8. Highbridge Doughboy Returns
Photo by Malcolm Pinckney/NYC Parks
The historic Highbridge Doughboy Statue was returned to its home in the Bronx on September 28th, with a ceremony that included the World War I Centennial Commission, the East Coast Doughboys (above), local officials and more. Funding for the restoration was provided by NYC Parks’ Citywide Monuments Conservation Program (CMCP), A+E Networks HISTORY, as well as the Centennial Commission.
The Doughboy is seven and a half feet tall, on top of a granite pedestal eight feet tall. The statue, designed by Max Hausle the architect of the Bronx County Courthouse, was erected in 1923 to honor the 21 local Highbridge servicemen who died in WWI. According to Kevin Fitzpatrick, program director, WWI Centennial Committee for New York City and author of World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War, “There are 21 names of men from Highbridge on the restored memorial tablet. Who were these service members from the neighborhood? They were Morris High School graduates, clerks, conductors, electricians, painters, printers, and salesmen.”
According to NYC Parks, “To say that the Highbridge Doughboy has been ‘battle-tested’ is an understatement. In 1974, the honor rolls were stolen, and by 1976 the rifle had been stolen, too. Around that time the sculpture was toppled, with the helmet and arms badly damaged. Prior to the 1970s the sculpture had been moved across the street to Bridge Park, adjacent to the Washington Bridge; after being vandalized, the sculpture was moved permanently into storage for safekeeping.”