E.M.Viquesney’s “Spirit of the American Doughboy”, honoring the soldiers from Outagamie County who served in World War I, was first erected on November 11,1934. Over the years, the statue has experienced many years of deterioration and stress, including being nearly destroyed by an auto accident in 1986, and subsequent repair. The statue was most recently restored and rededicated on Veterans Day 2017, in commemoration of the centennial of the 1918 Armistice that ended World War I.
The inscription on the plaque reads:
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF OUR COMRADES WHO ENTERED THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY FROM OUTAGAMIE COUNTY AND WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WORLD WAR
ONEY JOHNSON POST No. 36 AMERICAN LEGION NOVEMBER 11, 1934
Some additional history: The pedestal was acquired with public funds. The Doughboy was acquired by the local Legion, using funds raised by selling 50 cent chance for a drawing that used supplies provided by Viquesney, including a miniature Doughboy for use as the winning prize. The Doughboy’s cost of $700 in the Great Depression was $300 less than its original price in 1921.
The dedication ceremony included participation by 120th Field Artillery band, 127th Infantry, Eagles’ Drum/Bugle Corps, Appletion high band, Women’s Relief Corps, Girl/Boy/Cub scouts, Junior Red Cross, Spanish War Veterans and Auxiliary, Oney-Johnston American Legion and Auxiliary, Daughters of the American Revolution, Oney Johnston firing squad, Appleton Mayor John Goodland, Jr. and former State Legion Commander D. J. Kenny of West Bend. The Doughboy was nearly destroyed in November 1986 when it was hit by an automobile whose driver had fallen asleep. It was broken from the pedestal, leaving the lower parts of the legs on the pedestal. Its upper arm was torn off. Appleton Lamplighter employees Bob Keiba, Steve Mondloch and Kevin Weisshahn, used mine detectors to sweep the area and locate all the loose pieces they could. Then they made replacements for pieces that couldn’t be found and fashioned a new rifle and bayonet. Chemically treated cement that wouldn’t expand/contract was placed in the legs to help provide stability. The pedestal was repaired by Appleton Marble and Granite. The Doughboy was replaced on his pedestal December 23, 1986. Included in the crew was Tony Knuppel, whose father, Anton, had set the Doughboy in the pedestal in 1934. The newly fashioned left hand and rifle were replaced on the Doughboy after the installation on the pedestal was completed. Unfortunately the Doughboy's legs were filled with cement to help stabilize it, but alternate seasonal freezing and thawing of the filler eventually caused the leg seams to split. The Doughboy was once again taken down and restored, this time by Jensen Conservation Services of Omaha, Nebraska. It was rededicated on November 11, 2006.
The old photos and essentially all items of information about the Appleton Doughboy were provided by Don Evans, Researcher at Appleton’s Outagamie County Historical Society.