At the intersection of Main and 2nd Ave in Hospers, Iowa is a veteran’s memorial with no names on it. Yes, that’s correct. No names. In fact, it’s no small thing either. At 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide, the memorial has been a big piece of the community for over 100 years. Yet it has no names.
Who created the Hospers World War I Memorial?
Fred Reinders immigrated to the US in 1893 and after some time in South Dakota, he landed in Hospers. He worked at numerous things including a mortician as well as an artist/painter.
It’s believed that the memorial was started during the First World War. It’s constructed out of steel, chicken wire, and painted cement. The plan was to add the names of the fallen. So did they forget to add the names? Nope. It turns out that only two local soldiers died from the flu, not in action. For some reason, it was decided that no names would be added to the memorial.
The Hospers Memorial Today
It just recently hit its 100 year anniversary on Sept 21, 2021, and still remains as the defacto roundabout of Hospers, Iowa. In fact, over the years a few locals have complained about the memorial. They would like it moved. It’s in the way. And yes, it is in the way. Its location at Main and 2nd Ave definitely gets your attention. Despite the random calls for its move, it was never moved and the memorial remains in the exact same spot today.
Not only does it remain in the same spot, it pretty much looks just like it did originally. Every few years, it is painted to maintain its look. A number of years back, it was the victim of vandalism. As the police drove by, they noticed that the head was missing from the statue. They had a suspicion of who took the head and I’ve heard that the police checked every car in Hospers. Keep in mind, Hospers is about 700 people, so I guess it’s actually possible that they did check every car.
While I can’t recommend that you make a separate road trip just to see this – I would certainly swing by if you’re in the area.