November 11th is Veteran’s Day, and we would like to take a moment to remember those that have served, thank those who are still serving, and honor those that we have lost.
One of Arden’s mysteries that was recently solved belongs to the elusive Soldier’s Memorial. Marked on a map from 1956, the Soldier’s Memorial stood on the northwest corner of the Arden Green. However, nothing stands there today except a grove of trees and a cedar stump. Where did the memorial go and did it ever exist? After months of research we finally figured it out!
In 1944, some of Arden’s children went to war and only a few returned. Right before they headed off to war, the community of Arden wanted to create a way to honor those that had gone to war before and those that were about to ship out.
The decision was made in 1944 to erect a Soldier’s Memorial on the Green. Looking back through issues of the Town Crier, a local Arden newsletter, a committee was formed and a design approved just before June 1944. After June 1944 all talk disappeared of the memorial in any newsletters and town meeting notes.
The next time we see any mention of it is on a map of Arden, Ardentown, and Ardencroft from 1956. A small dot on the northwest corner of the Arden Green marks the Soldier’s Memorial. However, on that same spot today, there is nothing but a grove of trees… and a cedar stump cemented by a pad of concrete.
That stump got us wondering… could this be the missing Soldier’s Memorial that is marked on the map? We looked through sources in the Museum and asked locals if they ever remembered seeing it. No one could quite remember it until…
One afternoon I was talking with Russ McKinney, an Arden artist. Russ and Connee McKinney have been making art in Arden since the late 1960’s. Their studio was once located where the Arden Craft Shop Museum is today. Russ remembered the Soldier’s Memorial because he had done a drawing of it. He helped us solve the mystery!
The Soldier’s Memorial was a tall unfinished cedar pole with a cross beam near the top. On it was a plaque that honored those who had fought for us. By the 1970’s, the wood was deteriorating, and it had to be taken down. Before it was taken down, Russ drew an illustration of it in 1972. The final illustration was framed with the wood of the Soldier’s Memorial and given to the person who had taken it down. The initial practice illustration was recently donated to the Museum and is on display.
If you would like to see the drawing and the new exhibit please stop my the Museum! And please remember to thank those who have served and are serving for our country.
~Arden Craft Shop Museum