Bell Tower WWI Memorial

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    • #1518
      ndembowski
      Keymaster

      A KHS member was part of an event today to call for improvements at the Bell Tower monument at W. 239th and Riverdale Ave.  News 12 was there to cover the event and I am told it will air at 5:30 so tune in!  I must confess that I have not looked at the memorial too carefully lately so I am curious as to what needs to be done there.

      Speaking of the monument, we have been contacted by the local American Legion post to ask if any of our members would be interested in collaborating on a “virtual memorial” that would tell the story of the neighborhood’s contributions to various war efforts–including researching names on the memorial.  If any members are interested in participating, email me and I can put you in contact with the American Legion contact person.

    • #1520
      ndembowski
      Keymaster
    • #1522
      ndembowski
      Keymaster

      And here is a little more information related to the monument and flagpole.  It was funded by donations:

      I regret that the KHS didn’t have an event at the 100th anniversary of the WWI armistice.  Many local people served in the war (as the long list of names on the memorial bears out).  Plus, there was the training camp in Van Cortlandt Park that is a fascinating story with great photos.  Some photos and stories of the soldiers honored at the memorial can be found here:

      https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2610083/memorial-search?page=1#sr-161185007

      When the soldiers came home, they were warmly welcomed by the community (thanks to John Fischer for the below documents):

      Here is a link to the booklet that was printed for the Welcome Home ceremony.  It gives names and photos of servicemen:

      https://kingsbridgehistoricalsociety.org/historicalDocuments/WW1ProgramRiverdale.pdf

      It is also worth noting that soldiers were treated at Seton Hospital, where Seton Park and the Whitehall building are today (June 1921 Riverdale News):

       

    • #1523
      rockviv
      Participant

      Thanks for sharing the interesting booklet, Nick. There was a very similar one for the WWI vets of the Rockaway peninsula, which I uncovered while researching my book, Images of America: Rockaway Beach. Many families had multiple brothers serving. As to the flagpole, I recall a similar issue with the one at the vets memorial near the last stop on the 4 train (across from Woodlawn Cemetery). The flags can be had for free, and fire departments will raise them for you. Restoration of the pole (and moving it from DOT to Parks property) is surely more difficult. Another interesting thing I discovered on the Parks website is that the bell in the tower was cast in 1762 and was captured during the Mexican war by Gen. Winfield Scott. It was at two prior NYC sites (and a bit north of the circle) before landing there in 1936.   https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/bell-tower-park

    • #1524
      Johnfischer66
      Participant

      Thanks for sharing with everyone. My grandmother often spoke of her brother who died in WWI and who is remembered both in the booklet and on the bell tower. Her grandfather worked in the Johnson Iron foundry and she grew up and lived her entire life in Kingsbridge.

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