Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pawtucketville War Memorial

Ground was broken on November 11, 1927 for the Pawtucketville War Memorial in memory of the seventeen men who died during World War One. The Gold Star Mother's of the district had the honor of breaking ground. The memorial was located on the riverbank of Riverside Street.

On December 11, 1927 the cornerstone was laid and a time capsule was sealed in a copper box in the cornerstone. Items included:
  • History of Pawtucketville by Joseph M. Wilson
  • History of Dracut by Silas Coburn
  • History of the fundraising for the memorial with contributor's names
  • Photo of the memorial
  • Photo of Durkee house
  • Collection of war period fundraising buttons
  • War souvenirs from battlefields in France by Lt. Rasuez
  • Souvenir medal commemorating Col. Lindberg's non-stop flight across Atlantic
  • Copies of Courier-Citizen and Lowell Sun showing ground breaking
  • Soil and stone from French ceremony given by Gold Star Mother Mrs. E.J. McCarthy

On May 31, 1928 the impressive monument was dedicated. Medal of Honor recipient, George Charette and ten surviving members from the G.A.R. posts in Lowell including Chief Marshall Dudley L. Page and 6,000 residents attended the dedication.

A bronze tablet at the center of the monument listed the seventeen men: Wilfred Taylor Axon, Phillip Chalifoux, Henry J. Cognac, Omer Deziel, George H. Gravelle, Joseph Hebert, Ernest B. Hoyle, Arthur J. Lejeunnesse, Bartholomew Lamarre, Ralph H. Lashua, Leo H. MacDonald, Joseph N. Nichols, Joseph Paquin, James Douglas Rivet, Alfred G. Salvas, Ralph W. Tewksbury, Daniel Tully

Sadly the Flood of 1936 damaged the monument and it had to be moved. There was a lot of controversy as to where it should go. On November 11, 1940 it was moved to the Riverside Street side of the School Street bridge.

Again the monument had to be moved when the V.F.W Parkway was built. The state was responsible for moving it and damaged it. They paid $3,000 to replace it with the marker that is now on the Varnum Avenue side of the School Street bridge. The City of Lowell appropriated $500 for the inscription. This monument was dedicated May 30, 1951.  Since we were involved in the Korean Conflict at the time and World War II had recently ended, this memorial is for all who gave their lives during wartime from Pawtucketville. They paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Thank you.

Can't help but wonder what happened to the old cornerstone.