The Victorious Doughboy even became  a part of campus folkore. In the 1950s and 60s, campus folklore claimed that if an unkissed coed ever walked through the university gates at 15th and High, the doughboy would tip his hat to them.

In 1970, the museum moved out on E. 17th to a new modern building near the state fairgrounds and the interstate. The Victorious Doughboy which had fallen out of favor on a campus wracked by anti-war protests, went with the museum. For the past 40 years, it has stood watch  at the new museum’s main entrance.

Right: The Victorious Doughboy at its present location at The Ohio Historical Society Museum on E. 17th.

Above: Detail of The Victorious Doughboy, modeled after an actual Ohio State student veteran of the war. Doughboy carries his M1903 Springfield rifle over his right shoulder and a captured German helmet in his left hand.

The old museum became Sullivant Hall, home to the Undergraduate Student Library, the Fine Arts Library, the Music Library, a small gallery, and the Department of Dance. The old interior flow of the building  was broken up by new walls making new spaces. The War Memorial vanished from view, separated from the rest of the building, behind an unused, locked entrance, tucked away in the Department of Dance. Generations of students, faculty, and staff passed through the university without knowing it existed, much less ever seeing it.

Art glass ceiling of the Ohio World War I Memorial.

In 2010, it was determined that the 97 year old building was due for a top-to-bottom renovation. The redesign will replace walls of stone with walls of glass and flights of stairs with ground floor entrances. The plan is to open up the building and link it to the Wexner Center for the Arts opposite it. The idea is  to create a sort of arts plaza on 15th.

A new, usable entranceway and more space for the Department of Dance are key to this and the War Memorial is in the way. The dark, somber, 84 year old memorial isn’t in keeping with the new, bright, open, electric, artsy theme and so it must go.

Buildings and the demands people make of them change. That makes sense. One couldn’t expect the war memorial to stay in Sullivant forever. The university has finite space and must make the best use of it. That’s understandable but...

The War Memorial shouldn’t be thrown away. It shouldn’t be dismantled and sold. It shouldn’t be locked away in some warehouse to be forgotten. The University, the Historical Society, and the State of Ohio need to find the memorial a new home. The memorial needs to go to a place where the public can see it. It needs to continue to do the job it was built for: to commemorate the sacrifice and heroism of a generation that fought to make the world safe for all of us who’ve come after.

UPDATE: Renovation of Sullivant Hall got underway in earnest in early 2012. According to a Columbus Dispatch article, the bronze panels (But what about the art glass? stonework? marble?) have been removed and are in storage. Talks are underway for the Ohio Historical Society to take them, possibly to figure in a display for the centennial of The Great War, but the historical society protests it has no funds to do anything with the memorial.

UPDATE (2016): Latest word is the panels may be installed as a part of the new Veteran's Memorial and Museum rising downtown on W. Broad St.