Wilmington monument nominated as county landmark
By Mary BAskerville Correspondent January 14, 2013 12:24PM
Updated: February 17, 2013 6:14AM
The Island City Memorial Flagpole and Monument in Wilmington is being considered for recognition as a county landmark.
The Wilmington City Council passed a resolution supporting the nomination of the site as a county historical landmark last month. The designation will most likely be on the February or March agenda of the Will County Historic Preservation Commission, County Preservation Manager Eileen Franz said.
The nomination was made by Bert Niehls, a lifelong resident of Wilmington. The Joliet Arsenal was an important part of the city’s history, he said in nominating the site.
“Almost every family in town had a parent or family member that worked there till it closed,” he said.
In 2007, Niehls undertook a project to honor the workers of the arsenal and the veterans of all wars.
“We were able to rescue the 100-foot flagpole which stood at the entrance of White Circle at the arsenal area before demolition,” he said. The pole was originally set in 1938.
The flag is now the centerpiece of the North Island Memorial Park on North Island. Construction on the planned monument is under way. The memorial will feature three large standing pieces of black marble, imported from Italy, with the emblems of all six branches of the military service. The centerpiece of the memorial is to read: “In honored memory of all who have fallen and all who have served for our freedom.”
Memorial bricks continue to be sold to fund the project.
Speaking before the council in December, Niehls said the site will be listed this year in the brochure for the Route 66 Red Carpet tour. It is hoped the site will become a stop in the tour.
“It’s going to be a good thing for the city,” Mayor Marty Orr said.
The recommendation of the Will County Historic Commission goes to the full county board for a final vote.