Appleton's WWI doughboy statue to be replaced

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -- A familiar Fox Valley face in is noticeably absent this weekend, but he won’t be gone for long.

Appleton’s doughboy veteran statue on Memorial Drive was taken down for replacements on Saturday.
The date marks a special anniversary for the city, being 99 years since the death of Appleton’s first fallen WWI doughboy, Harvey Pierre, and 100 years since United States entry into the war.

“I’m certainly glad it’s going to be maintained, and not just let go” says Jim Thieo, a Marine and Vietnam veteran. “It’s an important part of American history.”

“I’m a veteran myself … served in Desert Storm. So for me, it hits pretty close to home,” says Alex Schultz the president of Sculpture Valley, the organization that took on the replacement project. “I take it seriously when the things that we erect, to remember the people we've lost in these conflicts are being ignored, or falling apart.”

The WWI memorial has undergone four restorations over the past three decades, each time coming up with problems.

“If you look at the doughboy, you can see it’s kind of lifting and not standing exactly straight,” Schultz says. “That's another issue, because of the restoration efforts, he's not exactly standing where he should be.”

That’s what the city is hoping to change, by replacing the doughboy all together.

“Let’s not try to repair this thing again,” Schultz says. “We need to take it down, put it indoors, and put out a new solid bronze that will last a couple hundred years.”

A replacement doughboy that’s meant to withstand the outdoors will replace the current doughboy. It is set to be unveiled in a ceremony on Veteran’s Day. The current doughboy will be on display indoors, at the History Museum at the Castle.

Sculpture Valley is working with the City of Appleton to replace or repair all the war memorials across the city over the next five years.