Soldiers and Sailors Monument

Wish You Were Here reflects the value of postcards as tools for learning about the past, with images drawn from Manuscript Group 213, Postcard Collection, Pennsylvania State Archives.

Following the end of the American Civil War in 1865, citizens in communities large and small throughout the nation began raising money for the erection of thousands of monuments, memorials and markers, many of which were dedicated to native sons who courageously fought in the epic four-year struggle. Grateful residents in Pennsylvania were no different. They commissioned all sorts of tributes in stone, marble, granite, limestone, iron, bronze and stained glass, which included statues, cenotaphs, pillars, busts, shrines, obelisks, columns, tablets, crosses, plaques, even chapels. Building of such commemorative monuments continued into the 20th century.

A note in a section entitled “Proposed Monuments” appearing in the January 1897 edition of The Monumental News, a national trade journal published in Chicago, announced, “The Court has appointed a committee of representative men of Green [sic] County to ascertain a soldiers’ monument, and to recommend a site.” A suitable memorial was erected and unveiled on July 4, 1899, in the Greene County seat of Waynesburg.

The base of the Greene County Soldiers and Sailors Monument bears the inscription “Erected by the County of Greene in Grateful Memory of Her Soldiers and Sailors of the War for the Union. 1861-1865.” It was created by Simon A. Rinehart, “Waynesburg’s capable marble and stone cutter,” well known for his work on a number of residences and public buildings. The column of the monument is topped by a female figure wearing classical dress and holding an olive branch in her right hand and a wreath in her left. Set on rounded columns at each of the four corners of the pedestal are figures representing the infantry, cavalry, artillery and navy. Crafted of limestone, the statue stands 65 feet tall.

The Greene County Soldiers and Sailors Monument is located in Monument Park on the campus of Waynesburg University, a private, nonprofit Christian school founded in 1849 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The early 20th-century postcard was published by W. T. Hays, Waynesburg. Because the card was not inscribed and mailed suggests it was saved as a memento.