World War One Victory Arch, Kinston
The Victory Arch paid honor to the 14 Lenoir County Men who gave their lives during World War One. Their names were inscribed on an imposing four arch structure which was constructed of white painted wood and spanned two streets. A large column stood on each of the four street corners with an arch between each column. Scrolled woodwork and flags accented the structure which was also illuminated. The arch had always been intended as a temporary structure. It was deemed unsafe and dismantled on July 11, 1922. Plans to replace it with one of concrete and marble never materialized.
List of soldiers names: JOSHEPH DIXON ROUNDTREE / BURWELL JACKSON / FOUNTAIN PARROTT / GORDON RHODES / CLEN MANLEY RIGGS / JOHN K. GRADY / LELAND A. PATRICK / WILL GARDNER / PEARLIE H. HARRIS / FRANK R. BROWN / J.R. ALFORD / DON MERCER / WILLIAM J. MCCOY / HERBERT E. ROUSE
July 4, 1919
35.265120 , -77.581050 View in Geobrowse
“Chamber Of Commerce Committee Takes Up Work Of Reimbursing Unidentified Citizen Who Footed July 4 Bills,” The Daily Free Press (Kinston, NC), September 2, 1919, 1
“Doggone It, -It Makes Him Sore.” The Daily Free Press (Kinston, NC), July 14, 1919, 6
“Fourth Given To Big Celebration In City,” The Daily Free Press (Kinston, NC), July 4, 1919, 1, 4
“Memorial Arch Is Gone; Lets Raise Another,” The Daily Free Press (Kinston, NC), July 11, 1922, 1
“New Memorial Arch To Be Built At Kinston,” The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), July 18, 1922, 6
“They Sleep Where Poppies Grow, In Flanders Fields; Heroic Dead,” The Daily Free Press (Kinston, NC), August 2, 1919
Wood frame structure
Chamber of Commerce and City of Kinston
The Victory Arch was dedicated as part of Kinston’s 1919, July 4th celebration described as the
biggest event in the city’s history. A large parade began the activities with men recently
returned from the war, Confederate veterans, Boy and Girl Scouts, the Red Cross, firemen, "Red
Men dressed as Indians", local dignitaries and the Hickory Nuts band of the 30th Division all part
of the entourage.
The parade stopped at the memorial arch where the Reverend George B. Hanrahan gave the memorial address. Miss Bessie Hooten, who had seen service oversees as a war nurse, passed out badges with gold stars to the nearest of kin of those who had died in military service. The band played the Star Spangled Banner before the parade moved on to Knott’s Warehouse for more music and patriotic speeches.
Several other temporary WWI Victory Arches were built in North Carolina to include Asheville and Washington.
From July 4th through July 20th it had been decreed by local authorities that all motorist come to a dead stop at the arch for a silent tribute to the fallen soldiers. The decree was not followed which led to ex-soldiers gathering at the arch to cajole those who did not stop. “Slackers”, “peace-time soldiers,” “mollycoddles” and other epithets were hurled at drivers that did not stop. To quote one individual mad about the lack of respect, “Those boys wouldn’t care; they’d prefer not to have any honor paid them by such folks, but to us who came back it looks like the smallest thing we ever saw not to observe the rules.”
The arches were located at the intersections of N. Queen Street and Peyton Avenue in Kinston, NC.