Help the Weber County Heritage Foundation complete the restoration of this significant memorial statue!
History/Scope Located in the Veterans Section of the Ogden City Cemetery on a rotary intersection adjacent to Gold Star Drive on a concrete dais is a sculpture of a WWI doughboy that was sculpted by Gilbert P. Risvold.
Risvold was an accomplished sculptor and is known for his work of Stephen A. Douglass in Springfield, Illinois. His sculpture of WWI servicemen at the Oak Park and Forest Memorial in Chicago, pictured to the right, includes a doughboy statue that is similar to the statue here in Ogden.
Risvold was born on January 23, 1881 in South Dakota. He studied at South Dakota State University and later at the Chicago Art Institute. He lived in Chicago for most of his life, but moved to California in his later years. He died in Hollywood, California, on March 15, 1938.
Risvold also sculpted the Mormon Battalion piece in Salt Lake City, a pink granite sculpture with a bronze figure in front. This was dedicated in 1927, about the time our Ogden sculpture was purchased and set on the balcony of the American Legion Post on 24th Street.
Ogden’s sculpture was moved to its current location after WWII. In the 1970s, a group of well-meaning locals painted the statue one evening and a chemical reaction occurred that turned the statue pink, ruining the original bronze patina. In an effort to restore its more original look, the statue has been painted many times in gold paint.
The statue has also become a local legend among the youth of our community. Legend has it that if you drive around the statue at midnight, the statue will turn its gaze and follow you.
This may explain some of the damage that has occurred to the statue since its tenure in the Ogden Cemetery. It has been shot in the back several times with a shotgun as well as a small bore rifle. The helmet that he once held in his hand was stolen and an ordinary hard hat painted and placed on his head. Parts of the bronze replica of the Springfield rifle were also stolen and damaged. The barrel of the gun near the front sight was bent, apparently by someone intent on stealing the gun.
The statue had been placed in the center of a roundabout with a wrought iron fencing encircling it. The grassy area of the circle has graves of veterans radiating out from the central statue. The circle has a concrete curb with aforementioned fencing. The statue is placed on a square concrete dais with four bronze emblems, one on each side. At the foot of the statue, around the square dais, is an eight-inch high iron detail.
The concrete dais is deteriorating and will need to be replaced, as were the concrete monoliths that mark the southern entrance of Gold Star Drive; these portrayed a list in bronze of those who paid the ultimate price during that conflict. This was finished with gray granite monoliths with the original bronze plaques restored. In Phase 1 of the Gold Star Project, granite was chosen because of it is more durable than the original concrete.