Landmarks Illinois Funding Available To Restore WWI Monuments

Landmarks Illinois Funding Available To Restore WWI Monuments

Landmarks Illinois, a statewide historic preservation nonprofit, is encouraging communities across Illinois to apply to the final round of funding through the Landmarks Illinois WWI Monument Preservation Grant Program.

The two-year grant program launched in 2017 in honor of the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. entry into WWI and provides financial support to WWI outdoor monuments and memorials in Illinois in need of restoration to recover their dedication-era quality and appearance. Grant applications for the final round of funding are due Aug. 15, 2018.

“In honor of Memorial Day, we are bringing awareness to aging memorials that pay homage to those who fought in the Great War,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “Landmarks Illinois is proud to provide funding to help preserve and protect these local landmarks.”

Landmarks Illinois has so far awarded $28,000 to WWI memorial restoration projects in Illinois through its WWI Monument Preservation Grant Program.

The “Spirit of the American Doughboy” statue in Herrin is one such project. In December 2017, Landmarks Illinois awarded a $10,000 matching grant to the Herrin American Legion Post 645 to help restore the doughboy. Originally dedicated in 1927, the WWI memorial made of copper and concrete has suffered degradation from the elements throughout the years.

Chuck Parola, from the Herrin American Legion Post 645, said the grant funding from Landmarks Illinois will go toward the overall cost of the restoration project, which will include paying for a metalsmith to restore the statue. Parola said the restoration is scheduled to be complete by Veterans Day.

“If you have a World War I monument in your community that is in need of restoration, I cannot recommend Landmarks Illinois’ WWI grant program enough,” Parola said. “Landmarks Illinois has been a great partner in our restoration efforts, providing a base of financial support to make saving this important historical marker possible.”

The Landmarks Illinois WWI Monument Preservation Grant Program is generously supported by the Pritzker Military Foundation. Nonprofits and government agencies are encouraged to apply to the grant program. Eligible scopes of work include monument/memorial cleaning, repointing and stabilization, replacement of missing elements, monument/memorial relocation or general repair work.

Visit the Landmarks Illinois website for full eligibility rules and additional guidelines for grant applicants. Learn more about previous grant recipients here.

City of Aurora ‘Branches of Services Plaque’

The city of Aurora will use the grant funding to restore the “Branches of Services Plaque” on the city’s New York Street Bridge — a 660-foot bridge across the Fox River constructed in 1931 as a tribute to WWI soldiers.

The bronze plaque on the bridge has suffered much corrosion from the weather and prolonged exposure to chemical compounds in the decades since its dedication. Restoring the plaque is part of the city of Aurora’s multi-year project to restore all historic elements of the New York Street Bridge.