Outside the American Legion Post 202 on S. Conococheague Street in Williamsport stands a life-size bronze sculpture of a WWI Doughboy - a memorial to those locally who served in World War I. The young man faces east, forever posed in a running stance, carrying his rifle in his left hand and his right hand raised, beckoning all to follow him. One hundred sixty names of local men who answered their country's call are emblazoned in bronze on the weathering granite base.
This World War I Doughboy Monument is representative of the stock Doughboy monuments erected after the First World War and until the Great Depression. The origin of the term "Doughboy" has never been determined. The most popular theory for the word's origin is the soldier's method of cooking rations. Yet another variation involves the shape of their uniform buttons. Finally, there's the idea that the marching infantry pounded their dirt pathways into dough.
The sculpture stands on a rectangular bronze plinth that carries the manufacturer's identification on the lower right corner of the north side:
AMERICAN ART BRONZE FOUNDRY J. PAULDING SC. © 1921 CHICAGO.
Missouri-born sculptor John Paulding copyrighted at least three styles of Doughboy sculptures and sold these stock monuments around the United States.
Following the war, small towns nationwide determined to honor their bravery by erecting monuments. In Williamsport, a group known as the Soldiers Monument Association formed and raised $3,200 from 1922 to 1926 through community festivals, ox roasts, and personal solicitations to purchase a memorial. The town had not yet selected a monument or decided where it would be located - they just knew they wanted one.
The Soldiers Monument Association selected the top of the hill on W. Potomac Street directly in front of Mayor W. D. Byron's home as the site for the new memorial. Rough plans were presented, proving that cars and vehicles still had ample room on both sides to drive around the monument.
The second issue was the trolley tracks. - they would have to be rerouted around the monument or removed entirely. After a search of the courthouse records by the town attorney, it was proved that the trolley company did not own exclusive rights to the road. As the trolley rarely traveled down to the basin, the trolley company closed the tracks beyond Wolfe's.
As the monument would be sited directly in front of his home, unquestionably, Mayor Byron had a great deal of influence on this decision. On April 14, 1924, at the Williamsport Town Council meeting, the council unanimously granted the Soldiers Monument Association the right to erect the monument on the site together with any ground needed for the plot to beautify the same.
After approval of the site, Mayor Byron determined to make Williamsport's memorial the most celebrated in Washington County. In addition to the bronze soldier sculpture on order from the American Art Bronze Foundry, Mayor Byron wanted the big German Howitzer that temporarily stood on display in front of the Washington County Court House. The trophy weapon had been shipped to Washington County and was displayed in front of the Court House until a permanent location could be found. In May of 1926, Mayor Byron formally offered the Memorial plat in Williamsport to the Washington County Commissioners as a permanent display site for the war trophy alongside the Doughboy.
Mayor Byron's request was shot down in a controversy that aired on the front page of the Daily Mail newspaper. The Mayor of Hagerstown, the Hagerstown American Legion, and the Washington County Commissioners may not have decided where the gun would displayed– but they were positive their prize would remain in Hagerstown.
In July of 1926, the River View Cemetery Memorial Association announced its intention to host a carnival in Williamsport as a fundraising project to maintain the cemetery. Mayor Byron cleverly combined the ceremonial dedication of the war memorial and the River View fundraising carnival into one large week-long affair.
The entire block of West Potomac Street was closed down to host the celebration from Saturday, July 3, through Saturday, July 10, 1926. On Monday, July 5, after a two-hour delay from rain, Chief Marshall Charles Jessup led an Independence Day parade through the streets of Williamsport with a dozen civic organizations, colorful floats, Jazz bands, and dignitaries of Williamsport and Hagerstown transported through town in "decorated automobiles." The War Memorial Association formally donated the bronze Doughboy statue to the town. George A. Reed had donated a flag pole for the memorial plot with a flag presented by the Jr. Order of the United American Mechanics Lodge. The local Boy Scout troop ran the first flag up the new pole.
On Wednesday, July 7, 1926, Maryland Governor Albert C. Ritchie dedicated the memorial in a ceremony boasted as "one of the biggest events in its [Williamsport's] history." Although the Governor's speech on the principles of religious freedoms and self-government was well-received, by far the most remembered comment was uttered by Major Joseph C. Byron, when introducing Governor Ritchie;
"It is told that George Washington and the Continental Congress once selected Williamsport to be the sight of the Capitol of the United States – by the grace of God, we have escaped this calamity, for which we should be truly thankful.."
In 1926, when Williamsport's WWI memorial was dedicated, only 1 in 13 families owned an automobile. By 1929, 4 out of 5 families owned a car. After WWII, almost 8 million automobiles were on the highway, and the two posts illuminating the memorial had been struck down several tifmes. For public safety, the State Roads Commission and Williamsport's Town Council determined the monument needed to be removed from the very busy US Route 11. Williamsport's Doughboy was moved to the Byron Memorial Park and rededicated in a public ceremony by the American Legion Post 202 on the 35th anniversary of the WWI Armistice, November 11, 1953.
The sculpture stood in the Byron Memorial Park from 1953 until 1977, when it again moved to the American Legion Post 202 picnic grounds on S. Conococheague Street. A second "rededication" ceremony was held on Armistice Day, November 11, 1977, at 11 am. No other World War I memorial has had the distinction of being moved so many times.
In 1992, as part of Governor Parris Glendening's plans, monies were appropriated to catalog, restore, and preserve the Maryland monuments and Williamsport's Doughboy received a much-needed restoration. In October 1992, the sculpture was rated in fair condition, with a mottled and streaked surface of light green, brown and gold. The surface was a dull matte. According to staff at the American Legion, the sculpture had at one time been sandblasted and then lacquered. The bayonet was missing. The granite was in good condition, although soiled. Mortar joints appeared to be sound. In September 1994, the monument was cleaned with water and a non-ionic detergent; the bronze was further cleaned with walnut shell air abrasive and waxed. A replacement bayonet was fabricated and installed in 1997.
The granite pedestal is rectangular in plan, its transverse oriented east toward the front of the parking lot. The inscription die has smooth longitudinal north and south faces, which carry the plaques; the narrow east and west sides are rock-faced. Above the die is a hipped cap with rock-faced sides and an ogee profile at the lower edge. Below the die is a two-level stepped base with rock-faced sides. The monument stands on a platform, presumably of concrete, covered with outdoor carpeting.
The bronze plaque on the south side of the pedestal reads:
ERECTED AND DEDICATED
TO THE MEMORY OF THE BOYS FROM
THE WILLIAMSPORT DISTRICT
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES OR THEIR SERVICES
IN THE WORLD WAR
(77 names listed)
*KILLED IN ACTION †DIED IN SERVICE
Two names are marked with a star and one with a cross.
The plaque on the north side of the pedestal carries the same inscription and lists eighty-three names. One of the names is marked with a star. The last two names on the list are designated "(COLORED)."
Carved on the front side of the granite base below the die block are the dates, "April 6, 1917-November 11, 1918." Engraved on the north and south sides of the base below each plaque is the designation "W.W. I."
A flag pole stands directly behind the monument and flies the U.S., Maryland and POW flags. A light mounted on the rear of the platform is directed toward the flags. Aligned on the east and north sides of the monument, at the edge of the carpeted platform, is a continuous plinth which forms a right angle. The east and north faces of the plinth are carved with insignia of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Six granite stones, three to a side, are arranged on the plinth. The three on the east side begin with the same inscription:
IN RECOGNITION OF ALL VETERANS WHO MADE THE FREEDOM:
Reading from south to north, the first states:
WORLD WAR II
DECEMBER 7, 1941-DEC. 31, 1946
JUNE 25, 1950-JAN. 31, 1955
DECEMBER 22, 1961-MAY 7, 1975
The three stones on the north side of the plinth all carry the inscription:
IN HONOR OF ALL
VETERANS WHO GAVE
SO FREELY FOR GOD
Reading east to west, the first stone adds:
AUGUST 24, 1982- JULY 31, 1984
The second adds:
DECEMBER 20, 1989-JAN. 31, 1990
The third stone had no designation as of October 1994.
Similar "American Doughboy" Sculptures
Richland County Courthouse, at the Corner of 2nd Avenue North & 4th Street North, Wahpeton, North Dakota
The Spirit of the American Doughboy, or Over the Top to Victory,
Copyrighted 1920.; Cast 1921.; Dedicated 1927.
Bronze sculpture on a rainbow granite base. approx. H. 84 in.; Base: approx. 147 1/2 x 204 1/2 x 93
Inscription; In Commemoration of Richland County Citizens/Who Rendered Services to Our Country/During 1917 - The Great World War - 1918/Honor Roll (List of 1018 names of the men who served, on three plaques). Figure of a World War I infantryman advancing through a battlefield of rocks and barbed wire. He holds a horizontal rifle in his proper left hand and once held a now missing grenade in his upraised proper right hand. He is in full military dress, wearing a doughboy helmet on his head. The figure is placed on a tiered base; the tallest tier is in the middle, one smaller on each side. The sculpture cost nine-thousand seven-hundred dollars.
Connecticut Street Armory, 184 Connecticut Street, Corner of Connecticut & Niagara Streets, Buffalo, New York
Spirit of the American Doughboy, or Over the Top to Victory,
Copyrighted 1921. Cast 1928. Dedicated May 18, 1929.
Bronze sculpture on a red Medina sandstone base 6 ft. 8 in. x 2 ft. x 2 ft.; Base: 6 ft. x 4 ft. x 4 ft.
Inscriptiion: American Doughboy/" Over the Top" to Victory/Erected by the/Veterans Ass'n 74th Inf. N.G.N.Y./in honor of the members of/74th Inf. U.S.A./who served in the World War/1912-1918/and in grateful memory/of those who made the supreme sacrifice (Plaque on proper right side of base:) Dedicated to the memory of (43 names in two columns)/by the Veterans Assn./74th Inf. N.Y.N.G. (Plaque on proper left side of base:) Dedicated to the memory of/(43 names in two columns) by the Veterans Assn./74th Inf. N.Y.N.G. signed
A World War I doughboy soldier, dressed in uniform, seen in a charging pose, with rifle in proper left hand at side, and raised proper right hand holding a grenade. A copper box sealed in base of monument contains veterans association minutes, full roster of 74th regiment, coins of the war period, and dedication program. Bronze inscription plaques are mounted on three sides of the base.
The memorial was erected by the Veterans Association of the 74th Infantry Regiment in honor of 108 comrades who fell in World War I. Of the 1500 men of the 74th infantry who left Buffalo in Sept. 1917, 108 were killed in action, and 400 were wounded. The $4,000 cost of the memorial was funded by contributions from the soldiers and officers of the 74th Veterans Association in 1929.
Tripp County Courthouse, Winner, South Dakota
Copyrighted 1921. Cast 1924.
Metal sculpture on stone base approx. 90 x 30 x 70 in.; Base: approx. 70 x 34 x 34 in.
Inscription; J. Paulding sc. (copyright symbol) 1921 American Art Bronze Foundry, 1924 (Plaque on base:) 1917 - 1919/ERECTED IN HONOR OF THE/FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MEN OF TRIPP COUNTY WHO ANSWERED/THEIR COUNTRIES CALL IN THE/WORLD WAR AND IN MEMORY OF THE FOLLOWING WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE/(three columns of names) signed Founder's mark appears.
Figure of a World War I soldier erect and positioned as if running. His proper left leg is forward; his proper right hand is raised above his head, with open palm facing forward. He carries a rifle at his side in his proper left hand. He is dressed in military uniform, with helmet, canteen, ammo belt, back packs, leggings, etc. He stands atop a tapered base with metal inscription plaque.
Main Street & Horicon Avenue, Bolton's Landing, New York
Dedicated July 4, 1921.
Bronze sculpture on granite approx. 84 x 24 x 24 in.; Base: approx. 90 x 78 x 78 in.
Inscription; AMERICAN ART BRONZE FOUNDRY/J. PAULDING, SC CHICAGO (On bronze plaque on front of base:) IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF/THE MEN OF BOLTON/WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE WORLD WAR/ (list of three names)/AND IN RECOGNITION OF ALL WHO WENT FORTH/FROM THIS TOWN IN THE SERVICE OF/THEIR COUNTRY AND OF HUMANITY./(list of seventy names) signed Founder's mark appears.
A World War I doughboy running with a rifle held in his proper left hand and his raised proper right hand. The sculpture stands atop a square base made of granite blocks.
The sculpture honors the men of Bolton died in World War I as well as those who served during the war. Bolton citizens purchased the sculpture and base from Temple Brothers of Rutland, Vermont form $2,000. Hiram F. Seaman was the mason responsible for the base.
Norfolk Junior High School, 510 Pasewalk Avenue, Norfolk, Nebraska
Copyrighted 1921. 1928. Dedicated May 30, 1928.
Bronze sculpture on stone base approx. 6 ft. 6 in. x 4 ft. x 2 ft. 6 in.; Base: approx. 7 ft. x 10 ft. x 58
Inscription; CAST BY AMERICAN ART BRONZE FOUNDRY/J.PAULDING SC. (copyright symbol) 1921 CHICAGO 1928 (Plaque on front of base:) (American Legion insignia)/DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF/VETERANS OF ALL WARS/OF THE/UNITED STATES OF AMERICA/BY/THE AMERICAN LEGION/NORFOLK, NEBRASKA/POST NUMBER 16/MAY 30, 1928 unsigned Founder's mark appears.
Standing male soldier wearing World War I uniform. Proper right hand holds a rifle horizontal to the ground. Proper left arm is raised above the head with proper left hand open. Soldier stands on rectangular stone base. Center of the base has plaque with reliefs of a leaf and branch on either side.
Missoula County Courthouse, Corner of Broadway & Ryman Street, Missoula, Montana
The Spirit of the American Doughboy, Copyrighted 1921.
Bronze Sculpture on granite base approx. 9 x 7 x 3 ft.; Base: approx. 6 x 6 x 6 ft.
Inscription; CAST BY AMERICAN ART BRONZE FOUNDRY/J. PAULDING SC. (copyright symbol) 1921 CHICAGO (Two plaques, dated 1927 and 1948, list the honor rolls of Missoula County citizens who died in the two World Wars) signed Founder's mark appears.
Uniformed World War I soldier stands on a square base. The figure is in motion and holds a hand grenade aloft in his proper right hand and a rifle in his proper left hand. The uniform includes a tin hat and backpack. Plaques on the base honor soldiers of both World Wars.
Lighting was installed by the City in 1993 when a local veterans group relandscaped the area around the sculpture. The grenade may have been replaced.
Department of Veterans' Affairs, 700 Summer Street N.E., Salem, Oregon. Formerly located Marion County Courthouse, High Street N.E., Salem, Oregon 1924-1991.
Over the Top to Victory, or Their Country's Call Answered
Copyrighted 1920. Dedicated November 11, 1924. Relocated May 1991. Rededicated May 18, 1991.
Bronze sculpture on stone base approx. 7 ft. x 28 in. x 74 in.; Base: approx. H. 76 in. x W. 84 in.
Inscription; CAST BY AMERICAN ART BRONZE FOUNDRY/J. PAULDING SC. (copyright symbol) 1920 CHICAGO (Incised in base, front:) THEIR COUNTRY'S CALL/ANSWERED/SONS AND DAUGHTER OF/MARION COUNTY/WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE/IN THE/WORLD WAR/1914-1918/" GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN"/JOHN 15:13 (Three sides list the names of the 87 men and one woman from Marion County who died in the War) (On plaque on base, front:) DOUGHBOY STATUE REDEDICATION/MAY 18, 1991/BARBARA ROBERTS/GOVERNOR/JON MANGIS/DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS/ORVILLE A. RUMMELL/PAST COMMANDER/VETERAN WORLD WAR I signed Founder's mark appears.
Uniformed World War I soldier in act of running, holds a rifle with bayonet in his proper left hand and a grenade in his proper right hand. Uniform items include a hat and backpack. The figure is installed on a square, tapered base.
Commissioned by the American War Mothers and the Gold Star Mothers in memory of the eighty-seven men and one woman from Marion County who died in World War I. Originally installed at the Marion County Courthouse, the sculpture was moved to its current site in May 1991 by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Memorial Park, Wheaton, Illinois
Copyrighted 1921. Installed 1929.
Bronze sculpture on stone boulder base approx. 84 x 30 x 60 in.; Base: approx. 5 x 6 x 4 ft.
Inscription; Cast by American Art Bronze Foundry / J. Paulding Sc (copyright symbol) 1921 Chicago
A figure of a World War I soldier leaning forward raising his proper right hand in the air, as if leading a charge, and holding a rifle in his proper left hand. The sculpture stands on a stone boulder.
Other sculptures by John Pauling 1833-1935
World War I Doughboy (sculpture), Winner, South Dakota
World War I Memorial, (sculpture), City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Benjamin Franklin, (sculpture), Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
War Memorial (sculpture), Town of Bolton, Bolton Landing, New York
American Doughboy, (sculpture), City of Northampton, Northampton, Pennsylvania
World War I Soldier, (sculpture), City of Elgin, Elgin, Illinois
World War I Doughboy, (sculpture), Bay County Library System, Bay City, Michigan
World War I Doughboy Memorial,(sculpture), Saline County, Marshall, Missouri
Tribute to Soldiers and Sailors of the World War, (sculpture), City of Pueblo, Pueblo, Colorado
Veteran Memorial, (sculpture), Norfolk Public Schools, Norfolk, Nebraska
World War I Monument, (sculpture), City of Newberry, Newberry, South Carolina
Soldiers Monument, (sculpture), Carter County, Van Buren, Missouri
Camp Washington War Memorial, (sculpture), City of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio
The Reconnoissance, (sculpture), City of McPherson, McPherson, Kansas
The Spirit of the American Doughboy, (sculpture), Missoula County, Missoula, Montana
World War I Memorial, (sculpture), City of Paducah, Paducah, Kentucky
Over the Top to Victory, (sculpture), State of Oregon, Salem, Oregon
War Memorial, (sculpture), Greene County, Paragould, Arkansas
Doughboy, (sculpture), American Legion, Saline, Michigan
In Memory of World War Veterans, (sculpture), City of Olathe, Olathe, Kansas
Dough-boy Ready, (sculpture), City of Amarillo, Amarillo, Texas
Casimir Pulaski, (sculpture), City of Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
The Charging Doughboy, (sculpture), City of Onaga, Onaga, Kansas
Dough Boy, (sculpture), City of Ladysmith, Ladysmith, Wisconsin
World War I Monument, (sculpture), American Legion, Potomac Post No. 202, Williamsport, Md.
World War I - Doughboy, (sculpture), Wheaton Park District, Wheaton, Illinois