Boulder memorial gets rededicated

Red Cedar Chapter historian Cheryl Potter about the World War I memorial boulder at its new home on the lawn of the Mower County Historical Society Lawn during a rededication ceremony on Friday. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Red Cedar Chapter historian Cheryl Potter about the World War I memorial boulder at its new home on the lawn of the Mower County Historical Society Lawn during a rededication ceremony on Friday. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Mower County saluted its oldest soldiers’ memorial and the men it commemorates on Friday.

Members and supporters of the Red Cedar Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution gathered to rededicate a boulder memorial for the 64 Mower County soldiers who lost their lives in World War I at its new home on the lawn of the Mower County Historical Society, 1303 Sixth Ave. SW in Austin.

“This is a perfect place of honor and price for this historic boulder,” said Sharon Jensen, Red Cedar’s regent.

A boulder memorial for the 64 Mower County soldiers who died in World War found a new home on the lawn of the Mower County Historical Society. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

A boulder memorial for the 64 Mower County soldiers who died in World War found a new home on the lawn of the Mower County Historical Society. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

More than 15 people attended the ceremony, which included Red Cedar historian Cherly Potter reading all 64 names featured on a plaque on the boulder, as those attending repeated the soldiers’ first names to recognize their service and sacrifice.

Potter was pleased with the boulder’s new location after it had moved a few times over the years.

“We are pleased that it is here and it has a home of its own,” Potter said.

The boulder is now located near the Sherman Tank along the road leading past the historical society into the Mower County Fairgrounds.

The Red Cedar Chapter requested to move the boulder to the Mower County Veterans Memorial on the lawn of the Mower County Government Center last year; however, the Mower County Veterans Memorial Committee recommended the county board deny the request due to lack of space, among other concerns.

Eventually, the groups settled on the historical society as the perfect home for the boulder.

Mower’s DAR formed in 1921 and initially planted 64 elm trees near Todd Park to commemorate the 64 men who died in the “Great War.” The boulder was added there later. It is about 2 to 3 feet tall and includes a plaque with the names of all 64 men. Dutch elm disease and time wreaked havoc on the trees, which are no more. The remaining few were taken out in the 1990s for work to the Todd Park diamonds, according to Potter.

Judy Brown looks at a boulder memorial for the 64 Mower County soldiers who died in World War I during a Friday rededication ceremony on the lawn of the Mower County Historical Society, the new home for the boulder. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

Judy Brown looks at a boulder memorial for the 64 Mower County soldiers who died in World War I during a Friday rededication ceremony on the lawn of the Mower County Historical Society, the new home for the boulder. Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

The boulder was then moved from Todd Park to near the pool.

The WWI boulder memorial spent some time near the sign for the Austin Municipal Pool and had been near the flag pole by the pool, but was moved for the North Main Street flood mitigation work.

At the historical society, people attending Friday’s rededication were pleased the boulder found a permanent home.

“I think it’s going to give a lot more exposure to it,” Sharon Brown said.

 —Jenae Hackensmith contributed to this report.

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