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Guard gets nod to move statue

February 4, 2016 at 4:40 a.m. | Updated January 1, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.
The Missouri National Guard received preliminary approval to relocate the Spanish-American War statue from its Missouri Boulevard location to the Ike Skelton Training Site.

Overcoming public concern with education, the Missouri National Guard received preliminary approval to relocate the Spanish-American War statue from its Jefferson City location on Missouri Boulevard to the Ike Skelton Training Site.

A few years ago, concerns were raised the statue would be removed from public access.

However, Tony Bamvakais, military executive for the adjutant general, told Jefferson City's Administration Committee the National Guard wants to give the statue a place of honor.

Before the committee voted unanimously to send the matter on to the full City Council, Bamvakais assured them that the site on Militia Drive is open to the public and a federal ID is not required.

The Guard will pay for the move and installation of the 12-foot bronze of a militiaman dressed in broad-brimmed hat with rifle on his shoulder.

Two locations are being considered, depending on engineering requirements.

The first would be in front of the newly opened Museum of Missouri Military History, where several large pieces, including tanks and aircraft, are on display.

The other would be in the circle drive underneath the flags at the entrance to the headquarters building.

Bamvakais said thousands of visitors tour the museum and training site each month, giving the statue greater visibility.

Where it is now, it has lost its sense of place, he added.

Originally, the Missouri Boulevard location was a roadside park for U.S. 50, where families would travel out of town for picnics. The site, owned by the Missouri Department of Transportation but maintained by the city, also featured the State Historical Society of Missouri's city history marker and a Blue Star Memorial.

The historical society marker has been relocated to the Clay Street Bike Plaza, said Britt Smith, city operations division director.

The Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department is restoring the Blue Star Memorial and intends to re-install it at Washington Park, he said.

No plans are in place for the Missouri Boulevard site once the statue is removed.

The statue is "historically the property of the National Guard," said local military historian Jeremy Ämick.

The $10,000 used to pay St. Louis sculptor Carl Mose in 1960 was directed through the United Spanish-American Veterans organization after it received the funds, which had not been paid to them or their comrades for decades after their service

The memorial honors more than 10,000 Missourians who served in the Spanish-American War, Boxer Rebellion and Philippines from 1898-1902. It was dedicated in 1963 at a temporary location on North Ten Mile Drive and relocated to the present site in 1967 after the completion of U.S. 50.


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