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Rosenberg Treasure: Galveston’s World War I Memorial

Galveston's World War I Memorial

Rosenberg Treasure of the Month

Last Updated: May 4, 2021 by Rosenberg Library | History


During the month of May, Rosenberg Library will display a souvenir pin-back button from a 1926 fundraising campaign to erect a World War I Memorial in Galveston. The memorial monument was placed in Menard Park near the corner of Seawall Boulevard and 28th Street in 1927.

World War I Pin
Pins like this one were distributed to Galvestonians who donated to the World War I monument fund on Tag Day, May 1, 1926. Gift of Frank Patten, 79.169

On May 1, 1926 the George Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution organized a fundraising event called a “Tag Day.”  The group was seeking financial contributions to erect a memorial to the seventy-five Galvestonians who lost their lives while serving in the First World War.  Volunteers were stationed on street corners throughout downtown Galveston and solicited donations for the project.  Donors were “tagged” with metal pin-back buttons which bore the phrase “Lest We Forget.”  Nearly $4,000 was collected on Tag Day.

The War Memorial Committee, headed by Mrs. Edward Randall, selected Charles Ott of Ott Monument Works to design and erect the memorial.  The memorial was erected at a cost of $4,500 (nearly $70,000 in today’s dollars) with Ott donating his design and labor fees.  Texas red granite was selected for the piece which included a central structure on a terraced base flanked by benches on either side.  The central portion included a bronze Honor Roll plaque with the names of the 74 men and 1 woman from Galveston who lost their lives in service to their country.  Four of the men—G.M. Alston, William Blake, James Bates, and T.P. Perkins—were African-Americans and are listed separately as “colored.”

People at Dedication of WWI Memorial in 1927
Photo from the formal dedication of the World War I Memorial, November 11, 1927. Image courtesy of Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library
Members of American Legion at WWI Memorial in 1927
Members of the American Legion stand in front of the newly unveilved World War I Memorial, November 11, 1927. Image courtesy of Galveston and Texas History Center, Rosenberg Library

The memorial was formally dedicated on Armistice Day (now Veteran’s Day), November 11, 1927. This date marked the ninth anniversary of the end of World War I. An invocation was given by Rabbi Henry Cohen followed by a benediction by Rev. Marius Chataignon (who himself had served as a military chaplin in France during the war). Miss Ethel Hilton, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Texas, unveiled the monument, while Daniel J. Wilson, Assistant City Attorney for Galveston, accepted the gift on behalf of the City.

On November 11, 2017, the George Washington Chapter of the D.A.R. held a re-dedication ceremony at the World War I Memorial in remembrance of the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the Great War. For more than 9 decades, this monument has served as a reminder of the selfless patriotism of the 75 brave Galvestonians who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

World War I Memorial
Galveston’s World War I Memorial is located near the McGuire-Dent Recreation Center at 28th and Seawall Blvd. Image courtesy of Galveston.com

(See the “Honor Roll” inscribed on the memorial.)


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Rosenberg Library

Rosenberg Library has offered over a century of community service to the Galveston area, and is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. The building itself was dedicated on June 22, 1904, the birthday of its patron, Henry Rosenberg. The Moody Memorial Wing opened in 1971, more than doubling the floor space and allowing for a children’s library, a history center, several galleries to showcase museum collections, and later, a computer lab. The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Each month they display a “Treasure of the Month”. Learn more by visiting the Rosenberg Library page and the Gifts of Henry Rosenberg section.

2021-05-04T10:30:01-05:00

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

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