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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Spirit of the American Navy


Update Oct. 13: The ceremonial unveiling of the “Spirit of the American Navy” was witnessed this afternoon on the 238th birthday of the U.S. Navy as members of the Naperville Municipal Band performed patriotic music in Burlington Square Park. The sculpture depicting a World War I Sailor becomes the 44th work of art to be featured in the Naperville Century Walk Public Art Program.

Burlington Square Park, just south of the Naperville Train Station, is now the home of two sculptures designed by E. M. Viquesney. The park is also on the map for Blue Star Memorials, thanks to the Naperville Garden Club.

A resounding “Only in Naperville” theme was put forth by Century Walk Board President Brand for the community’s generosity, followed up by Mayor George Pradel’s comments as the two men addressed the appreciative gathering. Bobosky expressed his gratitude for the collaborative support from local veterans organizations (Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 and American Legion Post 43), the City of Naperville, Naperville Park District, Signature Design, the Naperville Garden Club and all.

Shortly after 2PM, the large drape over the “Sailorboy” came off to reveal the companion to the “Spirit of the American Doughboy” sculpture in Burlington Square Park.

Dozens of residents— including Navy veterans as well as veterans representing all branches of the military, public officials, members of Century Walk, Greg Sagen of Signature Design and members of the Naperville Park District and the Naperville Garden Club—gathered under clear blue skies on this seasonal fall afternoon to welcome the “Sailorboy” to his perch. The sculpture is set atop granite across the park from its companion sculpture, “Spirit of the American Doughboy.”  The pair of sculptures designed by E.M. Viquesney now is distinguished to be among only eight sets of their kind at various locations across the nation.

After the unveiling of the “Spirit of the American Navy” sculpture, a large number of the Navy veterans in attendance posed for photos.

Burlington Square Park is simply a train ride away from any stop along the Burlington route. Visit the Naperville destination and discover other Century Walk attractions within walking distance, including the “Parting the Prairie” sculpture depicting train heritage in front of the DuPage Children’s Museum and the mural featuring “The World’s Greatest Artists” located at 5th Ave. and Center St. on the exterior of the Naperville Art League Gallery. Two restaurants are situated along the west side of the park.

For more info and things to do, visit naperville or head toward North Central College or downtown Naperville.

Photos on this page by PN / Link with additional photos from the Oct. 13, 2013, ceremony courtesy of James Hoch Photography

Note also that the Navy Band Great Lakes will perform a free concert at 8PM Sat., Nov.2, at The Wentz Concert Hall. Thanks for supporting the arts!

Update Sept. 12, 2013:  Plans are moving forward for the World War I “Spirit of the American Doughboy” sculpture at Burlington Square to be joined by its counterpart, “Spirit of the American Navy.”  Also designed by E. M. Viquesney, the second sculpture is nicknamed “Sailorboy” and one of only eight in the nation. Currently, the sculpture is standing ready in the Canteen at the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 until it can be placed on its new granite pedestal.

Construction of the plaza and base for the sculpture by Greg Sagen of Signature Design will begin the week of September 23 at Burlington Square, located at 307 N. Ellsworth Street, just south of the Naperville train station. The Naperville Garden Club also is contributing to the landscape of the park.

Dedication of the Sailorboy is slated for 2PM Sun., Oct. 13, which is the 238th anniversary of the United States Navy.

‘Sailorboy’ will find a new home in Burlington Square Park

A decade ago, hundreds of citizens gathered in Burlington Square Park on Memorial Day weekend to celebrate the rededication of the Spirit of the American Doughboy, a sculpture of a World War I soldier by E. M. Viquesney, designed to honor the veterans and casualties of World War I.

During a visit to Burlington Square Park, BRAND BOBOSKY presented DONNA KOLINGER with a copy of Century Walk: Art Imitating History, written by Jini Leeds Clare. The colorful, coffee-table book features the fi rst 35 pieces of outdoor art in Century Walk. When The Spirit of the American Navy, formerly under the Kolinger’s care and ownership, takes its permanent place in Naperville, the World War I tribute will be the 44th work of art on the Century Walk.

Back then, local artist Dee Pasternak had spearheaded the restoration project for nearly two years, coining the slogan, “Save Our Doughboy,” to raise funds to replenish the weathered and damaged pressed copper sculpture that had been first dedicated in 1926. Her aim had been to restore the sculpture to its original splendor and enhance its setting in the park.

And that Sunday, surrounded by members of the American Legion Post 43 and the Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873 and citizens, Naperville Park District Commissioner Ron Ory, Century Walk President Brand Bobosky and local historian Steve Hyett recognized Pasternak’s community spirit, vision and can-do collaboration.

Ten years later, Hyett, also a member of the Century Walk Board of Directors, discovered the location of another Viquesney sculpture titled “Spirit of the American Navy,” carefully tucked inside the Brass Anchor in Pentwater, Mich. The companion piece, one of eight in the nation, recently was acquired by Century Walk for $15,500.

Bobosky is hopeful that the sculpture of the World War I “Sailorboy” will fi nd its place in Burlington Square Park, facing the Doughboy. Though the sculpture has arrived in Naperville, complete details of another collaboration among Century Walk, the Naperville Park District, the City, veterans organizations and the community still are in the works.

Upon arrival from Michigan, GREG SAGEN (front), MIKE RECHENMACHER, and BOB RECHENMACHER rolled the Spirit of the American Navy sculpture to its temporary home at the Judd Kendall VFW.

After consulting with Greg Sagen of Signature Design Group, Bobosky estimates the total cost of the landscaped plaza with installation on a granite pedestal, a concrete foundation and sidewalks would cost $73,000. If fundraising goals are met for the base and landscaping, the dedication could be held on the U.S. Navy’s next birthday, Oct. 13, 2013.

For more information, contact Century Walk at (630) 355-5553 or visit www.centurywalk.org.

POST UPDATE: To the PN Editor (Aug. 7, 2013): I hope all is well at Positively Naperville! I wanted to give you a heads up on a project I think will be of great interest to your readers. Yesterday afternoon, the City of Naperville in partnership with the Naperville Century Walk posted their first crowdfunding project to Citizinvestor – a crowdfunding platform for public projects.

The project is raising $27,000 to install “The Spirit of the American Navy” sculpture in Burlington Square Park. The City and Century Walk have each put up $25,000 towards this project, but they need the support of Naperville citizens to raise the rest of the funds necessary to install this beautiful sculpture honoring our veterans.

Citizens can now donate tax-deductibly towards this project. No citizen’s credit card will be charged unless the project reaches 100% of its funding goal before the project deadline in 59 days.

As a Co-founder of Citizinvestor, I am happy to answer any questions you might have about this specific project or Citizinvestor in general.

—Jordan Raynor, Co-founder of Citizinvestor

Century Walk Corporation, a nonprofit organization with a mission “to create culturally significant and diverse public art throughout Naperville” acquired the Sailorboy earlier this year and is coordinating the funding and installation of the sculpture. For more information about the ongoing fundraising and how to participate, visit www.centurywalk.org.

PN Ombudsman
PN Ombudsman
An ombudsman is Scandinavian in origin dating back to Viking times; and refers to a community representative; usually acting independently on behalf of an organization, body of elected officials, or civic group. Thanks Scandinavia for inventing ombudsman.