September 27, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Memorial Park, Jacksonville’s World War One Memorial, will unearth a 1924 Scroll Listing 1,220 Names of Florida’s Fallen Heroes and Heroines from World War One Today
Jacksonville, FL – Memorial Park is a 1924 World War One Memorial located in Historic Riverside/Avondale at 1620 Riverside Avenue in Jacksonville, FL. The vision of the Park was conceived by Rotarian George Hardee on November 12, 1918, the day after Armistice, the end of World War One – The Great War, on November 11. The following day on November 12, a Citizens Committee, which included Ninah Cummer, was formed to raise funds and purchase land in Riverside. Subsequently, the Committee contracted with the internationally famous Olmsted Bros. firm for landscape design (Central Park, Biltmore Estate, Bok Tower, Cummer Museum & Gardens) and with St. Augustine sculptor C. Adrian Pillars for the landmark sculpture, “Spiritualized Life.” The Park opened on December 25, 1924.
On that date, a parchment scroll onto which was inscribed “in India ink” 1,220 names of the Florida Fallen, military men and women, was put into a lead box and soldered shut; then the lead box was put into a bronze box and soldered shut. Today, due to the diligent work of Dr. R.B. Rosenburg of Clayton State University (Morrow, GA), there are 1,587 known names.
The purpose of unearthing this box(es) is to reveal the 1,220 names and to compare them to Dr. Rosenburg’s researched list. Depending upon the condition of the scroll, we will determine how to appropriately honor all of our World War One Floridian Veterans. We will be cross checking the original 1,220 names with the names listed on the scroll, along with the additional names now known. Once finalized, the conclusive record of all of the fallen soldiers will be interred into the ground together. Also, due to the 3’ level of water as a result of Irma covering the pool under the famous Pillars statue, the safety and security of the box(es) may have been compromised, so its status will now be known.
The names of Florida’s Fallen will be available on Memorial Park Association’s website: MemParkJax.org in the coming weeks. People who access the website will be able to look up loved ones and ancestors of families by Florida county, a remarkable resource.
On Thursday, September 27, the following schedule will take place:
8:30 am – City of Jacksonville along with Memorial Park Association representatives will be on hand while Precast and Restoration Services carefully unscrews the bronze plaque covering the area under which the box(es) have been determined to be located.
9 am – Professionals will dig carefully brick by brick as it is unknown if there is concrete below the Plaza. Once it is ascertained if this is a barrier or not, further digging will locate and bring out the box(es). The box(es) will then be covered in soft cotton and transported carefully to the Museum of Science & History at 1025 Art Museum Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32207.
4 pm – 3rd Floor Conference Room
- Representative from Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department will carefully hand saw what we believe is lead solder to open the bronze box, then saw what we believe is lead solder to open the lead box to reveal the scroll
- Ann Seibert, Member/American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works (St. Augustine), who specializes in Art on Paper, Books and Unbound Documents, will assess the scroll once unveiled; following her assessment, the scroll will be moved to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum’s L.A.M.P. Archaeological Lab under the direction of Starr Cox, Director of Archaeological Conservation, for a period of time until it is rendered safe to unroll
- Once rendered safe to unroll, the scroll will be photographed, names listed and compared to the Rosenburg list
- Once research has been completed and the scroll is safe from deterioration, we intend to reinter all names together
- November 11 will be the Armistice Day commemoration ceremonies at Memorial Park – open to all, free to all. Visit memparkjax.org/events-list. At 5 pm, the Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra will be playing for the enjoyment of all guests, food trucks will be available, and other activities are listed (attached)
Please check in at the front desk at MOSH: 1025 Art Museum Drive, Jacksonville 32207
About Memorial Park and the Memorial Park Association
Memorial Park is located at 1620 Riverside Ave., between Margaret Street and Memorial Park Drive in Riverside near the Five Points area of Jacksonville, Fla. Established in 1986, the Memorial Park Association is a nonprofit charitable organization serving its mission to enhance, promote and preserve Memorial Park as the premier historic park in the City of Jacksonville.
Designed by the famed Olmsted Brothers and dedicated on Dec. 25, 1924, it is the only park in the state dedicated to the 1,220 Floridians who lost their lives in service during World War I. In 2012, the Memorial Park Association initiated major planning efforts to restore and rehabilitate Memorial Park to its original grandeur, culminating in the development of a viable master plan that will serve as the foundation for continued restoration efforts. Memorial Park is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also designated by the United States World War One Centennial Commission as a WWI Centennial Memorial.