Memorial Restoration Initiative

In the fall of 2015, Sculpture Valley and the City of Appleton worked together to create a capitol improvement budget to restore all of Appleton's war memorials, monuments and markers. The following projects are on-going and we'll keep you up to date as they progress.

2014 restoration showing signs of wear.

2014 restoration showing signs of wear.

New cast bronze Doughboy dedicated Nov 11, 2017.

New cast bronze Doughboy dedicated Nov 11, 2017.

New Centanial Memorial Designation and Doughboys of Outamaimie County plaque.

New Centanial Memorial Designation and Doughboys of Outamaimie County plaque.

"Spirit of the American Doughboy" by E.M. Viquesney

The “Spirit of the American Doughboy” memorial by E. M. Viquesney, which stands in the Memorial Drive median, was erected Nov. 11, 1934, by American Legion Post No. 38. It honors soldiers from Outagamie County who fought in World War I, including 85 who died while serving. 

The Doughboy was nearly destroyed in November of 1986 when it was hit by an automobile whose driver had fallen asleep. It was broken from the pedestal, leaving only the lower parts of the legs attached and its upper arm was torn off. American Legion Post No. 38 members and Appleton Lamplighters reassembled the piece and replaced the missing rifle and bayonet and added chemically treated cement that reportedly wouldn’t expand or contract to help provide stability.

Unfortunately, the cement added to the Doughboy’s legs for stability did sweat and subsequent seasonal freezing and thawing eventually caused the leg seams to split. In 2006, the Post-Crescent and American Legion led a community fundraising effort to restore the monument, raising over $25,000 for its repair. The Doughboy was taken down and shipped to Nebraska where it underwent a complete restoration by Jensen Conservation Services of Omaha. It was rededicated on November 11, 2006.

In hindsight, a thorough investigation would have revealed that this version of the Doughboy, from the late 1934 reboot of the Doughboys sculpture production, was made of a friable zinc-alloy, far inferior to the multilayered copper versions he first produced a decade earlier. 

In 2011, Sculpture Valley conducted a Valley-wide survey of war memorials and monuments, but knowing this monument was fully restored five years earlier, did not conduct a full evaluation. Several years later a community member informed the City that it was once again showing significant signs of weathering, at which time Sculpture Valley evaluated the Doughboy and discovered its poor condition – that it needed to be restored, yet again. Sculpture Valley also recommended it be moved indoors. In the interim, Jensen Conservation Services was asked to return to Appleton to perform a temporary restoration which they finished in the fall of 2014. 

In the spring of 2016, signs of flaking and cracking were already appearing on the newly refinished surfaces. At this point in time, the Dept of Park & Rec contracted the evaluation services of Laura Kubick from Kristin Cheronis Inc. Sculpture & Object Conservation, reaffirming that a full replacement bronze replica should be cast in bronze and the weaker zinc-ally original moved indoors within the next five years. 


In the fall of 2015, the Parks and Rec Dept established a new capitol improvements funding source for the foreseeable future, including sufficient funding to fully recast the Doughboy in bronze. The FY2017 budget allotment for the Doughboy restoration was adjusted to cover the cost of the dismounting. transportation, molding, casting and reinstallation of the cast bronze by Max-Cast Foundry in Kalona, IA, which came in just under 30K. 

Additionally, Sculpture Valley submitted a grant request to the US WWI Centennial Commissions' 100 Cities | 100 Memorials program and was awarded one of the first 50 matching grants of $2000. Those funds were matched with generous contributions by the Desert Veterans of Wisconsin - Fox Valley Chapter, the Trout Family Trust, VFW Post #2778, American Legion Post #38 and the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association - Heart of the Valley Chapter, totaling $2,850. These funds were crucial to the creation and purchase of the new designation and dedication plaque which publicly lists the names of the 116 Doughboys of Outagamie County who never returned home for the first time.

A rededication and commemoration event was attended by roughly one hundred people on a snowy cold and blustery Armistice and Veterans Day, November 11, 2017. Mayor Tim Hanna addressed the crowd as did Representative Amanda Stuck. The highlight of the event was the stiffing rendition of the National Anthem by singer songwriter Emilie Poye which brought he crowd to tears. After the event ended the Scarlet Guard and participation members of the Desert Vetscolor guard along with a number of attendees, marched to the Courthouse for the annual Veterans Day ceremony there.


"Soldier's Memorial" by Trentanove

Until recently, the Soldier’s Memorial reflected a typical state of neglect of many military monuments left to age of their own accord. It is missing a number of key elements, vandalized or simply lost to the street. Engravings were difficult to read and the foundation needed attention.

Alderman Martin initiated a restoration project which has resulted in a cleaning of the base and blackening of the inscriptions for legibility. This is only the beginning of what will be a full restoration.

Laura Kubick from Kristin Cheronis Inc. Sculpture & Object Conservation evaluated it's condition in 2015 and provided a guideline for restoration. Part of this process with be to have a number of the missing pieces recast and reattached to the memorial, including the sabre, scabbard, flag staff and an eagle which has been missing for a hundred years.

Monies for the restoration have been earmarked for the project to be completed when the parking ramp in proximity is demolished and the site is redesigned to accommodate a monument plaza.

Maine Plaque 10-29-14 Fresh patina.jpg

Remember the Maine!

One of a series of the original 1000 castings of this plaque by Charles Keck. These were cast using reclaimed metal scrap from the USS. Maine before it was towed out of Havanah harbor and scuttled at sea.


Spanish American War Memorial

Historically, the Span-Am Memorial was dedicated in the boulevard of Lawrence Street behind Ulta Salon and access from Gabriel furniture. Today, the monument sits largely ignored along the treelike just above the tracks near the start of the frisbee gold course in Pierce Park.

In 2015, Sculpture Valley acquired the missing USS. Maine plaque to replace the one lost to vandalism in the 70's and last year, worked with the Parks and Rec Dept. to acquire replacement replica cannon for the eventual restoration of the Monument in Soldier's Square. 

There is a new initiative to restore this memorial to its original location working its way through Common Council.