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War War I monument to move after 84 years at current site.

Byline: Bruce Baker

DUDLEY - The World War I memorial monument, which has been at the intersection of West Main and Village streets for 84 years, will be relocated to the Court of Honor at the municipal complex within two or three weeks.

According to Michael T. Branniff of the Historical Commission, the monument was dedicated on July 4, 1924, in a ceremony featuring Gen. Clarence Edwards, commander of the Massachusetts 26th Yankee Division, to honor deceased veterans and the many other Webster and Dudley veterans who served during the war. The property was donated to the town by Stevens Linen Co. and John M. Crawford and is located in the historic Marino district.

Veterans agent Richard J. Holewa recently asked selectmen to move the monument. "This intersection was an ideal location in 1924 but it has become increasingly congested by motor vehicle traffic and I am concerned about the possibility of the monument being damaged by a vehicle or during the snow removal process," he said. "I am also concerned its proper display will erode and will no longer be presentable in the integrity that it truly deserves."

"For many years, gasoline service stations were located next to the property and part of the agreement between the town and the service station owners was the upkeep of the property. But now that the Gas & Go station has closed, there is just an empty boarded-up building sitting there.

"The monument is just kind of sitting out there on its own, with nothing else relating to veterans in the area. And when it snows, now the plows just cover up the monument. I am also concerned with the paper and trash that litters the area."

At the Court of Honor, Mr. Holewa believes, the monument will take its place with the other veteran memorials in front of Town Hall. The Court of Honor includes the World War II, Korea and Vietnam memorials and contains the names of veterans who died during those wars. It also contains a Veteran Memorial brick walkway. Inside the lobby of Town Hall is a memorial to the veterans who fought in the Civil War.

"Many veterans have expressed their concerns over the location and upkeep of the monument and the ones I have talked to are in favor of the move," Mr. Holewa said. "I know we will not please everyone with the move, so anyone who wants to provide feedback is welcome to contact me. I am open to suggestions."

"A case could be made to keep the monument in the Marino district and if the town decides to move it back in the future a good location would be at the old library building," Mr. Branniff said.

The only other veteran memorial in town is located in the Quinebaug section. It depicts veterans of that area of town and is privately maintained.

ART: PHOTO

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/JIM COLLINS

CUTLINE: Veterans agent Richard Holewa wants this World War I monument moved to the Court of Honor.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 18, 2008
Words:502
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