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Lincoln Park Statues: Part 2

Planting the Standard of Democracy


 

If any statue in Newark rivals "An Historical Incident of November, 1764" for awkwardness of title, it might be "Planting the Standard of Democracy," also in Lincoln Park, located where Broad Street and Clinton Avenue meet. Although it depicts Romans, and not doughboys, "Planting the Standard of Democracy" was Newark's official memorial to each of its 20,863 soldiers and sailors of the Great War.

 

 

The sculptural group for "Planting the Standard of Democracy" was created by Charles Henry Niehaus. As Chauncey Ives sculpted Connecticut's contributions to Statuary Hall, Niehaus, a native of Cinncinnati, sculpted both of Ohio's contributions to Statuary Hall, James A. Garfield and William Allen. Locally, a major Niehaus piece are the Astor doors of Trinity Church, in Manhattan.

While Chauncy Ives resided in Italy, Charles Niehaus lived in the United States (New Jersey, in fact). Niehaus, a German-American, did train in Germany though.

 

 

 

"Planting the Standard of Democracy" was dedicated in front of 30,000 people on December 10th, 1923 -several years before the Wars of America statue in Military Park. The ceremony was part of a 4,000 person parade down Broad Street made up of scores of American Legion lodges, Gold Star mother groups, and other organizations.

 

 

Our statue is part of a 75' flag poll mounted by an American Eagle. In the dedication ceremony a large flag was brought to the monument by Ewald Wegner, a blind veteran of the Great War. The flag was lifted by Miss Marie Niehaus, the sculptor's daughter.

After the flag was proudly hoisted to its commanding view, the statue's drapery was pulled off by a contingent of war mothers and the crowd's voice rose in singing the Star-Spangled Banner.

 

Unlike "An Historical Incident of November, 1764," which was the gift of a single individual, "Planting the Standard of Democracy" was paid for by a $75,000 public subscription called the Victory Celebration Committee.

Memorials to the Great War were built all over the United States, Niehaus himself made a good business with soldiers and sailors' monuments in the 1920s.

From the perspective of 2005, ironies abound in "Planting the Standard of Democracy." American involvement in the World War did not "make the world safe for democracy," though it did save France and Belgium. In the aftertaste of Iraq, not many Newarkers would look at a "war for democracy" without cynicism. Finally, World War I was not "the World War" as Newarkers in 1923 believed it was.

The base of "Planting the Standard of Democracy" was designed by the architectural firm of Richfield and Rogers. Each of the eight panels contains a written inscription or a bas-relief. The four bas reliefs are entitled Patria, Sacrifico, Disciplina,and Fraternitas

 

Patria

Plaque to the 20,863

Sacrifico

Dedication Plaque

Disciplina

Plaque of Campaigns

Fraternitas

Title Plaque

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J. Bennett, November/December 2005
Permanent URL: www.newarkhistory.com/standard.html