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10 World War I Memorial Sites Across Arkansas

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Friday, May 05, 2017 Department of Arkansas Heritage - Friday, May 05, 2017 Department of Arkansas Heritage - Friday, May 05, 2017 Department of Arkansas Heritage - Friday, May 05, 2017 Department of Arkansas Heritage - Friday, May 05, 2017

Arkansas sent 71,862 soldiers to serve in World War I, of which 2,183 died of disease or wounds and 1,751 were injured. Efforts to raise monuments to our newly returning Doughboys began soon after they came back from overseas.

At least 39 Arkansas counties have stone monuments dedicated to local war dead; most include the names of World War I casualties along with others who died in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the various other conflicts the U.S. has been involved in up to and including Iraq and Afghanistan. For a complete list of WWI memorials, visit WWIArkansas.com.

Over-The-Top!, Craighead County Courthouse, 511 N. Main St., Jonesboro. The county selected a sculpture by Chicago artist John Paulding, which depicts a charging Doughboy with right arm raised in challenge and a rifle gripped in his left hand. The monument was dedicated on May 30, 1920, Memorial Day, and the people of Craighead County claimed that it was the first to be raised in the southern U.S.

Spirit of the American Doughboy, 4901 Midland Boulevard, Fort Smith. The Fort Smith American Legion post was named after Victor Ellig, the first Fort Smith soldier to die in the war. In 1928, the Legion began exploring options for a local park, and by April 1930, the dedication was scheduled for July 4. More than 2,000 people gathered at Tilles Park that evening for a ceremony. The Fort Smith monument remained in Tilles Park for half a century, but was warehoused by the city after frequent vandalism, including the destruction of the figure's rifle. It was restored and placed in front of the Legion building at 4901 Midland Avenue around 1990.


 

 

 

 

 

Spirit of the American Doughboy, Cherry Street, Helena-West Helena. The first Spirit of the American Doughboy erected in Arkansas was a project of a group more associated with memorializing the dead of the Civil War: the Phillips County Memorial Association. After the Great War ended, the Phillips County Memorial Association raised funds for a monument honoring the local men who had fought in World War I. After nine years of work by the association, aided by the Seven Generals Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the monument was dedicated on July 10, 1927, before a crowd of 2,500. The monument still stands today in the center of Cherry Street adjacent to the Phillips County Courthouse.

 

Paragould War Memorial, Old Greene County Courthouse, 300 W. Court St., Paragould. The Paragould War Memorial was unveiled on Armistice Day,
Nov. 11, 1924, before 5,000 onlookers. The ceremony began with an elaborate parade through town. Many homes and businesses, which were closed for the occasion, were patriotically decorated. The featured speaker of the day was
the Hon. Harry L. Ponder of Walnut Ridge. Afterwards, the ladies of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the American Legion Auxiliary served lunch.


Young Memorial, Hendrix College, 1600 Harkrider St., Conway. The student-run Hendrix Memorial Association conceived the idea for a war memorial on the Hendrix campus. It was unveiled on Nov. 21, 1920, on the west lawn of Hendrix’s Tabor Hall. The memorial was moved from its original location to the newly constructed Young Stadium in 1923 and became known as the “Young Memorial.” In 1973, Young Stadium was demolished to make room for the new Mills Center, and the memorial was moved to a temporary location where it was restored. It was returned to nearly the exact spot of its original 1920 installation in 1974 and rededicated. The memorial was moved again in 2013 and expanded to honor two other Hendrix alumni, Benjamin (a U.S. Navy Seal) and Jeremy (an Army Special Forces soldier) Wise, who lost their lives fighting in Afghanistan. The revamped memorial was dedicated on Nov. 9, 2013.


War Memorial Mural
, Old Washington County Courthouse, South College Avenue and East Center Street, Fayetteville. The Marion Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored this memorial – an allegorical painting by New York artist William Steene. Washington County commissioned Steene, who had recently created a similar painting in Tulsa, Okla., in 1920. The resulting piece was unveiled on July 5, 1920, at the Ozark Theater next door to the Washington County Courthouse and moved to the courthouse shortly afterward. It was restored and cleaned in 1976 and again in 2010 and can still be seen on the second floor of the courthouse.

Carroll County War Memorial, Basin Spring Park, 5 Spring St., Eureka Springs. The result of a project by Annie Ross House, a local newspaper reporter who began a campaign to raise money for a memorial in December 1919, it took some time for the funds to be raised for the memorial, with local controversy regarding what names to include, with some supporters wanting to include the names of all Carroll County World War I veterans, others wanting only the names of those who had seen combat, and another group preferred only the names of the war dead. The statue was erected sometime in 1929, and while the sculptor is unknown, the base was the work of the Eureka Springs Monumental Works. The sculpture is being restored, thanks in part to a grant awarded by the Department of Arkansas Heritage. A re-dedication ceremony is scheduled for May 2017.

Izard County War Memorial, Izard County Courthouse, 400 Court St., Melbourne. A 1980 article in the Izard County Historian states, “This monument was originally constructed about 1930 as a memorial to the 20 men who died in the service of their country during the First World War.” The monument was rededicated on July 13, 1980, when the names of Izard County’s World War II dead were added.

Herman Davis Memorial, Corner of Arkansas 18 and Baltimore Street, Manila. A monument erected in Manila during the 1920s honors a specific Doughboy, native son Herman Davis, Arkansas’s most-decorated World War I fighter. Davis was born Jan. 2, 1888, near present-day Manila. Davis distinguished himself with unusual feats of bravery on more than one occasion during the war. In early 1923, eastern Arkansas veterans decided that it was time that Davis' wartime heroics were noted. The Herman Davis Memorial Association was organized, and the memorial dedicated on Memorial Day 1925. In 1953, the Herman Davis Memorial Park was designated as a state park and remains a picturesque monument to a war hero nearly forgotten by most Arkansans. In 1967, vandals destroyed the original marble statue during the turbulent Vietnam War era; it has since been replaced with an exact duplicate in Barre granite.

WWI Memorial, Crawford County Courthouse, 300 Main St., Van Buren. Colonel Sam Chew, a local attorney, placed this monument to America’s World War I soldiers at the Crawford County Courthouse in Van Buren on Nov. 3, 1917. It was dedicated to the first three U.S. soldiers to die in the war, Merle D. Hay, Thomas Enwright and James B. Gresham.

 

Source: To Can the Kaiser, edited by Michael D. Polston and Guy Lancaster, University of Arkansas Press