Less than a year after rededicating its World War I Monument, the Lompoc Museum now is ready to unveil the completely repaired and updated memorial.
Museum leaders are planning to reveal the new-look monument during a ceremony scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, in the outdoor plaza on the museum property at 200 South H St. Light refreshments will be served, and the museum is slated to open early that day for viewing of a special exhibit titled “Lompoc Goes to War.”
The updated World War I Monument, which was initially erected by the Lompoc Civic Club in 1924, is the result of three years of fundraising and programming led by officials at the Lompoc Museum and members of the Rancho Purisima Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The two organizations evenly split the $51,000 cost of the project.
The effort was meant to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War, a milestone that was celebrated during the rededication ceremony at the Lompoc Museum on Nov. 7, 2018.
“The unveiling of the completed monument marks the culmination of our combined efforts and the completion of the project,” read a portion of a statement from Lompoc Museum Director Lisa Renken. “Both organizations thank the many individuals and organizations who supported this important work with their generous donations.”
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Among the final updates expected to be finished in time for the Sept. 7 ceremony: A life-sized bronze eagle by sculptor Mike Curtis will be installed atop the repaired capstone, and a bas relief bronze sculpture of a doughboy soldier created by local artist Ed Brooks will be affixed to the base.
A monument conservator from Los Angeles is also expected to give the memorial a final stage of cleaning and base repairs.
These additions join the four bronze commemorative plaques, two benches, and two planters that were installed in the monument’s plaza ahead of last year’s rededication. Also last year, the monument’s badly fractured capstone was repaired.
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From November 2017 to November 2018, the Lompoc Museum hosted monthly programs that focused on different aspects of World War I, an undertaking that included booking guest speakers and performing untold hours of research.
While the Sept. 7 event will formally mark the end of the restoration of the monument, which was moved to the current museum grounds in 1941, Renken said the museum plans to continue delving into Lompoc’s connections to what was known at the time as the Great War.
That will include the creation of a commemorative booklet about Lompoc Valley residents who served during World War I.
The Lompoc Museum's effort to restore its World War I monument received a $500 assist this month from CoastHills Credit Union.
The “Lompoc Goes to War” exhibit will remain on display through Nov. 11.
Both the Lompoc Museum and Daughters of the American Revolution are still accepting donations as they close in on raising the entire cost for the restoration of the monument.
Renken noted that the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter is limited in the aspects of the project it can fund, due to guidelines set by its national parent organization.
"The two organizations have worked together very well and achieved something important to the community that neither could have on their own," Renken said. "We were mindful of the need to keep our funding separate to [ensure] the use of DAR funds followed their guidelines."
For more information on the Lompoc Museum, call 805-736-3888 or email email@example.com.
For more on the Rancho Purisima Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, visit http://ranchopurisima.californiadar.org/.
GALLERY: Lompoc's World War I memorial through the years
Lompoc's monument to honor those who served in World War I began as a flagpole memorial in the intersection of H Street and Ocean Avenue. By 1941, it was relocated in front of the Carnegie Library (now the Lompoc Museum) on South H Street. Officials reportedly cited increasing military traffic due to Camp Cooke during World War II, and concern about frequent collisions with the pedestal, as reasons for the change.
Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.