GALLIPOLIS — After 81 years of standing proud yet somber in the Gallipolis City Park, the Spirit of the American Doughboy Monument received special attention this week to bring out its original external brilliance.
The Doughboy Monument is a pressed copper sculpture by E.M. Viquesney, designed to honor the veterans and casualties of World War I. Mass produced during the 1920s and 1930s for communities throughout the United States, the statue’s design was the most popular of its kind, spawning a wave of collectible miniatures and related memorabilia as well as numerous copies by other artists. Its title is often shortened to “The Doughboy”.
According to Richard Moore of the Gallia County Veteran’s Service Commission, there are only about 130 in existence today.
“[The restoration] was an effort of quite a few in the Veteran’s Service Office,” explained Moore. “There were many people looking at the monument around the Doughboy and telling us how bad he looked. So, that’s when we went on a search and returned to Spencer, Indiana, where the Doughboy came from, got in touch with the newspaper editor who, in turn, put us in touch with the contractor who did the job.”
Moore said that the contractor came to Gallipolis a few months ago to survey the condition of the statue and make plans for its restoration.
“It was time that we cleaned him up. It was time that he stood tall,” said Moore. “I know it will be pleasing to all the veterans and the people of Gallia County.”
A Cincinnati company performed the cleanup through dry ice blasting under the supervision of a company from Spencer, Indiana, where the statue was originally manufactured. Once cleaned, the Doughboy was buffed and waxed to protect it from further deterioration.
“We look at the Doughboy as a symbol of freedom. It is standing with the names surrounding him of veterans who served in the conflicts of World War I,” said Moore. “He represents the men and women from Gallia County who fought for that freedom. We want him to be something to be proud of.”