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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.

Memorial Hunters Club

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.

100 Cities - 100 Memorials

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Memorial Bridge
Binghamton
NY
USA

On the four bridge abutments are metal plaques honoring four branches of the military who participated in WWI. At the southeast are three infantrymen charging ahead, one down and one throwing a grenade. At the northwest, there are four biplanes amidst clouds. At the northeast are five artillery soldiers firing a cannon. At the southwest are two warships with smoke billowing from their stacks. These plaques were placed here in 1925 by the city as a tribute to Broome County citizens who served in WWI and in all other Amer­ican wars.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Robert Shay, PH3, USNR-R, 1964-70
  • L.A. Engle American Legion Post No. 16
Evergreen Cemetery
85603 Bisbee
AZ
USA

Bisbee WW2 Memorial’s WW1 Guardian

Located in the Bisbee cemetery is a World War 2 Memorial Monument that is guarded by a World War 1 era United States Army 3” Field Artillery Piece Model 1902, mounted on a No. 78, 3” Gun Carriage Model 1902, from the Rock Island Arsenal, 1905. All of these artillery pieces were used to train American gunners, but few were shipped to the front in Europe and none were used in combat.

Addition information from the face of the gun barrel :
AM&BR MFG. CO. BRIDGEPORT CONN 1904. 836 POUNDS NO. 65 W.S.P.

Also stamped into the barrel, above the breech: MIDVALE STEEL

This WW2 Memorial Monument was erected by: L.A. Engle American Legion Post No. 16
Army CPL. Leonard A. Engle, Jr.for who this Post was named, served with Company F, 355 Infantry Regiment, 89th Division and Died of Wounds received in the Argonne Campaign. His body was repatriated to the U.S. and buried at Arlington National Cemetery, December 30, 1920.

Corner of US Highway 441 and Old Bishop Road
30621 Bishop
GA
USA
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"
  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Robert Shay, PH3, USNR-R, 1964-70
194 West 5th Street
50701 Waterloo
IA
USA

The Black Hawk County Soldiers Memorial, is a classical revival styled veterans hall, located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa. It was built
between 1915 and 1916 as The Great War was ragged across the Atlantic in Europe.
It was built by the young tradesmen who soon would be called upon to enlist in
the U.S. Military and join that fight for freedom and liberty. Americans saw this
as an opportunity to repay our debt to France for their assistance 141 years earlier
during our War for Independence.
It was built by The Grand Army of the Republic as a memorial to soldiers who died in
the American Civil War. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
in 1988 due to its architecture and importance in local history.
As there were fewer Civil War veterans the hall turned to Spanish War and World
War 1 and World War 2 veterans to carry on it’s mission as a gathering place for
all American military veterans.

Notation: These photos are not as clear as I would have liked, but the daylight was waining
and it was raining heavily. I could not take the time I normally do to make sure they were
perfectly clear. If the opportunity presents itself, I will retake these pictures.

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

  • Ernest Moore Viquesney
  • Single figure -- soldier
  • Dedication Date: September 28, 1921
47348 Hartford City
IN
USA
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.
  • Photos courtesy of Lamar Veatch
  • Dedication Date: March 15, 1969
112 Second Street
31014 Cochran
GA
USA

Flame of Freedom Monument on courthouse grounds.

Inscription:  “ Presented By Bleckley County and the American Legion Honoring Veterans of All Wars, March 15, 1969, Rededicated Memorial Day 1991”.

The WW1 portion of this monument contains the names of 7 service members.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Aaron Lefkowitz & Zachary Andrews
29 West Main Street
10992 Washingtonville
NY
USA

"This Tablet is Erected in Honor of the Men and Women of the Town of Blooming Grove who Served Their Country in the World War and in Memory of Those Who Gave Their Lives 1917-1919"

  • Dedication Date: November 11, 1992
220 2nd Ave E
35121 Oneonta
AL
USA

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

  • Dedication Date: Unknown
46714 Bluffton
IN
USA
  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: David Wold
290 Greenwich Ave
06830 Greenwich
CT
USA

This is a bronze standing figure of Col. Raynal C. Bolling, an aviator in the American Expeditionary Force of World War I. The figure wears a WWI uniform and holds a cane in his right hand. Behind is a stele relief of two airplanes flying among clouds.  Greenwich resident Bolling is credited with laying the foundation for the U.S. aerial warfare program in France, and died near Amiens on March 26, 1918.  He was the first high ranking American officer to die in France.  Bolling Air Force base near Washington, D.C. is named for the aviator.  The sculptor of the Bolling monument, Edward Clark Potter, also created the lions outside the New York Public Library, the statue of General Henry Warner Slocum in Gettysburg and other monuments. 

4966 Lake Shore Rd.
12814 Bolton
NY
USA

This bronze WWI doughboy is depicted as running with a rifle in his left hand, with his right hand raised. Beneath is a square base of granite blocks. It was sculpted by John Paulding and dedicated on July 4, 1921, honoring the three men of Bolton who died in service in WWI, and the total of 70 who served.

Edison Senior Citizens Center, 2959 Woodbridge Ave
08837 Edison
NJ
USA

Here there are two monuments to the local veterans. The WWI Monument consists of a tall white stele flanked by two wings, all en­graved with approximately 200 names of veterans. The Vietnam War Monument is a small upright slab, listing eight local citizens who served in the war.

100 N Main St.
72601 Harrison
AR
USA
No additional information at this time.
  • American Legion post
100 N Main St.
72601 Harrison
AR
USA

Courthouse for Boone County, Arkansas.

  • Memorial Hunters Club Submission: Ernest Everett Blevins
200 State Street
25130 Madison
WV
USA

This monument is a stone version of a E. M. Viquesney Doughboy. The engraving on the base reads:

IN MEMORIAM
TO THOSE WHO
SERVED FROM
BOONE COUNTY

A plaque on the rear of the cenotaph has an inscription that reads:

IN HONOR OF
THE MEN OF BOONE COUNTY
WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY IN
THE WORLD WAR.
THESE MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE
:
(followed by a list of names)

This Doughboy was dedicated November 11, 1938.  For many years, the monument was left to deteriorate, but sometime, perhaps in 2005 or 2006, the statue and cenotaph were cleaned, and the statue's broken rifle, which had been missing everything in front of the left hand, was restored.

100 N. Main Street
72601 Harrison
AR
USA

No additional information at this time.

46052 Lebanon
IN
USA
  • Dedication Date: 2009
East Ulen Drive
46052 Lebanon
IN
USA
21 N. Main Street
21713 Boonsboro
MD
USA