Wheaton Park District’s World War I Monument Receives National Restoration Grant
CONTACT: Gina Catalano
Wheaton Park District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2017
Wheaton, Ill.— On September 27, the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced the first 50 grant awardees for their “WWI Centennial Memorials” program, and the list includes Wheaton’s own WWI Obelisk in Northside Park.
Wheaton is one of six Illinois organizations that honors community members that served during the war in the form of monuments or memorials.
500 men from the Wheaton area enlisted from 1917-1919, 13 of whom died in service. In 1922, a memorial consisting of two bronze plaques with the names of all 500 men was mounted on an obelisk and placed at the Warren L. Wheaton home located at Roosevelt and Naperville Roads. 500 ash trees were planted along Roosevelt Rd. leading up to the obelisk to create Wheaton’s Road of Remembrance. When the road was widened in 1931, the trees were moved to various parks throughout Wheaton and a new obelisk was built at Northside Park five years later. The original bronze plaques were reinstalled and remained unrestored until this year.
Wheaton Park District hired Restoric, a local restoration specialist, in 2012 to do an assessment of the monument and developed plans for the restoration work. Restoration began earlier this year and was completed this past August. Included in the restoration was removal of cement-mortars and repointing of mortar joints, cleaning of masonry surfaces, replacement of damaged limestone masonry, repairing of cracks and conversing the bronze plaques.
The preservations of the monument was recognized by the Commission and will be giving the Park District a matching grant of $2,000.
State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, was in attendance at the grant announcement and acknowledged that the obelisk in the Wheaton community needed substantial work to fix the masonry and brass.
“World War I is an important part of the community there,” Ives said. “At the time of the conflict, Wheaton had roughly 4,000 residents and about 500 men left to serve in the war. We’ve lost that generation already.”
Park Board President John Vires was also in attendance and is honored that Northside’s obelisk was recognized by the Commission.
“We are proud and thankful for this acknowledgement from the United States World War One Centennial Commission and Pritzker Military Museum & Library,” he said. “Our efforts to restore Northside’s monument have paid off immensely.”
A dedication ceremony of the restored monument is planned for Veteran’s Day, Saturday, November 11 at Northside Park at 10 a.m.