Monuments and Memorials - World War I Centennial

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.

Submitting a Monument or Memorial for the Database

This interactive database provides location and all other available information on known World War One monuments and memorials.  Do you know of a World War One Monument or Memorial that is not listed in our database? Do you see incorrect information listed for one of the sites? Do you have photos of one of our listed sites that you want to contribute? Click here to submit the relevant information for inclusion in the database.

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101 Railroad Ave.
Elkton
MD
USA
21921

11/11/1921

sculptor unknown

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. 

      
1700 East Capitol Street SE
Washington
DC
USA
20003

1923

Kathryn Harris, designer

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.  

      
South of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Near 17th Street NW, across from Corcoran Gallery
Washington
DC
USA
20005
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Division_Monument

October 4, 1924

Cass Gilbert, architect; Daniel Chester French, sculptor

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)

      
Junction of Everett, Elm, and Gordon Streets
Jamaica Plain (Boston)
MA
USA

10/12/1921

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

      
Junction of Newbern and Elm Streets
Jamaica Plain (Boston)
MA
USA
02130

10/12/1921

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.

http://archive.org/details/worldwarrecord00bost