Friday September 13, 2019 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the dedication and unveiling of “The Doughboy” the World War I Monument erected in Howard Elmer Park as a memorial to the twelve soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for their country in the war.
In May of 1919 the Towanda Daily Review reported that fifteen thousand dollars would be spent by the Borough of Sayre to establish a memorial for the twelve soldiers who gave their lives for their country in World War I. A meeting of the citizens was held in the town hall which resulted in the above amount being voted.
At a meeting held for planning purposes for the welcome home and monument day August 13, 1919 C. L. Loetzer chairman of the monument committee and the committee on funds reported that the monument had been obtained through Hugh McDonald at a much cheaper price than elsewhere. Mr. McDonald was the proprietor of the granite and marble works in East Waverly and wanted to do his “bit.” He agreed to erect the monument at cost. Mr. Loetzer said that the cost of the monument would be approximately $2,700. Mr. Loetzer said that the base, shaft and tablet of the monument had been received and paid for on August 11. Mr. Loetzer reported the following receipts for the monument: Sayre Businessmen $910.00, B.P.O.E. Lodge 1148 $50, B. of L. E. Div., No. 380 $50, L.V. Annex and Round house employees $225, L. V. Steam shop employees $250, Cayuta Mfg. Co., $19, East Side Residents by B. Cacchione $64.50. Disbursements to August 11: Granite blocks $715, Freight charges $ 77.13, Foundation $73.70, Hauling dirt from park $5.25, 2000 copies of Honor Roll $577.65, Express postage and printing $17, Bronze tablet and express charges $68.03. The honor roll was a small hardbound booklet that included then name of every person from Sayre that served in the War. It also has photos of the canteen workers and other items of interest. The booklet was sold for $1 each to fund the purchase and erection of the monument.
An Evening Times article from August 12, 1919 reported: Granite base and shaft for monument unloaded. A granite base and a granite shaft parts of a monument to be erected here in memory of the soldiers from Sayre twelve in number who gave their lives during the World War, was unloaded from a flatcar here today.
With the arrival of a bonze tablet here last night all parts of the monument are ready for assembling except the bronze statue of a doughboy which will be atop of the shaft. On the tablet appears the names of the soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice.
The men who unloaded the base and shaft found that a task confronted them. The work was performed under the direction of Hugh McDonald, proprietor of the granite and marble works at East Waverly. Mr. McDonald is thoroughly familiar because of the business in which he is engaged, with unloading massive pieces of granite and without his presence today the task may possibly have been beyond the ability of the others who were present. Incidentally the monument was purchased through Mr. McDonald and he will make no profit. C. L. Loetzer, chairman of the monument committee, says that through the generosity of Mr. McDonald several hundred dollars would be saved.
The weight of the granite base is slightly less that five tons, the weight of the shaft is a little over ten tons. And when the doughboy is in place the weight of the entire monument will be between eighteen and twenty tons. The base and shaft were on a flat car south of the Packer avenue bridge. The base was slid from the car to a dray and was taken to Elmer park and placed on the concrete foundation. Mr. McDonald then planned to move the shaft. It was too heavy to be carried by the dray. So, he planned to tip it on its side, place rollers beneath, then roll it down an incline made of heavy timbers to the ground. Underneath were heavy planks, on rollers and Mr. McDonald took the shaft to Elmer park on those planks. The work was largely performed by volunteer workers. Packer Avenue used to run all the way to Lehigh avenue before the new bridge was constructed.
I have searched all possible local resources for information regarding the doughboy and its origin and found that records for this period of 1919 are missing at Sayre Borough, The Morning Times and, McDonald Monuments. We posted the announcement of the rededication of Facebook and received a comment from the Doughboy Searchers who have attributed our statue to E. M. Viquesney and most probably came from the Friedley-Voshardt Company of Chicago, IL. There are identical Doughboy statues to Sayre’s in Johnstown, Pa and Palatka, FL. Unfortunately, we have no record of the cost of the actual doughboy statue.
The day of the unveiling was begun with a huge parade. Immediately following the parade hundreds gathered about the speakers stand near the monument. The bands, Canteen workers, soldiers and sailors formed a hallow square around the monument.
Speakers for the ceremony were: Sayre Burgess Carling, Representative Hon. L. T. McFadden, Hon A. C. Fanning and C. L. Lewis of Sayre one of the ablest speakers in the area. Mrs. Peter Murphy was given the honor of performing the unveiling ceremony because of the loss of her sons Eugene and Leo. As the brave mother with saddened countenance slowly put out her hand, touched the flag and pulled it toward her, all was quiet through the length and breadth of the Park and all hearts went out to this mother who had suffered so great a loss and was now before them unveiling to the world a memorial to her sons and the ten other young men of Sayre who were never to come back
Immediately upon the statue being revealed, shouts, cheers, automobile horns and aerial bombs deafened the air and noise was let loose for fair. When all became quiet again C. L. Lewis read the roll of honor.
The monument for which Sayre is indebted to the never ceasing efforts of C. E. Loetzer, is a remarkable work of art. Upon a granite base is a typical American Doughboy with his rifle on his shoulder standing at ease as though just having halted after a long hike. The work is done in bronze and is a lasting tribute to the twelve Sayre lads whose names are in raised letters on the bronze tablet on the face of the granite base. The tablet bears the mottos “Their deeds are immortal” and “Their memory shall never die” underneath the names Archie F. Hatch, Orlando M. Loomis, Eugene Murphy, Leo A. Murphy, Arthur V. Drake, Fred D. Skiff, Clarence B. Utter, Elmer D. Jackson, William H. Decatur, Wayne R. Horton, Ransome B. Grumme, Frank R. Bowers.
On Saturday September 14, the Sayre Historical Society will rededicate the Doughboy and continue to remember the twelve young men from Sayre who died during World War I.
Henry Farley is a founding member and a current board member of the Sayre Historical Society. He is also president of the Bradford County Historical Society.