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Bronze Memorial Tablet
Bronze Memorial Tablet

Memorial Parkway

Memorial Parkway History:

Upon the signing of the Armistice ending World War I in 1918, Colonel Webb C. Hayes sent a cablegram to John M. Sherman in Fremont:

Will erect bronze memorial tablet containing names of killed, wounded or died, born, living or who lived in Sandusky County, in World War, for dedication next Memorial Day if accurate list furnished in time.

[Signed]         Hayes

A Memorial Tablet Committee was quickly formed, with Captain Kent H. Dillon as chairman. Knowing it would be unable to obtain a complete list of soldiers' names by May 30, 1919, but wishing to honor Sandusky County's heroic dead with an appropriate memorial, the committee adopted a resolution on April 2, 1919. The committee asked Colonel Hayes to consider an alternate plan - that of establishing a County Soldiers' Memorial Parkway where a tree would be planted for each soldier, with an inscribed plaque honoring that individual. The committee also suggested that McKinley Parkway between Buckland Avenue and Hayes Avenue would be an excellent location for the memorial parkway. Further, the committee asked the Sandusky County Commissioners to adopt the parkway as a county park and agree to maintain and care for it.
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Resolution of the Memorial Tablet Committee

WHEREAS, the Memorial Tablet Committee has been informed by the Adjutant General of the United States Army and the Adjutant General of Ohio that it will be impossible to furnish an official list of casualties of Sandusky County soldiers, sailors and marines by Memorial Day, May 30, 1919, and perhaps for many months thereafter, so that the bronze memorial tablet generously offered by Colonel Webb C. Hayes may be ready for dedication by May 30, 1919;

AND WHEREAS, the Memorial Tablet Committee is desirous of having some form of memorial for dedication with suitable exercises on May 30, 1919 for her soldiers, sailors and marines, who shall have died during the World’s War of 1917, so that Sandusky County may not be laggard in paying a tribute of respect to her heroic dead;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by said Memorial Tablet Committee THAT; Colonel Webb C. Hayes be requested to consider the plan of establishing a County Soldiers’ Memorial Park or Parkway in which shall be planted a memorial tree, preferably a buckeye tree, with a suitably inscribed tree tablet, containing the name, organization and place and date of death of each soldier, sailor and marine from Sandusky County, who shall have given up his life for his country during the World’s War of 1917; and further beg to suggest that the McKinley Parkway, extending from Buckland Avenue to Hayes between the grounds of the Memorial Hospital of Sandusky County and the Spiegel Grove State Park, is in every way suitable for such a Soldiers' Memorial Parkway; PROVIDED THAT the Board of County Commissioners of Sandusky County accept and adopt as a County Park, the proposed Soldiers’ Memorial Parkway of Sandusky County in honor of her heroic dead of the World’s War of 1917, and agree to improve and perpetually care for said Soldiers’ Memorial Parkway; AND FURTHER PROVIDED THAT this suggested plan of procedure meets with the approval of Colonel Hayes, the President of the Memorial Hospital Association of Sandusky County and the Chamber of Commerce of Fremont, Ohio; it being understood that the above suggested memorial is to be in addition to the bronze memorial tablet so generously heretofore offered by Colonel Hayes.

[Excerpted from the 1919 Yearbook of the Sandusky County Pioneer and Historical Association]

Hayes responded to Kent Dillon:

Dear Sir:
Referring to the resolution adopted by your Committee April 2nd, 1919, it will give me great pleasure to provide memorial trees, preferably buckeye trees, with suitably inscribed tree tablets, for the proposed Soldiers' Memorial Parkway of Sandusky County, under the terms prescribed, and with the approval and assistance of the County Commissioners, the Trustees of the Memorial Hospital Association and the Chamber of Commerce of Fremont, for dedication on Memorial Day, May 30, 1919, and later also to provide a Bronze Memorial Tablet when the necessary data is available.

Very respectfully,
[Signed]         Webb C. Hayes

The Sandusky County Commissioners agreed to see that the necessary grading of the parkway was done. Although the work was delayed by a long siege of wet weather and only part of the trees could be planted, the Memorial Day exercises were held at the parkway. Members of the Colonel George Croghan Chapter, D.A.R., prepared wreaths and flags in memory of the dead soldiers.

The parkway was re-designated Soldier Memorial Parkway, and the intersecting street nearest Buckland became McKinley Parkway. The two form a cross. Trees on Memorial Parkway are dedicated to World War I soldiers, and those on McKinley Parkway represent soldiers who died in wars before World War I. Before 1920, buckeye trees were planted and marked with tablets honoring 78 Sandusky County soldiers. A few more were added later.

In 1991, the Parkway was named to the National Register of Historic Places.

[Colonel Webb C. Hayes’ messages were excerpted from the 1919 Yearbook of the Sandusky County Pioneer and Historical Association]
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Bronze Memorial Tablet

The idea of a bronze memorial tablet inscribed with the names of the war dead did not die. Colonel Webb C. Hayes proceeded with the creation of the tablet. In a ceremony held October 4, 1920, the Bronze Memorial Tablet affixed to the north wall of the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center was unveiled. The tablet honors Sandusky County soldiers "who died in service during the World War, Mexican Border, China, Philippine Insurrection, War with Spain."
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Memorial Tablet Committee

Capt. Kent H. Dillon, Fremont, chairman
Mrs. Lester J. Connors, Fremont, secretary
Capt. A. Otto Baumann, Fremont
M. H. Wrigley, Fremont
Ben. Dewey, Clyde
J. L. Hart, Gibsonburg
B. J. Burket, Lindsey
C. F. Soldan, Woodville

Soldiers’ Memorial Parkway Committee

Sgt. A. E. Slessman, 1st Ohio Cavalry, War with Spain, chairman
Capt. Stanley Wolfe, Fremont
Capt. Frank Buehler, Fremont
Capt. Kent H. Dillon, Fremont, secretary
Sgt. Carl Heid
Sgt. Carl H. Stroup, Fremont
Maj. Edward Welsh, Clyde
Capt. A. W. Wicks, Clyde
Capt. A. G. Eyestone, Gibsonburg
Sgt. Chester Kopp, Woodville
Sgt. Francis M. Dalton, Vickery
Sgt. Edgar A. Smith, Helena
Sgt. Paul Yeagle, Lindsey

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