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Logan Square Locals Band Together To Restore Damaged World War I Monument

By Mina Bloom | November 23, 2016 6:22am
 Locals unveiled the restored monument earlier this month.
Locals unveiled the restored monument earlier this month.
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All photos/Provided

LOGAN SQUARE — The World War I monument at Fullerton and Francisco avenues has been restored to its former glory thanks to a devoted group of neighbors.

About two years ago, a contractor hired to repair the curb damaged the monument by removing the concrete base, including the flower box and large "V" (for victory), angering neighbors like Jim Mulligan.

"It shouldn't have been neglected," said Mulligan, 71, who is not a veteran himself but has lived in the neighborhood for more than 60 years. "It should have the respect it deserves."

Mulligan and other neighbors sprang into action, getting donations from local businesses to help build a new concrete base and flower box, repaint the entire monument and install new flags, among other improvements.

The restored monument. [All photos/Provided]

Sherwin-Williams, 2902 W. Fullerton Ave., donated paint, rope and one of the flags; Crawford Material Company, 3949 W. Palmer St., donated stone for the "V" structure; and Liberty Bank for Savings, 2392 N. Milwaukee Ave. and the VFW in suburban Belvidere both donated flags.

Throughout the restoration process, residents would routinely stop to either help or express appreciation, Mulligan said.

"You wouldn't believe the number of people that have stopped or commented," he said.

After months of work, the group of volunteers unveiled the restored monument at a ceremony earlier this month.

Mulligan said folks are already starting to notice it more. One neighbor told Mulligan that one of the veterans on the plaque was a former alderman's son and another was an old tenant of his. 

"All of the old-timers appreciate this," Mulligan said.

The plaque lists 47 veterans, who Mulligan said all likely called Logan Square home. It's unclear when the monument was built, but Mulligan said, based on his research, that these types of monuments are generally built by families of veterans and neighbors — and not the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

The monument was last restored by resident Karl Kimec in the 1970s, Mulligan said.

Andrew Schneider, president of Logan Square Preservation, gave credit to Mulligan for pushing the restoration project forward.

"We were very concerned when this monument was disfigured and we began working with the city, but the work really took off when we connected with Jim Mulligan," Schneider said.

"We were happy that we had taken photos that made it possible to recreate the monument exactly as it was and really pleased and impressed with the hard work of Jim and immediate neighbors who carried the project to completion."

The team hosted an unveiling ceremony earlier this month.

A close-up look at the plaque, which includes the names of 47 veterans.

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