CAMBRIA — Some of Cambria’s most treasured memories have been hidden for decades in the basement of the Jane Morgan Memorial Library.
They’re the names of Cambria citizens who fought in a war almost a century ago — immortalized in black letters on a piece of white-painted wood, about 8 feet high.
The question before the Cambria Village Board Monday was twofold: Who owns the World War I monument, and what should be done with it?
The trustees decided to wait until their June 25 meeting to decide what happens to the monument which, according to local World War II veteran Tom Williams, has been stored in the library basement for 40 to 50 years.
Village Clerk Lois Frank said Lorraine Hahn, who lives near Cambria, had contacted her about the wooden monument, and brought in a picture of it.
Hahn was not at Monday’s Village Board meeting. But Frank said Hahn’s wish, as she understands it, is to have the monument displayed at the Cambria-Friesland Historical Society.
The ownership of the monument is an open question, Frank said. It could belong to the historical society, or to the local post of the American Legion.
Williams, a Legionnaire, said he thinks it belongs to the village.
“It was built,” he said, “before the American Legion was.”
After the first World War ended with the armistice signed on Nov. 11, 1918, the monument was displayed outdoors on the corner of what is now Edgewater Street (Cambria’s main street) and Highway 146. “That was back when they were dirt roads,” Frank said.
Williams said he did not know how many names were on the World War I monument, but a drawing of it showed multiple columns of names.
After the end of World War II, Williams said, the World War I monument was taken down, and a similar monument listing the names of Cambria residents who served in that war replaced it. No one knows where the old World War II monument is or even if it still exists, he said.
The condition of the World War I monument is quite good, he said, and it’s intact. It’s lying flat on the library basement floor, he said, with no container or wrapping.
Trustees said they agreed that the names of Cambria people who have served in the two World Wars, and in subsequent wars, should be recognized on some sort of public honor roll. The challenge would be to collect all those names.
“I think we all agree that we should honor everyone,” said Village President Glen Williams.
Trustee Cody Doucette said he would like to see the World War I monument on display again.
“This is a historical artifact,” Doucette said. “This is neat.”
Tom Williams said his preference would be to display an enlarged photograph of the World War I monument alongside an enlargement of a picture of its World War II counterpart, then create a third photograph to display alongside them, listing the names of Cambrians who fought in the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the first Persian Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pictures would be displayed indoors, or in some kind of display venue where they would be protected from the weather.
Trustees initiate process to raze old lumber yard
For months, the Cambria Village Board has declared that an old lumber yard on Commerce Street must come down.
At Monday’s meeting, the trustees voted to get bids to tear the structure down, and order the work done if the owner, Joseph Lucafo, does not keep his promise to either get the buildings up to code or tear them down.
In December, the village issued a “raze or repair” order for the long-abandoned lumber yard, at 314 Commerce St. The business
hasn’t been open for about 18 years, and the building is considered an eyesore and a nuisance.
In March, the trustees voted unanimously to issue an order to tear down the building.
Since then, Lucafo has done some work on the roof. In fact, someone was seen working on the roof Monday night after the Village Board meeting adjourned.
Village President Glen Williams said Lucafo was to have finished the roof by the end of May, and he had until July 9 to bring the yard’s outbuildings up to code.
However, Trustee Cody Doucette said the trusses for the roof do not look new to him.
“I was honestly, really hoping he’d get this done,” said Doucette, “but it looks like he’s not going to do it.”
Trustees decided to get bids for the demolition by their June 25 meeting, and order the demolition if the promised refurbishing is not completed.