Goldstar Memorial in RiversideGoldstar Memorial in Riverside. Left to right: Suzanne Germann, Landmarks Illinois Director of Reinvestment; Joseph Baar Topinka, Commander, American Legion Post #488; Jason Hinsley, Vice Commander, American Legion Post #488; Jim Connelly, Vice Commander, Sons of American Legion Post #488; Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois President & CEO; Tom Sisulak, Commander, Sons of American Legion Post #488.  

Landmarks Illinois publishes WWI Monuments of Illinois Database containing more than 300 memorials of the Great War

via PR Newswire

CHICAGO, Nov. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of Veterans Day, Landmarks Illinois has published its new online database of historic World War I monuments and memorials in Illinois. The Landmarks Illinois WWI Monuments of Illinois Database currently contains information on 311 monuments and memorials such as doughboy statues, plaques, sculptures and public spaces dedicated to honoring those who served in the Great War. Monuments included in the database are located in 158 different Illinois communities.

"We are proud to bring attention to the monuments that honor our fellow Illinoisans who fought or served in the First World War," said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. "Many of these memorials are now 100 years old or more. These historical markers, and those they honor, deserve to be recognized and celebrated."

The unique database is the result of a years-long survey of existing WWI monuments throughout the state, made possible through generous financial support from the Pritzker Military Foundation. In 2017, in preparation for the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into WWI, Landmarks Illinois launched the statewide survey to better learn about the remaining WWI monuments in Illinois. In partnership with Landmarks Illinois Director of Reinvestment Suzanne Germann, former Landmarks Illinois Regional Advisor, the late Steve Thompson of Mattoon, and preservation consultant Matt Seymour, conducted the comprehensive survey of WWI monuments throughout Illinois.

"This unique program has shined a light on the large number of remaining memorials throughout Illinois dedicated to the Great War," said Suzanne Germann, Director of Reinvestment for Landmarks Illinois. "We are grateful to all those who helped with the extensive survey and shared information on memorials in their communities. We hope this new database sparks curiosity and inspires people to preserve the WWI memorials in their neighborhoods so they can stand for another 100 years and more."

In conjunction with the survey, Landmarks Illinois created and carried out a WWI Monument Preservation Grant Program during 2017 and 2018 to provide financial support to communities wanting to preserve their WWI monuments and recover their dedication-era quality and appearance. The Pritzker Military Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Landmarks Illinois for the creation of the WWI monument database, survey and grant program. Nearly $75,000 of the funding went toward the WWI Monument Preservation Grant Program, which successfully helped preserve 13 aging WWI monuments and memorials in the state.

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