Dismantled monument awaits new home
The site of the Jerome Township Soldiers Monument at New California is history.
The historical monument at the corner of state Route 42 and Industrial Parkway was dismantled last week and is set to be moved away from the busy intersection.
"It's been in danger of being wiped out by a truck any day," Jerome Township Trustee Bob Merkle said.
Debate has been going on for years over where to put the 100-year-old monument that bears the names of 400 soldiers who fought in the Civil War and other early American conflicts.
"A year ago, we were able to purchase property around it for a reasonable price and then move forward with moving (the monument) to a park-like setting away from the road," Merkle said. "It will give visitors a chance to visit it without cars whizzing by about five feet away."
Columbus Art Memorial dismantled the 20-foot high monument last week and took it to its facility for restoration.
In the meantime, Jerome Township will work to ready the site for the monument.
"It'll be three or four months until the site work is done and foundation is poured for the monument," Merkle said.
When the monument was pulled apart by Columbus Art Memorial, it was expected that a time capsule put in the memorial in 1913 would be uncovered.
Merkle was expecting to find the names of the children in the township that sang on the day the monument was dedicated, pictures of Civil War veterans and other war memorabilia.
Nothing was found, though.
"The lid had never been sealed on," he said. "There was nothing of any retrievable use to speak of."
The monument itself holds a great deal of history for the area, though.
"The unique thing about the monument is it came out of a catalogue in 1913 and cost $1,500," Merkle said. "Mr. (Samuel) Woodburn left $250 to the trustees and they had to double that and erect a monument.
"Col. (William L.) Curry was a veteran of the Civil War and spearheaded the effort," he added. "They raised $1,500 to erect the monument."
The monument includes the names of local soldiers from wars up to the Spanish-American War, but the lion's share were from the Civil War.
"There were more soldiers in Jerome Township per capita in the Civil War than any other township," Merkle said. "When Abraham Lincoln issued a call for volunteers, the minister of the New California church held a meeting ... Forty men stepped forward that day."
Jerome Township trustees are hoping to add names of veterans since the Spanish-American War to the monument area, Merkle said.
A rededication for the monument is anticipated for October, but final touches on the park surrounding it will take a bit longer.
"The park is a three-year project," Merkle said. "Phase one this year is to establish an area for the monument and get it moved. Down the line, we'll work on a parking lot and walking trail around the park and plaques."
To complete the project, Jerome Township is seeking donors. For more information on the project or to make a donation, look online at Jerome-oh.gov or call 614-873-4480.