Giving Back

Benefit Concert to Bring Belmar’s Treasured 'Doughboy' Statue Back to Its Glory

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Tickets are on sale for a benefit concert on Tuesday, August 8 to fund repairs to Belmar’s treasured “The Spirit of the Doughboy” statue, which was vandalized nearly a year ago at Memorial Field. Credits: Cathy Goetz
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BELMAR, NJ — Tickets are on sale for an August 8 benefit concert to fund repairs to Belmar’s treasured “The Spirit of the Doughboy” monument, vandalized nearly a year ago where it stands in Memorial Field.

In recent months, the borough has been rallying the community to help raise the $17,000 needed to restore the statue to its original glory.

The latest fundraising event on Tuesday, August 8 will be held at the Shillelagh Club, 815 16th Avenue, from 7 to 10 p.m., featuring music by the Pat Roddy Band and food donated by the appropriately named Doughboys Authentic Wood Fired Pizza, 507 Main Street.

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Tickets, which are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, are available at the following locations:

  • Belmar Museum, 900 E Street (annex of the Union Firehouse), which is open Monday, 2 to 4 p.m., and Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Nostalgic Nonsense Vintage Clothing, located at the corner of Main Street and Ninth Avenue.
  • Salon Marsal, 708 10th Avenue (closed on Monday and Tuesday).

Make checks payable to Belmar Historical Society, which will also accept checks by mail at: Belmar Historical Society, P.O. Box A, Belmar, NJ 07719. Advance purchase tickets will be held at the door.

Erected in 1930 to recognize 102 borough residents who served in World War I, the statue of the iconic infantryman stands in the borough’s Memorial Field on West Railroad Avenue, where in September 2016 vandals broke off a portion of its rifle and loosened the towering figure from its base.

Because the statue is made of pressed copper, Belmar Historical Society has run into difficulties obtaining bids for the repair project — receiving only one with a hefty $17,000 price tag from a company specializing in metalwork restoration

Since then, fundraising for the repair work has been sluggish — until a recent push by the borough that breathed new life into the effort. A new, dedicated link to “Donate to Repair the Doughboy Statue” on the borough’s website has raised some $2,500 in recent weeks.

What makes the undertaking even more relevant is that 2017 marks the U.S. Centennial Commemoration of World War I, which the nation entered on April 6, 1917.

For more information about ticket purchases or donating food or refreshments to the event, contact the Belmar Historical Society at info@belmarhistoricalsociety.org or 908-309-3380.

 

The Spirit of the Doughboy Statue: Standing Tall for Nearly 90 Years

Visible from the Route 35 bridge, “The Spirit of the Doughboy” statue is one of eight such monuments in New Jersey created by sculptor Ernest Moore Viquesney. The sculpture depicts a World War I infantryman advancing through the stumps and barbed wire of “No Man’s Land" with a rifle in his left hand and a grenade in his raised right hand.

Although World War I ended in 1919, the American Legion in Belmar spearheaded the effort to bring a doughboy statue to the borough — an effort that came to fruition in 1930 during the monument’s dedication. Standing across the street from the building on Route 35 that once housed the veterans group and then borough hall, the statue was moved to its current location, also fondly referred to as “Doughboy Park.” Following its last refurbishment, the monument was rededicated in November 2006, according to records compiled by the Belmar Historical Society.

 

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