During World War I, the Krupp heavy howitzer became the workhorse of German field artillery. Capable of delivering a ninety-pound projectile containing high explosive or poison gas, it was considered by the German High Command their "principal gun of battle". Literally thousands were captured by the Allies by the end of the conflict.
Galena, like many other communities that sent their fair share of men to the war, pushed for a "souvenir" to complement the other guns displayed in Grant Park. The Galena Gazette suggested that a German "airship, submarine or some other memento would be very acceptable."
The local American Legion Post 193 petitioned their U.S. Congressman, John C. McKenzie, for such a memento. In 1924, he introduced legislation, which subsequently passed, to allot German war trophies to each state according to the number of mem they sent to the war. Illinois was entitled to "150 cannons and trench mortars, 220 vehicles, 4,722 German rifles, 672 machine guns and 3,294 bayonets and scabbards."
THe Gazette announced in August of 1925 that the American Legion Post had received word that "a large Howitzer cannon will soon be placed in Galena's beautiful park." The cannon, weighing 4,900 pounds, arrived in April the following year and was placed "in a commanding position on the brow of the hill." Here, it was proclaimed, the cannon would serve as a memorial to all the boys who "went West."
Rededicated in June of 2004, through the efforts of the Galena Foundation, City of Galena and friends of Galena history, it continues to commemorate all of those who served.
Photo captured October 15, 2018.
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