Doughboy on the move once again
Doughboy on the move once again BY BERNARD HARRIS, Staff Writer
More than a half-century after moving from a southeastern Lancaster neighborhood, the city's doughboy statue is heading home.
The doughboy, currently in front of the former Stahr Armory building at 438 N. Queen St., originally was purchased by residents of the city's Seventh Ward, in the southeastern section of the city, in the 1920s. It was moved to its present location in 1962.
Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray told City Council members Tuesday that the city has been in discussions with the state's Military and Veterans Affairs department to secure ownership of the statue.
The state closed the Stahr Armory in 2010 after opening a new facility near Elizabethtown. Gray said the discussions will ensure the statue will be returned to its Seventh Ward home.
A plaque at the base of the sculpture states plainly that it was "erected by the citizens of the Seventh Ward." Those citizens donated toward the purchase in honor of 482 men and women in the neighborhood who served in World War I.
The doughboy, made of copper sheeting, was one of about 159 "Spirit of the American Doughboy" statues made by sculptor E.M. Viquesney that were sold to communities across the country in the 1920s and 1930s.
Lancaster's doughboy, made in 1921, first was erected in front of East End Junior High, now known as Edward Hand Middle School, in 1925.
According to newspaper records, it was moved to its present location after being vandalized. Officials at the time hoped it would be safer on North Queen Street, but it was vandalized there as well.
The doughboy's arms and rifle barrel were cut off, then replaced. In 1992, vandals pushed the whole sculpture off its base and onto the ground.
Gray said the return to Hand Middle School was prompted by the South Ann Concerned Neighbors group; its relocation is pending permission from the School District of Lancaster, which owns the school.
Darlene Byrd said the neighborhood has long wanted the statue back. Its return previously was discussed by neighborhood residents and school officials about 1990, she said.
"We thought it did belong there," Byrd said of the school site.
"It was a sense of pride in the neighborhood," she said of the motivation.
Byrd said South Ann Concerned Neighbors recently began circulating fliers telling residents about the statue's intended move.
She said there might also be a neighborhood meeting about the plans. She wants to educate people about the doughboy and why it would be moved to the site.
n Also on Tuesday, Gray announced that city workers will begin flushing water mains Sunday.
The flushing operations will be done at different locations between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily through May 24.
During flushing, water customers might notice a slight cloudiness in their water and a reduction in water pressure, Gray said.
After centuries gone, statue likely will be returned to its original home