On April 6, 1917, the United States officially entered “The War to End All Wars.”
Now, 100 years later, many of the tributes to World War I veterans scattered across the Los Angeles area are widely unknown.
So, on this week’s historic anniversary, here are 10 local landmarks you might not know were commissioned to honor those who served and sacrificed during “The Great War.”
Pershing Square went by a different name in the 19th century, when it was just a park with a monument to California’s 20 Spanish-American War dead. On Nov. 8, 1918, the park was formally named Pershing Square in honor of U.S. Gen. John J. Pershing, who commanded the American presence on the western front. The new name was bestowed two days before Germany signed the Armistice of 11 November 1918, which ended the fighting on the western front.
The 23-mile east-west thoroughfare across the San Fernando Valley from Glendale to West Hills had previously been known by different names. But in the mid-1920s, it was renamed Victory Boulevard in honor of the doughboys — an informal term for U.S. and — who fought in World War I.
Victory Memorial Grove
This little-known marker is located in Los Angeles’ Elysian Park, just across from Dodger Stadium. The Daughters of the American Revolution erected a plaque there in 1921 in honor of World War I veterans.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
The current home of the L.A. Rams and USC Trojans was commissioned to be built in 1921 as a memorial to Los Angeles veterans of World War I. Designed by notable Los Angeles father-and-son architects John and Donald Parkinson, it was rededicated to include WWII by California Gov. Earl Warren on Memorial Day 1946. However, when the Sports Arena was built in Exposition Park and opened in 1959, the new arena became the city of Los Angeles’ memorial to World War II and the Korean War. The Coliseum itself was once again referred to as the Los Angeles County World War 1 memorial.
The Memorial Branch Public Library
This library opened in 1930 at 4625 W. Olympic Blvd. on land bought by students and former students of Los Angeles High School and deeded to Los Angeles in honor of 20 alumni who died in World War I. The students commissioned a stained-glass window with the names of the alumni, along with an inscription of hope for “peace among nations.”
This modest monument is located on a traffic triangle at the southwest corner of Adams Boulevard and La Brea Avenue. It was dedicated by the American Legion in 1936 first to honor the fallen from World War I and later World War II.
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3834
Outside this VFW post, 111 Hagar St. in San Fernando, resting side-by-side in a small patch of grass, sit two simple monuments to the Valley’s . One, a rare World War I memorial, offers a tribute to those who served in that long-ago conflict, according to an old Los Angeles Times article. The other offers a verse to those who fought and died in Vietnam.
Spanning Riverside Drive, Interstate 5 and the Los Angeles River, this bridge opened in 1928 and still has a World War I memorial at its eastern base, dedicated on May 30, 1930.
War Memorial Building, South Pasadena
Located at 435 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena’s War Memorial Building has some World War I heavyweights. In 1921 Marshal Ferdinand Foch, a French general and the supreme Allied commander during ‘The Great War,’ laid the cornerstone of the building. In 1923, World War I Gen. John J. Pershing, having already had Pershing Square named after him, planted a redwood tree on the grounds, which towers over the street to this day.
Goodhue Flagpole, Pasadena
This ornate flagpole, located at Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards, was designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue and built by Lee Lawrie. The 115-feet-tall staff was dedicated on Feb. 12, 1927, to the men and women of Pasadena who served in World War I. Its inscription reads: “In Proved Remembrance of Our Glorious Dead MCMXVIII”.
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