American Legion Peace Gardens

There are two sections to the American Legion Peace Garden. One celebrates the international contributions with intermingled soil; it is designated the American Legion Peace Garden (Nations). The other celebrates distinctive "American" contributions. It is designated as the American Legion Peace Garden (States).

From Clara Lederer's The Paths Are Peace - "The chief feature of the Garden of the Nations is a semi-circular, high-backed seat of classical design, surmounted by the head of a beautiful woman, symbolizing peace, and done in Tennessee marble by Henry Herring... Also upon that occasion, the soil from twenty-eight nations was deposited by ambassadors and consular representatives of those nations in a marble crypt at the base of the monument, and the bronze tablet now covering it is inscribed: 'Here in soil from historic shrines of the Nations of the World, are planted trees to create the American Legion Peace Gardens. May the intermingled soil of the nations symbolize the united effort of their peoples as they advance to a better understanding. These gardens planned by men who know the horrors of war, are dedicated to the brotherhood of man and peace throughout the world. Established by The American Legion 1936 Convention Corporation of Cleveland and dedicated by Ray Murphy, National Commander, The American Legion.' The author of the tablet was Legionnaire Glen Campbell and the sculptor was Frank L. Jirouch."

From Clara Lederer's The Paths Are Peace - "The section devoted to the United States and known as The American Legion Peace Garden of the States lies north of the Garden of Nations on the east side of the upper drive. It is marked by a stone pedestal upon which is affixed a bronze tablet similar in design and inscription to the one dedicated to the nations. It bears the following inscription:"...'Here in soil from historic shrines of the States of the Union, are planted trees to create The American Legion Peace Gardens. May the intermingled soil of the States symbolize the national unity which constitutes the strength of our great Republic. These gardens, planned by men who know the horrors of war, are dedicated to the brotherhood of man and peace throughout the world. Established by The American Legion 1936 Convention Corporation of Cleveland and dedicated by Ray Murphy, National Commander, The American Legion.' In this section there is also a bust of George Washington, presented by the American Legion and unveiled on July 4, 1943. Brigadier General Robert L. Denig, U. S. M.C., delivered the principal address."

Clara Lederer in The Paths Are Peace wrote of the dedication of the Gardens - "Many of the members of the American Legion who had taken part in the founding and dedication of the Peace Gardens in 1936, took an active part in planning and conducting the 7th World Poultry Congress which took place in Cleveland in July of 1939. At this time occurred the mass dedication of the entire Cultural Gardens chain, when Paul V. McNutt, past national commander of the American Legion gave the principal address."

Audio

"Take a Look and See..." Harry Davis explains how a positive attitude and an open mind will lead to the success of the Cultural Gardens. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
"Every Day the Police Would Stop Me" Harry Davis describes jogging in the Cultural Gardens while training for the Cleveland Browns in the early 1950s. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection
"Sweat Equity" Harry Davis explains how people can support the Cultural Gardens without having to spend a dime. Source: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Images

Washington, States Garden This grey granite bust of President George Washington was added to the American Legion States garden on July 4, 1943. Brigadier General Robert L. Denig of the United States Marine Corps gave the principal address at the unveiling ceremony. Image courtesy of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
"Peace," 1936 The "Peace" bust had this stand when the American Legion Peace Garden first opened in 1936. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
"Crypt of Nations" Dedication, 1939 A new base for the "Peace" statue was unveiled in the American Legion Peace Garden in July, 1939. Also on this day, the "Crypt of Nations" - where soil taken from the nations represented in the Cultural Gardens is intermingled in the name of peace and brotherhood - was dedicated at the statue's base. The funnel where dignitaries deposited their soil can be seen in the foreground. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Missing "Peace," 2005 This photograph from 2005 shows the original stone tablet where the "Peace" bust was first installed in 1936. The bust moved to a new, higher pillar in 1939 with the dedication of the "Crypt of Nations." Image courtesy of the Center for Public History + Digital Humanities
Restored "Peace," 2010 October 8, 2010 marked the re-installation of the restored Peace bust in the American Legion Peace Garden. Careful restoration revealed a beautiful pink/orange Tennessee granite with black veins running through it. This differs from the white granite mentioned in historical sources. F. Buddie Contracting of Cleveland did the restoration work. This involved not only cleaning the granite but also making a new nose, and patching the crown/laurel wreath as well as the shallow holes on the face and neck. Image courtesy of Bill Jones
Adding Soil to the Crypt, 1939 Former National Commander of the American Legion Paul V. McNutt pours dirt from Lincoln's tomb and the Washington Monument into the "Crypt of Nations" at its dedication in 1939. Representatives from 28 countries added soil from their native lands to the crypt in the American Legion Peace Garden on this occasion. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections

Location

East Blvd, north of Superior Ave and just off E 99th St near Irish Garden.

Metadata

“American Legion Peace Gardens,” Cleveland Historical, accessed October 5, 2022, https://clevelandhistorical.org/index.php/items/show/126.