Atchison County Memorial Building - Rock Port, Missouri
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 40° 24.668 W 095° 30.890
15T E 286616 N 4476427
Quick Description: Historic building constructed as a World War I memorial in Rock Port, Missouri.
Location: Missouri, United States
Date Posted: 12/9/2008 4:55:24 PM
Waymark Code: WM5AXB
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Norfolk12
Views: 12

Long Description:

"Conceived in 1919 as a Memorial to Atchison County soldiers who served in World War I, the building is a good representative example of the classicism which prevailed in Missouri public architecture of modest size between the World Wars. It combines a finely detailed and well-proportioned Classical Revival facade of concrete with a highly functional interior designed to meet community needs with gymnasium and auditorium spaces. The architect-designed, stylistically sophisticated building is noteworthy within the largely vernacular context of this small community.

When in 1919 the Missouri General Assembly made available small matching grants for the construction of World War I memorials, Atchison County citizens responded with sufficient funding to construct a monumental, architect-designed structure in a nationally popular style. The building stands today as a symbol of the patriotism and civic pride that characterized this rural county in the post-war years.

In 1919, following the close of World War I, the Missouri General Assembly authorized an appropriation of $115,000, "for the erection of a memorial building, monument or memorial tablets in each of the counties of the state, and in each city not a part of a county." A maximum of $1000 was allowed each county or city providing it would match the grant with a sum of $250 or more. 1 The first county to respond to the offer was Atchison, a sparsely populated county located in the extreme northwest corner of Missouri. Within minutes after word of the fund reached Rock Port, the county seat, a telegram was sent to state officials pledging $1000 towards a building planned to serve as memorial and community center. Subsequent fund-raising meetings at Rock Port generated even greater support and generosity, eliciting the following comment from the Editor of the Missouri Historical Review:

Here is a tale worth telling, a message worth reading. A Missouri town of eleven hundred souls raised $25,000 in less than two hours to honor their heroes of war. The living proved worthy of the dead. Is there a rival for such rank in America? But the citizens of Rock Port and Atchison county were not content. They wanted eminence in conscience and country. So $50,000 was raised! New York City would have civil war in raising an equal per capita for such a purpose...

To advance the cause the local community members pledged money to an interest bearing account for five years. Local bankers managed this fund and advanced the money for the construction capital. All of this fervent activity culminated with the memorial's completion in 1921. A new community center was set among the other post-war improvements dotting the townscape including five newly paved miles of streets, a 21 acre city park, and newly constructed water and sewer system. Although a post-war recession gripped the majority of the state, Rock Port's citizenry dedicated themselves to civic improvement. The memorial building objectified not only their commitment to commemorating the fallen youth of their community but also their belief such a building could impart "useful" value to the living community by including a gymnasium and civic auditorium." - National Register nomination form

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Date the Monument or Memorial was built or dedicated: 01/01/1921

Private or Public Monument?: Government

Name of the Private Organization or Government Entity that built this Monument: Atchison County

Geographic Region where the Monument is located: North America

Website for this Monument: [Web Link]

Physical Address of Monument:
417 S. Main St.
Rock Port, Missouri

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