Rural Missouri - November 2010 - (Page 29)

do something with those bricks?’” One idea was to incorporate the memorial bricks into a sidewalk. But no one wanted their bricks to be walked on. hen World War I drew to a Enter Merle Fox, a retired lineman for close, the state of Missouri Atchison-Holt Electric Cooperative and wanted to do something to a veteran. Merle wanted to help. He purhonor those who fought in chased two dilapidated buildings next to the “War to End All Wars.” In 1919, the the Memorial Building, razed them himself state offered $1,000 to any county that and donated the land to the foundation. wanted to construct a memorial building to Ideas for an outdoor veteran’s memorial honor its veterans and also provide a place were solicited, and Linda and Dan’s son, an for community activities to take place. architect, put them into a plan that called The first to take the state up on the offer for a series of walls focused on a black granwas Atchison County, in the northwest corite globe that floated in a fountain. ner of Missouri. Nearly 90 years later, the “When they saw the design, everyone war memorial constructed there has a new got excited,” Linda says. “We started selling lease on life thanks to an equally devoted bricks like hot cakes again.” group of people who brought the structure Meanwhile, donations poured in. U.S. back from the brink of • Rep. Sam Graves helped secure a grant from destruction. Rock Port the federal Department of Housing and When the counUrban Development. The state again helped ty first sought out by offering tax credits to donors. This donations for its money was used for exterior repairs. memorial, so With the two buildings cleared away, much money work on the Walk of Honor shifted into poured in high gear. Six walls trimmed in granite were that the erected to hold the bricks. Each wall was campaign to topped with large black words: bravery, serraise $25,000 instead brought in twice that vice, valor, duty, hope, pride, sacrifice, faith, amount. honor, dignity, courage and loyalty. Plans called for a two-story classic GreekAn arched wall holding some of the style building with four massive columns at bricks from veterans who were either killed the front entrance. The architect’s original or had distinguished military careers was drawing still exists. It included suggestions constructed. A bench was installed to for a gymnasium, theater, community encourage reflection. Flags representing room, ladies lounge and a bowling alley, each branch of the service provide a backthough some of these were never built. drop to the monument, while Old Glory Completed in 1921, the Atchison Counflies at the entrance. ty Memorial Building became the center of The many names of veterans represent most community activities in Rock Port, the Above: A few of Atchison County’s veterans pose on the steps of the county’s every American war, beginning with the county seat. 1921 Memorial Building, which has been partially restored. Below: Wilbur Revolution and ending with the current But time took its toll on the structure. Wright, left, and Hardin Cox share stories of their time in the service at the fights. The names include Medal of Honor The roof began to leak. The bricks started Walk of Honor. Wright survived Pearl Harbor while Cox fought in Korea. recipient Ambrose Porter, who fought in to crumble. The 4-foot-diameter fluted colthe Civil War. umns cracked. The metal cornice on The walk was dedicated on Vetthe once-proud façade began to rust. eran’s Day in 2008. “When we had The building was somewhat of an the dedication this place was full and orphan. It was owned by the county, they were standing outside,” says which always had more urgent needs Dan Fries. “And it was raining. ” for its limited resources. In 1966, it With the walk complete, work was deeded to the city of Rock Port. could begin on the Memorial BuildBasic repairs were made by the city ing. A chimney was torn down and and the American Legion, which has its bricks were reused. Concrete was always met here and holds the buildpatched, the columns were repaired ing near and dear to its members’ and doors that match the original hearts. But the building was largely windows were added. forgotten by most residents. Money ran out before the project In some places, a dinosaur like this was completed. But the efforts had would have met the wrecking ball. the building stabilized once again by But in the same spirit of leadership the end of 2009. Restoring the intethat got it built in the first place, resirior is the next project. dents of Atchison County once again The work has returned the old heard the call and saved their Memobuilding to the spotlight. “If I’m rial Building for future generations. working here, it never fails that someAlong the way, they added a magnifione stops by,” Linda says. Almost on cent Walk of Honor next door that cue, a visitor waiting for car repairs preserves the names of many county strolls in, commenting on how beauveterans in granite bricks. tiful the building is. The building’s salvation began in The building is a hub for activi2002 when community leaders met to ties again, including plays, wedding see if it was worth saving. A grant was receptions, the senior prom, a Christobtained that led to a feasibility study mas Cantata and pancake dinners. showing what would be needed for Veterans who visit the Walk of restoration. A foundation was formed Honor and gaze at the refurbished Memorial BuildThe brick idea was the suggestion of foundation a year later, and the city promptly turned the building fill with emotion as they take in all that has board member, Korean War veteran and former state ing over to it. been done. “I haven’t got words for it,” says Wilbur Sen. Hardin Cox, who saw something similar being “We saw it needed a lot of repairs. Repairs were Wright, 91, a Pearl Harbor survivor who has his done at Kansas City’s memorial. Donors of large needed before the condition deteriorated more and name engraved on the wall behind the globe. “I amounts were recognized as “Preservation Patriots” costs became too prohibitive,” says Linda Fries of don’t know how anyone could top this. Future genwith their names on a large plaque. Fairfax, whose husband, Dan, is president of the erations can come and get a lot of history here. A lot “We started selling bricks not knowing what we foundation. of these names bring back memories.” were going to do with them,” Linda recalls. “We When the foundation launched its fundraising would put them in the windows of businesses so efforts, county residents stepped up. Hundreds of To join the effort or for more information about the people could see them. This went on for years until people and businesses paid to become foundation Memorial Building or the Walk of Honor, call 660-744the sales of bricks came to a screeching halt. So members. Others bought bricks inscribed with the 5599 or log on to www.memorialbuilding.org. many people were asking, ‘When are you going to names of veterans. W by Jim McCarty jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop Lest we forget Atchison County steps up to honor its war veterans — again NOVEMBER 2010 29 http://www.memorialbuilding.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - November 2010

Rural Missouri - November 2010
Contents
Comments
Columns
Mobility's Best Friend
Mail Bag
Rural Issues Explored at AMEC Annual Meeting
Out of the Way Eats
The Missouri Connection
Big Screen Savings
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Best of Rural Missouri
Lest We Forget
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - November 2010

Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Rural Missouri - November 2010 (Page Cover1)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Rural Missouri - November 2010 (Page Cover2)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Contents (Page 3)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Comments (Page 4)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Columns (Page 5)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Columns (Page 6)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Columns (Page 7)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Columns (Page 8)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Columns (Page 9)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Mobility's Best Friend (Page 10)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Mobility's Best Friend (Page 11)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Mobility's Best Friend (Page 12)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Mobility's Best Friend (Page 13)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Mail Bag (Page 14)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Mail Bag (Page 15)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Rural Issues Explored at AMEC Annual Meeting (Page 16)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Rural Issues Explored at AMEC Annual Meeting (Page 17)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Out of the Way Eats (Page 18)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Out of the Way Eats (Page 19)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - The Missouri Connection (Page 20)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - The Missouri Connection (Page 21)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Big Screen Savings (Page 22)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Big Screen Savings (Page 23)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Big Screen Savings (Page 24)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Hearth and Home (Page 25)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - News Briefs (Page 26)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Best of Rural Missouri (Page 27)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Best of Rural Missouri (Page 28)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Lest We Forget (Page 29)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Marketplace (Page 30)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Marketplace (Page 31)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Around Missouri (Page 32)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Around Missouri (Page 33)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Around Missouri (Page 34)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Around Missouri (Page 35)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Neighbors (Page 36)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Neighbors (Page 37)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Just4Kids (Page 38)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Just4Kids (Page 39)
Rural Missouri - November 2010 - Just4Kids (Page Cover4)
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