Spanish American War Memorial
From Racine Walking Tour Guide published 1994.


On the evening of February 15, 1898, the battleship "Maine," which was on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, was sunk by a terrible explosion. The entire crew of 266 men and officers was killed. Although there were several causes for war with Spain, the destruction of our battleship hastened the conflict. After war was declared by President McKinley, people all over the land began wearing buttons and pins with the motto, "Remember the Maine."

Company F, Racine’s military company, was ready for service should they be needed. On April 18, 1898, they gave a big ball at Lakeside Auditorium. Many people attended. The young women of Racine presented them with a beautiful silk flag. On April 28, 1898, Company F marched to the Northwestern Depot on State Street and entrained for Camp Harvey in Milwaukee. The patriotic spirit of Racine was demonstrated by the appearance of 15,000 people who lined the streets to say farewell.

In honor of the nineteen men killed and those who survived, Racine erected the first Spanish-American War memorial in the United States. Mayor Alexander Horlick, who financed the monument, authorized the William A. Bancroft Camp No. 16 to select its design. The design chosen consists of a soldier, dressed in a loosely fitting uniform and campaign hat, who stands atop a twelve-ton Barre, Vermont granite base which was left rough on three sides. The monument was dedicated on Memorial Day 1909 by United States Spanish-American War Veterans.

If you engage the eyes of the stone soldier from any of the four cemetery roads, he commands, it is said that he will watch you as long as you gaze into his granite eyes.

Submitted by Deborah Crowell