• Plaques memorialize people all over post

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  • Quentin Schillare | Special to the Fort Leavenworth Lamp
    There is a category of memorial on Fort Leavenworth with many examples in limestone, marble, granite, copper, bronze, aluminum, and steel — the plaque. The dictionary defines a plaque as a flat thin piece of material used for commemoration or information. They include the 88 in Memorial Chapel. Many of the important buildings such as the Lewis and Clark Center have commemorative plaques lining their walls.
    Some plaques scattered around post frequently go unnoticed, or rather are seen so often that they become a part of the landscape and, though noticed, are no longer remarkable. The oldest plaque on post is the marble tablet emplaced high up on the southern face of building 473, now home to the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate. It was completed in the fall of 1863 for the Fort Leavenworth Quartermaster Depot. The plaque honors the commander of the depot, Maj. Langdon C. Easton.
    The second oldest plaque on post, dating from 1864, is embedded in the western face of a limestone block culvert over Corral Creek on Grant Avenue honoring assistant quartermaster Capt. Henry C. Hodge. While the plaque on building 473 is rarely noticed because it is positioned high up on a building, the plaque on the Grant Avenue culvert is never seen because it is below the level of the roadway and is only visible to those who walk down to the creek level and look up above the arch of the culvert. Hundreds of people drive over the culvert every day without knowing the plaque exists.
    One bronze plaque is unusual because it commemorates a legal transaction. In July 1967, the title to the Saint Ignatius Chapel was transferred from the Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas to the Army. Before the transfer the chapel and its priests were the responsibility of the archdiocese and as a cost saving move the chapel was given to the Army who would provide the chaplains and, more importantly from the archdiocese’s point of view, be responsible for maintenance of a brick building completed in 1889.The plaque today is affixed to the chapel memorial at the corner of McClellan and Pope avenues.
    A few of the plaques are cornerstones or their modern equivalent. Reminders in stone or metal of the dedication of a structure laid or unveiled at a formal ceremony. Examples of these include the cornerstone of the Saint Ignatius Chapel. When the chapel burned in December 2001, the cornerstone and surrounding original bricks survived and are now part of the Saint Ignatius Chapel Memorial, dedicated in 2006.
    Another private building on post has an atypical cornerstone. It is unusual because it is not actually a cornerstone but a granite plaque embedded high up in the bricks on the front of the building. The Boughton Memorial Building, dedicated in 1921 and completed a year later, houses three Masonic lodges and a U.S. Post Office. It was constructed as a private structure on government property under public law, which stipulates in part, “That the use of such portion of the ground floor of said building as may be necessary shall be given to Post Office Department of the United States free of charge.” The post office is still in the building and continues the tradition of the first post office in Kansas established on Cantonment Leavenworth on May 28, 1828.
    Page 2 of 2 - An easily recognized plaque is one found at several locations around post. The visitor sees it for the first time coming through Grant Gate. It is the crest of the Command and General Staff College, adopted by the Army General Service Schools in June 1907. The central shield has three lamps of learning, one each for the Regular Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. The eagle is a copy of the granite bas relief eagle over the north side of the sally port of Grant Hall, except the sally port eagle is looking left and the shield eagle is looking right. On a scroll at the base is the college motto “Ad Bellum Pace Parati” — Prepared in Peace for War.
    There are many more memorial plaques on post awaiting discovery and discussion. Check them out.
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