After $30 million overhaul, Soldiers Memorial reopened

8 months 1 week 3 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
COLUMBIA — Prosecutors charged Ryan Wade Blair, 27, with two counts of assault and endangering a correctional officer. Blair... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 7:36:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Local, state and federal agencies will be conducting emergency preparedness exercises at the Hearnes Center on MU's campus... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 6:59:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A federal judge sentenced a Columbia man Monday morning for his role in a drug trafficking case. ... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 5:27:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Department of Transportation will receive $81.2 million to replace the Rocheport Bridge. The money will... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 4:36:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. — A Chicago man faces criminal charges related to a suspicious package case in Holts Summit. ... More >>
14 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 4:11:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A roof collapsed early this morning from too much rain. The apartment complex had a temporary fix... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:59:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Users of the popular social sharing site Reddit are upset after they say a scammer targeted them--posing as... More >>
15 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:50:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
MOBERLY - Contaminants stemming from an Orscheln facility may be in Moberly's air and sewers, and the City Council voted... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:12:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Close to 90,000 children and 23,000 adults have been dropped from Missouri's Medicaid health insurance program... More >>
16 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 2:03:00 PM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A power outage has caused Lincoln University to close for the rest of Monday. The... More >>
19 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 11:37:00 AM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
MACKS CREEK — A building in Camden County has collapsed after floodwaters compromised the structure. According to a Facebook... More >>
20 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 10:28:00 AM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
ESTES PARK, CO. — John Drage doesn’t know how many more miles he’s got left in him. Every step,... More >>
21 hours ago Monday, July 22 2019 Jul 22, 2019 Monday, July 22, 2019 9:28:00 AM CDT July 22, 2019 in News
STRAFFORD — A KY3 viewer, JD Matney, shared this video of a mountain lion walking along just north of Strafford.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 8:24:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police responded to a report of shots fired early Sunday morning. The incident occurred on Apple... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 6:08:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in News
LAKE OF THE OZARKS - Missouri Highway Patrol Troop F responded to a boat fire at the Lake of the... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 5:40:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - FEMA opened the doors of a new Disaster Recovery Center in Cole County over the weekend. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, July 21 2019 Jul 21, 2019 Sunday, July 21, 2019 1:37:00 PM CDT July 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — A Columbia teenager is home safe after she was missing for almost two days. Summer Skye Allen,... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 9:05:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Three men were arrested after allegedly stealing $22,000 worth of electronics from a Moberly Walmart Saturday. Several... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, July 20 2019 Jul 20, 2019 Saturday, July 20, 2019 6:53:00 PM CDT July 20, 2019 in Continuous News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 63°
7am 62°
8am 65°
9am 70°
10am 73°