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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    WWI Doughboy Statue, High Point

  • Type

    Common Soldier Statue

  • Subjects

    World War I

  • City

    High Point

  • County

    Guilford

  • Description

    The memorial is a life-size depiction of a World War One “Doughboy” standing on a rectangular concrete base. The soldier is holding a rifle in the proper right hand and a grenade in the proper left hand. He is wearing a hip-length jacket, spiral leggings, an ammunition belt and army service hat. Large metal plaques are attached to each of the four sides of the base listing 600 names of High Point area men who served in the war. A star next to the name designates the 14 men who died while in uniform. The inscriptions at the top of each plaque are the same but the single word at the bottom of each is different: HONOR, JUSTICE, SERVICE, and PATRIOTISM. The total height is 14 ft. and total weight is 10 tons.

    An article in the High Point Enterprise prior to dedication questioned the authenticity of many details of the soldier’s uniform, especially the spiral leggings and head gear which the author described as a helmet but appears to be a poor representation of an army service hat. The donor, Mr. W.J. Wrenn, explained that the statue had been commissioned through a Baltimore agency to have the work carved in Italy and that he had trusted them to deliver an accurate representation.

    Images: Right view | Left view | Rear view | Front inscription | Side NW inscription | Side SE inscription | Rear inscription

  • Inscription

    Front, SW facing: THIS MONUMENT / IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN / OF HIGH POINT, N.C. WHO SERVED GOD AND THEIR / 1917 * COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WAR * 1918 / [Three columns with approximately 150 names total] / HONOR

    Side, SE facing: THIS MONUMENT / IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN / OF HIGH POINT, N.C. WHO SERVED GOD AND THEIR / 1917 * COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WAR * 1918 / [Three columns with approximately 150 names total] / JUSTICE

    Rear, NE facing: THIS MONUMENT / IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN / OF HIGH POINT, N.C. WHO SERVED GOD AND THEIR / 1917 * COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WAR * 1918 / [Three columns with approximately 150 names total] / SERVICE

    Side, NW facing: THIS MONUMENT / IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF THE MEN / OF HIGH POINT, N.C. WHO SERVED GOD AND THEIR / 1917 * COUNTRY IN THE WORLD WAR * 1918 / [Three columns with approximately 150 names total] / PATRIOTISM

  • Custodian

    City of High Point

  • Dedication Date

    November 11, 1923. Re-dedication: October 5, 2004

  • Decade

    1920s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.957430 , -80.005610 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      Schultz, Sue. “Granite Marker Honors Veterans,” N&R Greensboro.com, News And Record (Greensboro, NC), May 3, 2005, (accessed February 25, 2016) Link

      Swensen, Eric. “A Celebrated Patriot Gets A Better View,” N&R Greensboro.com, News And Record (Greensboro, NC), October 4, 2004, (accessed February 22, 2016) Link

      Swensen, Eric. “Teen Works To Restore ‘Doughboy’ A Student Has Worked To Raise Money To Clean And Repair The WWI Statue,” N&R Greensboro.com, News And Record (Greensboro, NC), May 28, 2004, (accessed February 22, 2016) Link

      “High Point Today Unveils Monument To War Service Men,” High Point Enterprise (High Point, NC), November 11, 1923, 1

      “Unveiled Here Today,” High Point Enterprise (High Point, NC), November 11, 1923, 15

      “Wrenn Memorial Unveiled Before Great Throng,” High Point Enterprise (High Point, NC), November 12, 1923, 1

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Italian Marble, metal (either brass or bronze), concrete base

  • Sponsors

    Mr. and Mrs. M.J. Wrenn

  • Monument Dedication and Unveiling

    Several thousand people were in attendance for the statue unveiling. The principle speaker for the day was the Commander of Ft. Bragg, General A.J. Bowley. The day’s events included a parade, a 21 gun salute and music provided by a combined choir from various churches. The monument was unveiled by Miss Frances Walsh as the Elk Band played the national anthem. High Point businessman Robert Brockett presented the statue which was accepted by Mayor John W. Hedrick. During his speech Bowley said that he was afraid that the fighting had stopped several months too soon, saying that he believed “the present conditions in Europe show that we should have continued the push for about three months longer, and it is possible that the work left incomplete must yet be done.”

    About 100 people gathered for the 2004 re-dedication. One of those in attendance was city resident Mary Lou Brinson, whose father A. Coke Cecil is one of heroes listed on the plaques at the statue’s base. “It’s a lifelong dream (to see it prominently displayed),” Brinson said. “Nobody saw it on the back (streets).”

  • Subject Notes

    The individual behind restoring the statue and having it moved to a more prominent location was a 16-year-old history buff Nicholas Ruden. He raised about $5,000 with help from Rose Furniture co-owner Bill Kester and local Rotary clubs. Ruden was also the driving force in raising money to build the veterans memorial that stands nearby and was dedicated May 30, 2005.

    The statue was carved in Italy.

  • Location

    The memorial stands on a brick plaza, or, Memorial Park, located at the intersection of N. Main Street and E. High Avenue. Other memorials include Revolutionary War Patriots, African American Gold Star plaque, World War Two Honor Roll, Veterans Memorial, and POW/MIA plaque. On the corner across E. High Street is a plaque to General Maxwell Reid Thurman. Across Main Street at the restored High Point Train depot is the Plank Road Foreman statue and “High Point” marker.

  • Landscape

    Bushes and trees adorn the brick plaza where the WWI Doughboy Statue stands on.

  • Former Locations

    Hayden Place and Broad Avenue near High Point’s bus transit station.

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