Ogden Doughboy Statue Restoration Recognized with a 2021 Heritage Award
100 Cities, 100 Memorials was a WWI Centennial project where the US WWI Centennial Commission in partnership with the Pritzker Military Museum and library offered $200,000 in a matching grant challenge to rescue and focus on 100 local World War One memorials. These Memorials were then designated as official WWI Centennial Memorials.
One of those designated 100 WWI Centennial Memorials is known as the Ogden Doughboy Statue. The restoration project was submitted by the Weber County Historical Society & American Legion Post 9 in Ogden, Utah.
The Ogden Doughboy Statue restoration has been the focal point of a larger restoration of the 90-year-old Gold Star Driveway, an area of the Ogden City Cemetery that commemorates soldiers killed in WWI.
Over time, the plaques had tarnished, and some had fallen from crumbling cement bases. The Dougboy had taken fire from pellet guns. A well meaning group simply painted the bronze with gold radiator paint to clean it up. The doughboy's helmet was lost and replaced with a gold painted miner's helmet, and parts of his rifle had been broken off.
In other words, the Gold Star Driveway, which was intended to be a poignant place of remembrance honoring the local's service in WWI, had gradullay lost much of its dignity.
With the grant as a catalyst (it only represented a seed amount for the required restoration cost), the community came together including Ogden City, Weber County, The American Legion, The Daughters of the American Revolution, and various other local supporters such as the Kiwanas. Together they made things right!
This past month, Terry Schow, a member of the National Executive Committee for The American Legion of Utah, and the lead who submitted the 100 Cities / 100 Memorials grant application in 2016, reached out to us to let us know that the completed project had just been recognzed as a winner for the 2021 Heritage Award from the Weber Country Heritage Foundation.
In March of 2018, Theo Mayer, host of the WWI Centennial Commission's podcast, interviewed Terry Schow on Episode 63.
Here is the transcript of that interview which can be heard at 44:55 of the podcast.
Theo Mayer [welcomes Terry]
Terry Schow: Thank you.
Theo Mayer: Terry, you were one of the very first projects to submit a grant application to the 100 Cities, 100 Memorials program. When did you get started on this?
Terry Schow: I think we started in about September of 2016 and I think we submitted it in November.
Theo Mayer: Terry, Wasn't your doughboy statue originally installed way up high on the side of a building, was that the local legion post?
(NOTE: See image above of that installation)
Terry Schow: It was, yes. On 24th Street in Ogden.
Theo Mayer: What was the history of the memorial's original inauguration or creation?
Terry Schow: Well, it was designed by Gilbert Reswald. Our Legion post was actually chartered in 1920. Folks from the post are the ones that instituted that. I don't have much history beyond that. I'd be actually, kind of curious myself, what it costs us to do that initially.
And then down the road, of course, we donated the sculpture to the Ogden City Cemetery so it could be on permanent display there. That's why we wanted to help with this restoration as well.
Theo Mayer: It’s been a while since I first read your project profile, but isn't there a story about gold radiator paint being used to refurbish the statue back in the 70’s or something?
Terry Schow: Yes (laugh), there is in fact. The statue had fallen in disrepair. A helmet had been removed and those kind of things. And some well-meaning folks had decided to spray gold radiator paint on the bronze statue in order to enhance its appearance. Obviously, over time that did look great.
Theo Mayer: Well, it was very shiny at first, I am sure. But, (laugh) I must add that is not really a recommended conservation method.
Terry, You pulled together a really strong coalition of organizations in Ogden to do this project. It's pretty impressive. Who all were they?
Terry Schow: We had the Weber County Historical Society, we had Daughters of the American Revolution, we had the local Kiwana's club, the Ogden Kiwana club. We had the Disabled American Veterans and of course, my American Legion post, Baker-Merrill post 9 here in Ogden, Utah. And also, Ogden City came on board and they're the ones that granted us the authorization to move forward on these renovations.
Theo Mayer: What stage are the renovations at now? (May 2018)
Terry Schow: The statue itself is at a bronze work, down in Utah County and we've ordered some granite panels and they're working on the base.
Of course, our plan is for a dedication on November 20, 2018 - and to have the statue put back up. One of the requests that I made to the Historical Society is add the American Legion emblem on it because, in fairness, our post donated that and we wanted the Legion recognized as who had set this thing in motion, initially back in the early 1900's.
Theo Mayer: It makes a whole lot of sense. You know, one of the things that struck me about the memorial is that your Doughboy's face is really amazing. As a sculpture, it's really nice.
Terry Schow: It is. It's great. It's a very attractive statue and in fact, we actually have a picture hanging in our post of what that statue looked like early on in the cemetery and there was not a lot around back at that time. So it's kind of impressive to get this thing updated.
Theo Mayer: Well, congratulations on being selected as a World War 1 Centennial Memorial. You said you are rededicating it this year?
Terry Schow: Yes. November 20th. Certainly we want to thank the World War One commission and the Pritzker Military Museum foundation to help us with the funding. I think our project's going to cost, upwards to $50,000, but it'll be great when it's done. I just think it's great that you guys did this and that we learned about it. We're fortunate enough to be one of the grantees and it was a great community project when we had the Historical folks contacting me and then realizing it was a Legion project to begin with. Obviously, it was natural for us to work to get this thing taken care of.
Theo Mayer: Did you know it was a Legion project when you started?
Terry Schow: I have to admit, I don't think I did. Each Memorial Day, we meet at that location in the cemetery and then our post goes about the cemetery and we put flags on the graves of all those veterans. So it had been a point of focus every Memorial Day for us. But I had not made the connection with the early days of when that statue was done. So, it's kind of fun for me to learn the history and also work to champion to get it updated.
Theo Mayer: Was it the 100 Cities, 100 Memorial's program that actually got you guys going?
Terry Schow: The Centennial Commission was the driver because when I spoke to them at the American Legion National Convention (in 2016) and then learned of the funding, all this kind of came together. Weber County had done some other improvements in the cemetery and then Tom Moe, whose actually one of the World War One commissioners encouraged us. Tom is a friend of mine-- actually Tom was a POW in Vietnam for about five years. Really a great fellow.
Theo Mayer: Terry, congratulations - and thank you for coming by.
Terry Schow: My honor. Thank you. I've really enjoyed working with you folks.
END OF PODCAST INTERVIEW MARCH 2018