the viewer's lefthand side of the memorial are the names of those killed in action during World War II. On the viewer's righthand are the names of those killed in action during World War I (left panel), the Vietnam War (right panel, top), and the Korean War (right panel, bottom).
This monument, located in the rear of Barrington Borough Hall, consists of a quarry-faced stone stele with a bronze plaque Honor Roll on the front. The upper plaque takes the form of a half-star with a central spread winged eagle pierced on an American shield flanked by swags. The monument was erected in honor of those in Barrington who served in WWI.
Photo courtesy of: NJ State Historic Preservation Office