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The University
of Kansas

The Victory Eagle
A World War I Memorial

After World War I there was a national movement to declare U.S. 40 the "Highway of Victory" from coast to coast and to place memorial markers at every county line. Each marker would have an identical bronze sculpture of an eagle, with a bronze plaque on the pedestal listing the county's fallen soldiers. H.G. Van Neste donated a site for the Douglas County marker on his farmland north of Mud Creek Bridge. But over time Highway 40 was no longer a major route; the Douglas County marker was ignored and eventually vandalized and the plaque stolen.

In 1980 state highway police found the eagle toppled in the mud. Tom Swearingen, director of exhibits for Dyche Museum, by chance came upon a patrol truck towing the sculpture away and requested it for the museum. The state claimed it and gave it to KU. The Victory Eagle was rededicated in the spring of 1982 outside the main entrance of Dyche Hall. A 1990 plaque gives its history. Unfortunately the artist who sculpted the Eagle and the foundry where it was cast are not known.

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Victory Eagle
Original Location: U.S. Highway 40 just north of the intersection with Highway 32 near the Leavenworth county line

Current Location: East of the Dyche Museum of Natural History

Original Dedication: May 27, 1929

Casting date: 1920 (the second one cast in the nation)

Casting consultants: Dr. Thomas F. Roberts, University of Minnesota and Dr. Otto Widman, St. Louis, both ornithologists

Sculpture dimensions: Height: four feet; wingspan: seven feet six inches

Remounting: Joe Christy, stonecutter, KU Facilities Operations

Pedestal: Limestone, rubble coursed