North Dakota World War I Monuments and Memorials Dedicated between 1918 and 1941
North Dakotans remembered those who served in World War I by erecting monuments and memorials all over the state. The monuments and memorials range from bronze tablets which honored local men and women who served, to the Liberty Memorial Building (1925) on the State Capitol grounds in Bismarck, which is a memorial to all North Dakota World War I veterans.
It appears that a monument erected in Minot on May 30, 1918 is the first permanent monument dedicated to local war dead in the United States. This special World War I monument, located in Minot’s Rosehill Cemetery, was erected by the Minot Girls Military Squad. http://www.minotdailynews.com/news/local-news/2017/02/monumental-memorial/
Two bronze “doughboy” monuments are located in North Dakota. One is located in the Riverview Cemetery, Williston and the other on the Richland County Court House Lawn in Wahpeton. Both were erected in 1927. Other organizations, such as the North Dakota War Mothers also dedicated monuments to their sons and daughters who had served in World War I.
North Dakotans also dedicated parks, such as the Lamoure County Memorial Park (1921), many community centers, and five county court houses as memorials. The five counties that built World War I memorial courthouses are Emmons (1934), Hettinger (1936), Renville (1936), Stark (1937) and Ward (1930). The author has worked with the State Historical Society of North Dakota to locate and research these monuments and memorials across the state. As of July 2017, over forty World War I monuments and memorials erected between 1918 and 1941 have been identified. http://history.nd.gov/hp/WWImemorials.html If you know of a monument or memorial constructed between these dates that is not on the attached list, please contact the State Historical Society of North Dakota at 701-328-2089.
C.A. Pear designed this building and it was constructed by W.M. Nordmann in 1931. The building cost $25,000 and was built using a county mill levy and funds from the City of Flaxton. It is also known now as the Flaxton Memorial Hall. The building was designed with an auditorium, stage, dressing rooms, meeting rooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and dining room, and even a two-cell jail. Today it still serves the community as a center for gatherings and meetings.
The decision to build a memorial hall in Noonan (pop. 423) rather than the county seat of Crosby (pop. 1271) ended up being contested in ND Supreme Court Case Gehrke et al v Board of Commissioners of Divide County. The building was built with a full basement and main floor that included an auditorium with a balcony on the main floor. The lower level included a kitchen and lounge. In 2017, the building is vacant in a town of an estimated 130 people.
The Emmons County Courthouse was designed by J. Howard Hess of the architecture firm Bugenhagen, Hess, and Deeter and built by Olson and Orheim in 1934. It was the first project in North Dakota to be funded by the Public Works Administration and demonstrated how communities could benefit from the federal aid. There is a bronze plaque inside the lobby declaring it the "Emmons Memorial County Courthouse."
The Girls Military Squad began planning the monument with the first deaths of Ward County men (11 had died by May 23, 1918) and erected it on May 30, 1918 for "Minot's Heroes Who Have Sacrificed Their Lives In The Worlds' Great Struggle for Universal Democracy That Government of, by, and for the People Might Not Perish From the Earth". This monument appears to be the first monument for local dead from World War I in the nation as most communities waited until the war was over before erecting memorials. Located in Rose Hill Cemetery.
These monuments mark the entrance to what is now the American Legion Baseball Field located on Highway 11 between 1st Ave SW and 2nd Ave SW. The ball diamond was developed through a federal work relief project in 1934. At this time, it is unknown if the markers were part of that project but as one marker is dated 1934, it is likely the monuments were erected at least in conjunction with the project. The plaques list the names of 211 men from Hankinson who served in World War I.
The Jamestown College Memorial Gymnasium was dedicated in 1923 and financed through general contributions and fundraising. This building housed the first indoor swimming pool in the state of North Dakota. It was renovated in 1993 and renamed the Hansen Center in honor of the major donor for the project. The building is still used for athletics but the Jimmie volleyball team played their last game there in 2016
The bond to build the Hettinger County Courthouse narrowly passed in 1934 after failing in several previous elections over two years. Part of the vote, this time, included taking advantage of Public Works Administration funds. The federal funds allowed the Ritterbush Brothers' Art Deco design to be built by A.J. Weinberger by 1936. The bottom floor has a room that was fitted for and to be maintained by the American Legion and Auxiliary for their use.
Memorial Park in LaMoure County was dedicated by county citizens to their fellow residents who served during WWI as soldiers and sailors. The entrance is marked by a stone gate, the center pillar of which is pictured at left. The park was dedicated in 1921 and also includes an auditorium with seating for 1440 persons. A newer memorial that is dedicated to the veterans of WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam is located next to the auditorium.
The oldest building on the Capitol Complex, the Liberty Memorial Building was constructed from 1920-1924 as offices for state agencies. The elegant use of multiple types of stone and bronze in the Neo-classical style has inspired photographers to shoot wedding, family, and senior photos there for many years. The Memorial Building now houses the State Library providing knowledge, history, and tradition all in the same place.
The original 1937 memorial building in Bottineau still stands at 411 Main St. but the building has been renovated for apartments and a new entry of different materials covers the original main entry. The free-standing monuments from the lawn were moved to the new Memorial Building and Park at 104 Main St. in 2011. The new memorial hall is open but improvements to the site that was the former State Bank of Bottineau continue. The new hall is dedicated to all veterans.
Plans for Memorial Hall began in 1926. The funds were quickly raised in the community and through private donors so it could be constructed in 1927. The building originally had one large room upstairs for school activities and movies. The lower level had a large room used for dances, meetings, and public gatherings. In 1966, Ira Rush and Associates remodeled the interior and facade of the building for county offices. The building is now privately owned and vacant.
This granite marker on the original alignment of the Memorial Highway in Bismarck was sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Lloyd Spetz Unit No. 1 and dedicated on May 30, 1925. The Memorial Highway is a four-mile stretch from the intersection of Front St. and Washington St. in Bismarck west to the intersection of Main Ave. and Memorial Highway in Mandan. The four mile stretch is the area that was specifically named as a memorial for WWI.
The Memorial Stadium on the University of North Dakota campus was designed by Walter H. Wheeler of Minneapolis and built in 1927 as a memorial to those from the UND community who died in World War I. The funds for this "fortress" were raised through student pledges, donations from alumni, businesses, and other friends of the university with a capacity to seat 10,634. Governor Sorlie spoke at the dedication on October 8, 1927 just before the homecoming game.
The Mountrail County War Memorial Auditorium was described in Buildings of North Dakota as being "one of the better designed and more successfully preserved World War I memorial buildings in North Dakota." The Art Deco building with decorative brickwork was designed by Edwin Molander and built in 1937. It currently houses a variety of offices including public offices, the local historical society, and the food pantry.