The “Lowell Doughboy” statue, located at the intersection of Fletcher and Willie streets, memorializes 36 men from Lowell’s Acre neighborhood who were killed or who died while serving in the US military during World War I. The statue was erected and dedicated in 1923 and has remained in the same place ever since.
Now, the Lowell Firefighters Club, which now occupies the building at that corner, wishes to move the statue from its home of 95 years to the North Common to make way for a 9/11 memorial to first-responders.
Earlier this month, Barry Connolly, the descendent of John Leo Connolly, one of the deceased soldiers memorialized by the statute, wrote a letter to the editor of the Lowell Sun stating his opposition to moving the statue. The Sun followed the letter with a news story about Connolly’s opposition.
Now, the Lowell Historical Society has voted to oppose the move. Here is a communication I recently received from Eileen Loucraft, president of the Historical Society:
At the November 13, 2018 board meeting of the Lowell Historical Society, it was voted to express our opposition to moving the Doughboy statue from its present location on Fletcher Street to the North Common. This statue was dedicated on June 3, 1923, by the proud residents of the Acre neighborhood and thousands of Lowell residents attended its unveiling. The statue itself honors the 36 men from the Acre who gave their lives during World War One.
At the time, the Firefighter’s Club was the Broadway Social Club and it was responsible for purchasing and dedicating this monument. This location has also been the Butler Volunteer Firemen and the Marine Club. At the statue dedication Major Edward L. Logan, Mayor John J. Donovan and Congressman John Jacob Rogers spoke. Congressman Rogers said it best, “Let this statue be always a beacon star which will help you to strive onward that the lives of those it honors may not have died in vain.”
According to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, “The figure is standing in a relaxed position holding the barrel of a rifle to his right side with both hands and with its butt end resting on the ground. The figure faces northward toward traffic traveling southward along Fletcher Street, as if to welcome people entering the Acre neighborhood.”
We implore you to leave this monument right where it has been for almost a hundred years. It is part of the neighborhood.
“LEST WE FORGET”
Lowell Historical Society