OOS Sculpture

Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Athens)

1893 / David Richards & Maurice J. Power / Athens

The monument sitting on Ohio University's College Green consists of a Union artilleryman on top of a tall, round column, with 3 protruding platforms at the base, each containing a statue (a Union sailor, infantryman, and cavalryman) and multiple bronze plaques. The statues are all bronze, and the base is granite. The monument remains in good condition.

The plaques read as follows:

"The people will ever remember how much of our national prosperity is due to the patriotism and valor of the men who died in the service of their country."

"Athens County contributed twenty-six hundred and ten men as soldiers and sailors in the War for the Union 1861-1865"

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mort." (From Latin to English: It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country.)

"The people of Athens County erect this monument in memory of those who volunteered as soldiers and sailors in defense of the Union and to perpetuate free government."

"Erected Anno Domini 1893"

"Board of Commissioners: (names of 5 men)"

The remaining bronze plaques are reliefs of battle scenes and various groups of soldiers.

Following a campaign by Civil War veterans, the $18,000 monument was unveiled on July 4, 1893 to a crowd of more than 7,000. In 1907, an act of Congress allowed the Secretary of War to give the city six Civil War cannons and about 100 cannonballs to surround the base of the monument. There were enough cannonballs to form two pyramids, which are frequently seen in older pictures. It was also a traditional group pose for a photo to sit atop one of the cannons in a long line. By 1917, there had been three separate occasions where one of the cannons was fired, with the third damaging nearby building and shattering 10 windows in the Masonic Temple across the street. An article from Ohio University's newspaper in 1942 discusses the loss of some of the ammunition and artillery during World War II. Following President Franklin D. Roosevelt's request of a nationwide scrap-metal campaign, two of the cannons and around 50 cannonballs were sold to a scrap dealer for $120.41, with the money being given to the USO.

There is an ongoing mystery as to what happened to the weapons that the bronze military men held since their installation in 1893. The soldiers had been armed with rifles, and the sailor held a sword. Sometime in the 1960s or early 1970s, the weapons vanished. Despite investigations by local historians and Ohio University archivists, there has been no explanation for their disappearance. The only trail has been left by photographic evidence and various mentions of the monument in articles, showing that the hands that once held weapons were often filled with Vietnam War protest signs. Many rumors and theories tie the disappearance to the war, although stories differ as to whether they were removed as a protest, a precaution, or a prank. In September 2011, the mystery of what happened to the sword was solved after an OU employee came forward to say she found it in her new office when she came to the university in 1997. She was told the university had it removed because they feared it would go missing. She donated the sword to the Athens Historical Society and Museum. The case of the missing rifles remains unsolved.

Location: Ohio University's College Green, formerly known as Athens Town Commons, Corner of Union St. and Court St.

County

: Athens

Citation

: David Richards and Maurice J. Power, “Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Athens),” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture , accessed March 3, 2021, http://oos.sculpturecenter.org/index.php/items/show/1726.

Dublin Core

Title

Soldiers and Sailors Monument (Athens)

Description

The monument sitting on Ohio University's College Green consists of a Union artilleryman on top of a tall, round column, with 3 protruding platforms at the base, each containing a statue (a Union sailor, infantryman, and cavalryman) and multiple bronze plaques. The statues are all bronze, and the base is granite. The monument remains in good condition.

The plaques read as follows:

"The people will ever remember how much of our national prosperity is due to the patriotism and valor of the men who died in the service of their country."

"Athens County contributed twenty-six hundred and ten men as soldiers and sailors in the War for the Union 1861-1865"

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mort." (From Latin to English: It is sweet and glorious to die for one's country.)

"The people of Athens County erect this monument in memory of those who volunteered as soldiers and sailors in defense of the Union and to perpetuate free government."

"Erected Anno Domini 1893"

"Board of Commissioners: (names of 5 men)"

The remaining bronze plaques are reliefs of battle scenes and various groups of soldiers.

Following a campaign by Civil War veterans, the $18,000 monument was unveiled on July 4, 1893 to a crowd of more than 7,000. In 1907, an act of Congress allowed the Secretary of War to give the city six Civil War cannons and about 100 cannonballs to surround the base of the monument. There were enough cannonballs to form two pyramids, which are frequently seen in older pictures. It was also a traditional group pose for a photo to sit atop one of the cannons in a long line. By 1917, there had been three separate occasions where one of the cannons was fired, with the third damaging nearby building and shattering 10 windows in the Masonic Temple across the street. An article from Ohio University's newspaper in 1942 discusses the loss of some of the ammunition and artillery during World War II. Following President Franklin D. Roosevelt's request of a nationwide scrap-metal campaign, two of the cannons and around 50 cannonballs were sold to a scrap dealer for $120.41, with the money being given to the USO.

There is an ongoing mystery as to what happened to the weapons that the bronze military men held since their installation in 1893. The soldiers had been armed with rifles, and the sailor held a sword. Sometime in the 1960s or early 1970s, the weapons vanished. Despite investigations by local historians and Ohio University archivists, there has been no explanation for their disappearance. The only trail has been left by photographic evidence and various mentions of the monument in articles, showing that the hands that once held weapons were often filled with Vietnam War protest signs. Many rumors and theories tie the disappearance to the war, although stories differ as to whether they were removed as a protest, a precaution, or a prank. In September 2011, the mystery of what happened to the sword was solved after an OU employee came forward to say she found it in her new office when she came to the university in 1997. She was told the university had it removed because they feared it would go missing. She donated the sword to the Athens Historical Society and Museum. The case of the missing rifles remains unsolved.

Date

1893

Source

https://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1650

The missing weapons mystery:
https://tinyurl.com/4ro5dhur

https://tinyurl.com/yb5egenq

https://tinyurl.com/2e9enagd

Contributor

Identifier

1726

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Location City

Location County

Location Site

Ohio University's College Green, formerly known as Athens Town Commons

Location Street

Corner of Union St. and Court St.

Installation Date

1893

Creation Date

1893