Rare World War I monument back on display in Truckee
Ryan Summerlin July 17, 2013
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Victory Highway Eagle Monument has landed.
After about two years in storage, the 85-year-old monument honoring America’s World War I veterans has been restored for public viewing, this time in the Truckee Town Hall lobby.
“The response has been nothing but positive,” said John McLaughlin, community development director for the town. “People are excited to see it as they come to Town Hall… It is an inspiring sculpture, with strong meaning to not only Truckee.”
The monument, featuring a bronze bald eagle protecting her two nestlings on her aerie, was intended to be placed at every United States county line along the transcontinental Victory Highway (old Highway 40).
However, when the Great Depression hit, the project fell by the wayside, with only six monuments known to have been made, according to previous reports.
“This (the sculpture) is wonderful,” said Jude Goodpaster, a Truckee resident who was at Town Hall on Friday. “I think it should be out for others to see.”
Over the years, Truckee’s monument, which is owned by Caltrans, has rested in two locations: near the California/Nevada border from 1928 to the 1970s, before being removed and put into storage due to vandalism; and the Truckee Train Depot from 1998 to summer 2011.
Afterward, the monument was put in storage due to a streetscape project at the depot.
Rather than returning the monument to its previous location, community input was gathered to determine the best location.
A stakeholder group recommended permanent placement on the northwest corner of Donner Pass Road and Spring Street, with town council approval coming in November 2012.
According to the stakeholder group, the site would allow the monument to be integrated into a “Victory Plaza” as part of the upcoming Brickelltown Streetscape project, acting as a centerpiece while also providing opportunities for other monuments.
Installation costs are unknown at this time, McLaughlin said. The hope is for the monument to be installed within two years, dependent on Brickelltown’s progress.
“(We) look forward to putting the eagle back on display, in a highly visible and very appropriate location downtown, right on the Victory Highway,” McLaughlin said.
An update on the Brickelltown project is on the agenda for the 4 p.m. Wednesday meeting of the Truckee Redevelopment Successor Agency Oversight Board.
In the meantime, the monument is available for viewing from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and on occasional evenings at Town Hall.
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