Friday, April 17, 2015

World War One Memorials on Chicago's North Shore: Kenilworth and Winnetka

When I lived in New Zealand thirty years ago, I was struck by the number of World War One Memorials I ran across as I traveled about the country.  Most of them were in small towns, usually a large monument with a statue of a soldier and the names of the men killed in the war listed on a plaque.  Almost everyone monument said "For King and Country 1914-1918" I have always been interested in World War One, and I found these monuments touching.  New Zealand is a small country, and in 1914, had a population of about one million.  So many young New Zealand men died in a war so far away from their home.  I spent a few weeks in New Zealand earlier this year, and found time to see a few war memorials.    Seeing them made me want to find the World War One memorial in my own community.

What a disappointment.  My home village, Wilmette IL, does have a memorial, but it is relatively new and just lists the names of  Wilmette soldiers who died in wars from the Civil War to the Iraq War. Two nearby communities were more interesting.  Kenilworth, IL, a  much smaller village than Wilmette has an interesting memorial next to the village hall, and Winnetka, IL, has a large memorial on their village green.

The War Memorial in front of the Village Hall in Wilmette IL

Kenilworth, Il, just north of Wilmette, has two memorials, one a plaque, honoring the Kenilworth Soldiers who died in World War One, and another nearby, honoring the dead from World War Two and the Korean War.
The plaque, mounted on a granite boulder sits in a garden designed and planted by members of a local garden club.  It was designed by the Czech sculptor, Albin Polasek,  It was donated by Charles and Fannie Manierre Ware, the parents of one of the soldiers, Manierre Barlow Ware who died in 1918.  A short inscription completes the plaque.

The Kenilworth plaque, designed by Albin Polasek.
    "Let us make earth a garden where deeds of the valiant may blossom and bear fruit."

Kenilworth's World War Two and Korean War Memorial.

The monument in Winnetka IL larger and more imposing that the one in Kenilworth.  It is a marble cenotaph, on the Village Greeen, surrounded by a marble exhedra and a large flagpole. Dedicated in 1927 and renovated in 2009, it was designed by Winnetka architect and resident Sam Otis.  
The names of the five Winnetka Soldiers who died in World War one are inscribed on the back of the cenotaph.

A cenotaph is an "empty tomb" erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere.  Although the monument was built to honor those who died in World War One, plaques listing the names of those who died in other wars, from the Civil War to the War in Iraq have been added.

The front of the cenotaph and flagpole, decorated with a carved frieze and an inscription from Dinsmore Ely.

The monument features a narrative  frieze telling the story of soldiers in World War One, and an inscription by Dinsmore Ely, a Winnetka resident who died in the war.  He wrote this comment in a letter to his family, shortly before he died.

"It is an investment not a loss when a man dies for his country."

 The following pictures are from the narrative frieze on the Winnetka memorial.

First half of a large panel showing a battlefield.
Second half of the panel showing a battlefield. 
Honoring Veterans of the War.