After $30 million overhaul, Soldiers Memorial reopened

6 months 1 week 5 days ago Sunday, November 11 2018 Nov 11, 2018 Sunday, November 11, 2018 12:03:55 PM CST November 11, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A memorial to St. Louis area service members who have died in war was mostly neglected and ignored for years — but not anymore.

The memorial, which was erected in 1936 and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, has undergone a two-year, $30 million renovation that more than doubled its exhibit space, added air conditioning, new wiring and more assembly spaces.

In World War II, more than 2,700 more local soldiers died. In Korea and Vietnam, about 400. In the wars and conflicts since, about 200.

The memorial is LEED-certified and complies with access for the disabled requirements. It's one of only 3 percent of museums in the country accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported .

"I feel like St. Louisans are going to have one more cultural institution they can brag about, and we have a lot to brag about here," said Mark Sundlov, the new director of the museum. "One of the top goals is to become part of a dynamic downtown."

After years of trying to improve the museum, the city in 2015 signed over control of the museum to the Missouri Historical Society but it retains ownership of the building and artifacts.

The money for the renovation and a $25 million endowment came from the Crawford Taylor Foundation and the Taylor family, which until this week had stayed anonymous. The Guth Foundation contributed $300,000. The assembly hall is named for Jack C. Taylor, who piloted an F6F Hellcat fighter in World War II before founding Enterprise Rent-A-Car, headquartered in St. Louis. Taylor died in 2016.

As visitors approach the memorial entrance and loggia, they'll see the black granite cenotaph, inscribed with the names of those who died in World War I. The cenotaph, which resembles a tomb, is lit from its base.

Hundreds of red and gold tiles that had fallen from the Gold Star Mothers ceiling mosaic above the cenotaph were replaced.

"It looked beautiful because it was beautiful," said Leigh Walters, director of marketing and communications for the Missouri Historical Society. "But now, it just shines."

Storm windows were added inside to show off the unique metalwork outside. Old light fixtures were rewired and fitted with LED bulbs. Only five old-fashioned bulbs remain: four in the mahogany-lined elevator and one in a phone booth, which has been outfitted with a vintage pay telephone.

Despite years of neglect, the building was in remarkably good condition, said Karen Goering, managing director of administration and operations for the memorial.

The two main galleries on the first level will house "St. Louis in Service," a long-term exhibit that explores local involvement in military history, from the American Revolution to today.

A bell from the cruiser St. Louis, commissioned in 1906, is the centerpiece of one wing, and a rotating collection of military uniforms stands in the middle of the other wing. An Emerson airplane turret that once sat on the nose of a B-21 bomber now rests with the uniforms. The turrets were made in a Ferguson factory that made fans and electric motors but converted during wartime.

"People think of military history as far away — it happened overseas," Walters said. "But it happened in your community. It was a part of daily life. And the community had an impact on military warfare."

The lower level's first exhibit, "St. Louis and the Great War," commemorates the centennial of the end of World War I and includes more than 200 artifacts that have never been displayed, such as a carrier pigeon message capsule, a portable reed organ and a German gas mask.

Outside, a Court of Honor that was created in 1948 as the city's World War II memorial now includes a reflecting pool and fountain to represent the five branches of the armed forces.

Monuments to those who died in Korea and Vietnam were moved to their own spots on a walkway between the museum and Court of Honor, and names for those who died in more recent conflicts will be added.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY - Neighbors in Jefferson City were already watching the Missouri River rise, but no one planned on an... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 11:42:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - According to the Callaway County Sheriff's Office, water was over the runways at Jefferson City Airport in Callaway... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 8:09:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Coverage From Callaway
COLUMBIA - A man involved in a car crash on I-70 May 16 has died from his injuries. William... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Missouri River has completely overflowed its banks near the end of South Route N. near Ashland.... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:16:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City is offering instructions on how to get rid of the debris created by Wednesday's tornado.... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 5:08:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Insurance agents are warning people hit by Wednesday's tornado to be careful about signing repair contracts. ... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 3:26:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Volunteers from all over Jefferson City are working to help those affected by the tornado. The... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 2:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Members from House of Refuge are keeping their faith after Wednesday's tornado completely destroyed their church. ... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 1:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
ROCHEPORT - The 11th annual Pedaler's Jamboree bike ride got a good start Friday, and Missouri River levels are falling.... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:47:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that bans abortions on or beyond the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:32:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Task Force 1 has deactivated from Jefferson City after an EF-3 tornado swept through the area... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 9:11:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - As Jefferson City continues to clean up from the tornado on Wednesday night, it still has to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 12:51:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- During the chaos of the tornado in Jefferson City, one cheerleading and "American Ninja Warrior" gym got torn... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 12:15:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Volunteers from around Missouri came out to help with the disaster that Wednesday night's EF-3 tornado brought... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 23 2019 May 23, 2019 Thursday, May 23, 2019 11:52:00 PM CDT May 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Office of Administration said Wednesday's tornado "caused significant roof damage" to two buildings at the... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 23 2019 May 23, 2019 Thursday, May 23, 2019 10:54:00 PM CDT May 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Students who visited the Simonsen Ninth Grade Center in Jefferson City Thursday said it is heartbreaking to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 23 2019 May 23, 2019 Thursday, May 23, 2019 9:17:00 PM CDT May 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri's U.S. Senators both voted yes Thursday on a disaster aid bill that includes fresh resources for farms... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 23 2019 May 23, 2019 Thursday, May 23, 2019 5:38:00 PM CDT May 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Resources are available across the area for those affected by tornadoes in Jefferson City and Eldon Wednesday... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 23 2019 May 23, 2019 Thursday, May 23, 2019 5:02:00 PM CDT May 23, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
11am 75°
12pm 77°
1pm 79°
2pm 80°