LAMAR, Mo. — It’s a location that was once home to an area hospital, but now, it serves a different purpose.
The Barton County Memorial Park honors hundreds of local veterans, representing all branches of the military, with its continued growth over the last four years.
The Barton County Memorial Park first started as a tribute to local soldiers who never made it back from World War Two.
The grounds were once home to the Barton County Memorial Hospital.
Park Board President Joe Davis tells us this location is the heart of the park.
“It has 69 surface markers. That signifies the 69 Barton County soldiers that died World War Two when the hospital was bought, built in 1948. Opened in 1949. It was built for these guys right here. It was actually the first memorial in the state of Missouri,” said Joe Davis, Barton County Memorial Park Board President.
The hospital structure is long gone now, but there are still some hints of the past.
“The original 1948 cornerstone. And it’s in the exact same spot, plus or minus five feet. You know, that the hospital cornerstone was there. So, we saved that,” said Davis.
Davis tells us what originally began as an idea has flourished into more than three acres of history, including this new addition.
“Doris Little Nurses Pavilion. This is one of our newest things. Doris was instrumental and involved with the hospitals and the doctor’s offices around here for, oh, gosh, over 30 years,” said Davis.
Many monuments throughout the park also honor those who have served our country.
“The Walk of Honor leads up to the War Memorial. So, on the Walk of Honor, we have people. All those are all veterans. 12 by 12 pavers from people who have bought one for a veteran. We’ve got people going back to the American Revolution. We got the anchor, of course, that you did last time. We got the tank over there that we got last year,” said Davis.
And, Davis adds those involved in making this project come to fruition wanted the War Memorial to stand out.
“One of our board members said ‘hey, how about triangles’? I said, ‘that might not be too bad’. So, this war memorial is 44 feet. It’s got seven monuments on it. Six are for each of the six major wars the United States has fought in. The seventh one here is seven foot tall. And it just kind of talks about the land,” said Davis.
Complete with the letter “V” in red.
“The “V” represents victory that started in actually World War Two by Britain. You know, it was you know, that was their piece, the Victory Peace sign,” said Davis.