Monuments and Memorials

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 United States World War One Centennial Commission is supporting The World War One Memorial Inventory project. This nationwide inventory seeks to identify, document, and preliminarily assesses the condition of the country's World War I memorials and monuments. The effort is intended to raise public awareness of the presence, and in many cases, sadly, the plight of these historic monuments and memorials, as a necessary first step to ensuring their conservation and preservation. Read more about the World War One Memorial Inventory project in this article by the project's founder, Mark Levitch.
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.

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This interactive database provides location and all other available information on known World War One monuments and memorials.

Submitting a Monument or Memorial for the Database

Do you know of a World War One Monument or Memorial that is not listed in our database? Click here to send an email to the webmaster with the relevant information.


Tuesday, 01 July 2014 20:05    |  Hits: 153

Cecil County World War Doughboy Memorial, Elkton, MD


Elkton MD USA

A standing figure of a soldier dressed in his khakis and wearing his helmet. He holds a rifle in front of him with both hands. The base of the sculpture is a shaft flanked by large paneled slabs inscribed with the names of Cecil County men who died in World War I. At the bottom of the base is a row of three steps. At each end of the base, on the front corners, are tapered shafts topped by electric lamps. On the front of the base is a carved eagle. 

Thursday, 26 June 2014 18:44    |  Hits: 728

Eastern High School War Memorial, Washington, DC

(Object (other than sculpture))

Washington DC USA

The Eastern High School Alumni flagstaff commemmorates seven former Eastern High students who were killed in the Spanish-American War (2) and World War I (5). Paid for by alumni of the school, the flagstaff stands before the school's main entrance. It was in place when the school moved to this then-new building on March 1, 1923.  

Tuesday, 21 January 2014 18:34    |  Hits: 1425

First Division Monument, Washington, DC


Washington DC USA

The First Division Monument sits on a plaza in President's Park, west of the White House and south of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB) at the corner of 17th Street and State Place, NW. (The EEOB was originally known as the State, War, and Navy Building and then as the Old Executive Office Building.) The monument was conceived by the Society of the First Division, the veteran's organization of the U.S. Army's First Division, to honor the valiant efforts of the soldiers who fought in World War I. Later additions to the monument commemorate the lives of First Division soldiers who fought in subsequent wars. The World War II addition on the west side was dedicated in 1957, the Vietnam War addition on the east side in 1977, and the Desert Storm plaque in 1995. Cass Gilbert was the architect of the original memorial and Daniel Chester French was the sculptor of the Victory statue. Gilbert's son, Cass Gilbert Jr., designed the World War II addition. Both the Vietnam War addition and the Desert Storm plaque were designed by the Philadelphia firm of Harbeson, Hough, Livingston, and Larson. Congressional approval was obtained to erect the First Division Monument and its later additions on federal ground. The Society of the First Division (later called the Society of the First Infantry Division) raised all the funds for the original monument and its additions. No federal money was used. Today, the monument and grounds are maintained by the National Park Service. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Tuesday, 08 July 2014 15:55    |  Hits: 139

Henry W. Broughton Square


Jamaica Plain (Boston) MA USA

A corner marked with a sign that includes the deceased's name and a gold star.

Tuesday, 08 July 2014 15:21    |  Hits: 162

Horace Farnham Square, Boston, MA


Jamaica Plain (Boston) MA USA

A corner marked with a sign that includes the deceased's name and a gold star.

LIEUTENANT J. HORACE FARNHAM, of the Canadian Royal Flying Corps, was killed in an aeroplane accident in England, April 25, 1918. Mr. Farnham enlisted in the Canadian Royal Flying Corps in August, 1917, and for a time was stationed at Toronto; later he was sent to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Tex., where he finished his training in aviation. He was then sent to England for intensive training, and specialization on war machines, at the R. F. C. camp at Yatesbury, Wiltshire. Mr. Farnham was at the time of his death a senior in the evening division of the College of Business Administration. He was one of the most popular men in college. The members of his class presented to the college a fine portrait of Mr. Farnham; this portrait has been placed on the walls of the college library.

Boston University World War Record (1921): 20-21.