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Eagle lands in town

JOHN A. BAYLESS

The Victory Highway Eagle Monument landed at its new home in Truckee’s downtown Friday as a Caltrans crew deposited the sculpture atop a new base built for it near the Intermodal Depot.

Speakers at the ceremony included Mayor Ron Florian, Town Councilmember Bob Drake, Assemblyman Bernie Richter, Dave Butler of Sen. Tim Leslie’s office, Caltrans District 3 Director Irene Itamura and historian Lyn Protteau.

Drake, who spearheaded the town’s efforts to bring the monument to the downtown area, said the ceremonies went well.

“Richter gave a really stirring, patriotic history speech,” Drake said. “It was very nicely done.”

The Victory Highway Monument, originally placed on Old Highway 40 near Verdi, was dedicated to the sons and daughters of America who served in World War I.

Drake said Itamura thanked Caltrans employees in her speech, including many retired employees who had worked on the monument project over the years.

Protteau told spectators about the history of the monument, informing them that six of the monuments were originally placed along Old Highway 40. Of the six, three were located in California.

“The ones here and in Antioch have been moved, although they are now both located along the old highway,” Drake said. He said the other California monument, which is in Sacramento, is still in its original location.

Florian addressed the monument’s relation to Truckee, and its significance in the town’s efforts to beautify the downtown area, including the green space which is projected around the depot in the Downtown Specific Plan.

Fifth District Supervisor Sam Dardick also spoke about the restoration of historic sites in Truckee and the county.

And lastly – Drake spoke on his efforts to locate the monument, ending with what he referred to as an instance of “shameless plagiarism.”

“I ended it with ‘The eagle has landed’ and I actually got applause,” Drake said. The placement of the eagle downtown caps years of work by Drake, who got involved in the effort to bring the monument to Truckee when he was a Nevada County Supervisor.

Many organizations participated in the ceremony, including the Native Daughters of the Golden West, the Nevada County Historical Society, and an honor guard composed of members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and Disabled American Veterans.

Drake said Peer Fossen, a town public works employee, built the kiosk for the eagle and the wall around the base of the monument, which is composed of white granite stones from its original base.

“It was truly a labor of love for him,” Drake said.

The town funded the construction of the base for the monument, and Ward-Young Architects Provided the site survey and design work free of charge.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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