The United States officially entered World War I on April 6, 1917 and the fighting ceased on November 11, 1918. During that time 35,448 men from North Dakota served in the Armed Forces and over 1300 of them did not make it back home. While men volunteered or were drafted to serve a wide variety of roles during the war, women served primarily as nurses through the Red Cross or the Army Nurse Corps. Twenty percent of the registered nurses in North Dakota signed up with the Red Cross and forty percent of those worked near the front at military hospitals. Many more women were inspired to train to become nurses during the war as well.
Susan Wefald of Bismarck conducted the research to locate World War I memorials in North Dakota and graciously shared her findings with the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Only memorials constructed specifically to commemorate WWI are included. This page was created with her research and the cooperation of State Historical Society employees around the state in order to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of World War I. Thirty-six memorials were found in Belfield, Bismarck, Bottineau, Cando, Devils Lake, Dickinson, Flaxton, Grand Forks, Grand Rapids, Hankinson, Jamestown, Kenmare, Leeds, Linton, Lisbon, Mandan, Minnewaukan, Minot, Mohall, Mott, New England, Noonan, Pembina, Rolette, Rugby, Spiritwood Lake, Stanley, Steele, Towner, Wahpeton, and Williston. It was also found that several memorials no longer exist: Fred Smith State Park was returned to private ownership in 1975 and could not be located in 2016, the Grand Forks County Courthouse Veterans Memorial Club Rooms flooded in 1997 and the rooms were not restored, the plaque from Oberon's monument was not in place during a 2016 site visit, and the Streeter Memorial State Park has been underwater since the mid-1990s. There is also one possible memorial at Stump Lake Memorial Park that requires further research.
Also known as Memorial Hall, the auditorium was built through the Works Progress Administration program and dedicated on September 30, 1937. The Art Deco building has been used for community functions such as graduations, dances, and sporting events as well as for city offices, police department offices, and by the American Legion. Located at 107 2nd Avenue NE.
The oldest building on the Capitol Complex, the Liberty Memorial Building was constructed from 1920-1924 as offices for state agencies. The elegant use of multiple types of stone and bronze in the Neo-classical style has inspired photographers to shoot wedding, family, and senior photos there for many years. The Memorial Building now houses the State Library providing knowledge, history, and tradition all in the same place. Located at 604 E Boulevard Ave.
The original Liberty Memorial Bridge that carried the Memorial Highway over the Missouri River was demolished in 2009. The new bridge was also named a memorial bridge and part of its construction included building monuments at each end surrounding the War Mother Memorial granite boulder markers that were originally dedicated July 3, 1924. Granite was chosen because the boulders had "withstood the storms and stress of the ages as best typifying mother love."
This granite marker on the original alignment of the Memorial Highway in Bismarck was sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Lloyd Spetz Unit No. 1 and dedicated on May 30, 1925. The Memorial Highway is a four-mile stretch from the intersection of Front St. and Washington St. in Bismarck west to the intersection of Main Ave. and Memorial Highway in Mandan. The four mile stretch is the area that was specifically named as a memorial for WWI. Located approximately at 500 W Front Ave.
The World War Memorial Building was built in 1930 to provide space for community functions, a national guard armory, gymnasium, and convention hall. It was also used by the ND State Legislature in 1931 after the original capitol building had burned and hosted numerous Inaugural Balls for the ND Governors. The steel-framed building was built in the Art Deco style by Andrew Weinberger and still serves as a community gymnasium. Located at 215 6th St.
The original 1937 memorial building in Bottineau still stands at 411 Main St. but the building has been renovated for apartments and a new entry of different materials covers the original main entry. The free-standing monuments from the lawn were moved to the new Memorial Building and Park at 104 Main St. in 2011. The new memorial hall is open but improvements to the site that was the former State Bank of Bottineau continue. The new hall is dedicated to all veterans.
The planning for this memorial began in 1921 and was to serve as the home of the American Legion while providing a large auditorium for the community. It was designed by Joseph Bell DeRemer and Samuel Teel DeRemer of Grand Forks and built by C.A. North. Ultimately, Works Progress Administration funds were used for the project and it was dedicated in 1937. The plaster frame decorated with an eagle and scroll that once graced the lobby is now in the Veterans Service Office. Located at 401 5th Ave.
Ramsey County approved $100,000 in funds for this building in 1934 and ultimately some Public Works Adminsitration funds were also used. John Marshall of Devils Lake (originally from Scotland) designed the building to serve as a community recreation center and armory. The design pulled from the popular Art Deco and Art Moderne styles of the time and includes three relief panels depicting agricultural products over the entrance. Located at 510 4th Ave NE.
This courthouse is also a World War Memorial and was dedicated on June 16, 1937. Nearly half the funds for construction were raised locally while the rest came from the Public Works Administration. The dedication program includes the words "Engendered in its makeup is not only the labors of the Artisans but the efforts of all. We hereby dedicate this building as the sum total of all the devotion, of all the people, for all time, to those who gave that last full measure." Located at 51 3rd St E.
C.A. Pear designed this building and it was constructed by W.M. Nordmann in 1931. The building cost $25,000 and was built using a county mill levy and funds from the City of Flaxton. It is also known now as the Flaxton Memorial Hall. The building was designed with an auditorium, stage, dressing rooms, meeting rooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and dining room, and even a two-cell jail. Today it still serves the community as a center for gatherings and meetings. Located at 103 1st St E.
The Memorial Stadium on the UND campus was designed by Walter H. Wheeler of Minneapolis and built in 1927 as a memorial to those from the UND community who died in World War I. The funds for this "fortress" were raised through student pledges, donations from alumni, businesses, and other friends of the university with a capacity to seat 10,634. Governor Sorlie spoke at the dedication on October 8, 1927 just before the homecoming game. Located at 2nd Ave N and Columbia Rd.
Memorial Park in LaMoure County was dedicated by county citizens to their fellow residents who served during WWI as soldiers and sailors. The entrance is marked by a stone gate, the center pillar of which is pictured at left. The park was dedicated in 1921 and also includes an auditorium with seating for 1440 persons. A newer memorial that is dedicated to the veterans of WWI, WWII, Korean and Vietnam is located next to the auditorium. Located at 9797 66th St SE.
These monuments mark the entrance to what is now the American Legion Baseball Field located on Highway 11 between 1st Ave SW and 2nd Ave SW. The ball diamond was developed through a federal work relief project in 1934. At this time, it is unknown if the markers were part of that project but as one marker is dated 1934, it is likely the monuments were erected at least in conjunction with the project. The plaques list the names of 211 men from Hankinson who served in World War I.
The Jamestown College Memorial Gymnasium was dedicated in 1923 and financed through general contributions and fundraising. This building housed the first indoor swimming pool in the state of North Dakota. It was renovated in 1993 and renamed the Hansen Center in honor of the major donor for the project. The building is still used for athletics but the Jimmie volleyball team played their last game there in 2016. Located at 6000 College Lane.
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Also known as Kenmare City Memorial Hall, this memorial was built in 1930 with $15,000 from Ward County and $25,000 from the City of Kenmare. The main level was remodeled in 1997 and serves as a meeting hall/gymnasium, city offices, and the public library. The upper level was not remodeled and provides rooms where various community groups meet. Located at 5 3rd St NE.
The monument in Leeds was designed by George Glynquist, who served as an army engineer in the war. It was erected by the War Mothers of Leeds and dedicated on August 7, 1921. The bronze plaque lists the names of all who served in WWI from Leeds, including Red Cross nurses. The monument was originally in a park near the railroad but is now in Fireman's Park along with a monument for pioneers. Located at 220 1st Ave SW.
The Emmons County Courthouse was designed by J. Howard Hess of the architecture firm Bugenhagen, Hess, and Deeter and built by Olson and Orheim in 1934. It was the first project in North Dakota to be funded by the Public Works Administration and demonstrated how communities could benefit from the federal aid. There is a bronze plaque inside the lobby declaring it the "Emmons Memorial County Courthouse." Located at 100 4th St NW.
Roughly 2' x 4' in size, this bronze plaque lists 514 names of "Our Boys" who served during WWI. The design of the plaque has an Army bugler at the top left, a centerpiece with an eagle, flag, title, and olive branches, and at right is a sailor saluting with a rifle. It was donated by the Union Service League of Lisbon and hangs in the main lobby of the Ransom County Courthouse at 204 5th Ave W.
This memorial building was started in 1932 and dedicated in 1934 despite only being partially built. It was completed in 1937 with the help of Works Progress Administration funds and originally had the largest indoor swimming pool in the state in the basement. The pool was removed in the 1960s. It also had an auditorium that could seat 3000 people but now houses city government. This building is currently threatened with demolition to make way for new offices. Located at 300 1st St NW.
Plans for Memorial Hall began in 1926. The funds were quickly raised in the community and through private donors so it could be constructed in 1927. The building originally had one large room upstairs for school activities and movies. The lower level had a large room used for dances, meetings, and public gatherings. In 1966, Ira Rush and Associates remodeled the interior and facade of the building for county offices. The building is now privately owned and vacant. Located at approximately 130 Main St E.
The Girls Military Squad began planning the monument with the first deaths of Ward County men (11 had died by May 23, 1918) and erected it on May 30, 1918 for "Minot's Heroes Who Have Sacrificed Their Lives In The Worlds' Great Struggle for Universal Democracy That Government of, by, and for the People Might Not Perish From the Earth". This monument appears to be the first monument for local dead from World War I in the nation as most communities waited until the war was over before erecting memorials. Located in Rose Hill Cemetery at 700 11th Ave SE.
The Ward County Courthouse is the first courthouse in North Dakota to be built with Art Deco/Art Moderne inspiration. It was designed by Toltz, King, and Day and constructed by Olson and Orheim in 1929 for a cost of $498,000. The courthouse was recently connected to a new building to the north and will see some renovations as the offices inside are reorganized. The ex-servicemen's room inside the courthouse is still used by the American Legion and other groups. Located at 312 3rd St SE.
This 1936 courthouse was designed by Edwin A. Molander, engineered by C.H. Ording, and built by I.E. Orheim with funding from the Works Progress Administration and the Soldiers Memorial Levy. The Renville County Courthouse is the only courthouse in North Dakota that could be considered to have Art Moderne styling. The granite monument with a flag pole in front of the courthouse is engraved with the names of the Renville County veterans who gave their lives in WWI. Located at 205 Main St E.
The bond to build the Hettinger County Courthouse narrowly passed in 1934 after failing in several previous elections over two years. Part of the vote, this time, included taking advantage of Public Works Administration funds. The federal funds allowed the Ritterbush Brothers' Art Deco design to be built by A.J. Weinberger by 1936. The bottom floor has a room that was fitted for and to be maintained by the American Legion and Auxiliary for their use. Located at 336 Pacific Ave.
The Veterans Memorial Auditorium in New England was designed by the Ritterbush Brothers in the Art Deco style. The building was designed to serve the community with meeting rooms (one served as the city library), a kitchen, a large dining room, a dance hall, and stage. Funds for constructing the building came from the town, Hettinger County, and from the Public Works Administration. The Hettinger County Herald stated 6000 people came to the dedication in 1936. Located at 925 Main Street.
The decision to build a memorial hall in Noonan (pop. 423) rather than the county seat of Crosby (pop. 1271) ended up being contested in ND Supreme Court Case Gehrke et al v Board of Commissioners of Divide County. The building was built with a full basement and main floor that included an auditorium with a balcony on the main floor. The lower level included a kitchen and lounge. In 2017, the building is vacant in a town of an estimated 130 people. Located on the 300 block of Main St.
The inscription on this memorial states "Erected by the people of Pembina Township to the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice for Our Country in the great World War" on one side. The other side has the names of two soldiers and the date of 1918. While it was erected in 1918, the dedication was not held until May 30, 1920 with Governor Lynn J. Frazier delivering the address. The memorial was moved from its original location in Selkirk Park to the Pembina State Museum in 1998 due to a flood control project. Located at 805 Highway 59.
Rolette County planned in 1930 to levy $10,000 each year until it raised $22,000 for a community building. Ernest R. Boyd designed Memorial Hall with an auditorium and stage/gymnasium, meeting rooms, and a kitchen. The memorial was dedicated on June 15, 1932 and in 2017, the building houses the Rolette City Library while also still functioning as a community gathering space. Located at 503 2nd Ave.
Theodore B. Wells designed this brick building as a War Memorial that would also be a community building with a gymnasium, meeting spaces and a kitchen. It was built in 1930 and the original architect's plans are located at the Pierce County Auditor's Office. There have been some modifications to the building over the years but it is still used by a variety of community groups, including the American Legion. Located at the intersection of 3rd St SE and 2nd Ave SE.
Sandy Beach Memorial Park at Spiritwood Lake consists of five lots that were deeded to the Stutsman County Park Board in 1921 for the creation of a memorial park. The park now has space for camping and access to the lake with a boat ramp. A new sign was installed in 2015 to let visitors know the park is a memorial to those who served in World War I. Located approximately at 325 Sandy Beach Road.
The Mountrail County War Memorial Auditorium was described in Buildings of North Dakota as being "one of the better designed and more successfully preserved World War I memorial buildings in North Dakota." The Art Deco building with decorative brickwork was designed by Edwin Molander and built in 1937. It currently houses a variety of offices including public offices, the local historical society, and the food pantry. Located at 18 2nd Ave SE.
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On the main floor of the Kidder County Courthouse near the entrance is a 24"x38" plaque honoring those who served in World War I from Kidder County. The plaque lists 83 names of "Our Boys" below a section with a bugler on the left, an eagle and flag in the middle, and a soldier with a gun on the right in bas relief. The plaque also includes the dates of the U.S. participation in the war, April 6, 1917 until November 11, 1918. Located at 120 E Broadway.
Edwin Molander designed the War Memorial Building and it was dedicated on November 11, 1930. It originally had a flat roof but a gable roof was added ca. 2000. The interior of the building still has a large room on the lower level for meetings but the kitchen is no longer functional. The upper level was divided into office space and now houses the McHenry County Extension Service. Located at 314 S Main St #1.
John Pauling sculpted "Over the Top" to depict an infantryman advancing on the battlefield. The bronze sculpture was made by the American Art Bronze Foundry of Chicago and mounted on rainbow granite from St. Cloud, MN with a dedication in 1927. The bronze panels below the sculpture list 1018 names of Richland County citzens who served. Those who perished during the war are noted with a star opposite their names. Located on the courthouse lawn at 418 2nd Ave N.
This memorial was originally located in Railroad Park but was moved to Riverside Cemetery in 2016. The bronze sculpture designed by Louis R. Kirchner and cast at the Flour City Ornamental Ironworks in Minneapolis, MN was dedicated on November 11, 1927. An identical statue by Kirchner is located in Butler, PA and a very similar Kirchner statue is located in Clark, SD. Riverside Cemetery is located at 805 9th Ave W.
*A monument naming the first three servicemen who died during the war was dedicated November 3, 1927 in Van Buren, Arkansas. The monument in Rose Hill Cemetery appears to be the first one that is for a group rather than for specifically named individuals.
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