Sedgwick County Memorial Hall and Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Old County Courthouse 510 N. Main

The Sedgwick County Memorial Hall and Soldiers and Sailors Monument is dedicated to the Union Soldiers and Sailors who fought and died in the Civil War. It was designed by Ernest Monroe Viquesney (1876-1946) of Marietta, Georgia.  Viquesney is best known as the sculptor of the Doughboy statues that popped up across the country after the First World War. The monument was built by W. H. Mullins Manufacturing Company (Salem, OH). Construction of the monument began in 1911.

At the base of the dome are four life-sized bronze figures by Frederick Hibbard representing the Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and Navy. Inscriptions list the hard fought battles fought by local men. This includes Spotsylvania, the battle in which John Sedgwick, for whom Sedgwick County is named, died.  He was one of the highest-ranking Union soldiers to be killed in the war. His famous last words: “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance.”

There is a great breakdown discussing all the symbols on the monument at https://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMH1F0_Sedgwick_County_Memorial_Hall_and_Soldiers_and_Sailors_Monument_Wichita_KS

The Liberty figure originally faced the courthouse, but after its installation the veterans decided that the statue should face outward.

The monument’s interior features a Memorial Hall, 12 feet square, with two marble-and-glass cases displaying war relics. The Hall remained locked for 25 years because the key had been lost. The key was found again in 1948. When we visited the monument on a warm spring morning, we noticed the case was empty. I would have loved to get inside and take pictures. I reached out to the county, the city, and the Wichita-Historical Museum, but got no response on getting in or where the contents are now.

The monument was dedicated June 14, 1913. It was restored in November 2001.

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