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Pieces of the Past: The Rest Temple

March 15, 2023

I bet you’ve been there. I have and never gave it a thought. I remember thinking how serene it was. Its original purpose was to provide a place for someone to relax.

Perhaps to grieve or simply absorb some good vibes. The story behind the Gazebo in Warren is truly one of hometown courage and the triumph of community.

Before America went to Europe to fight in World War 1 we were fighting a foe closer to home. Mexican history is full of revolutions. One such revolutionary was a guy named Poncho Villa. Villa had been terrorizing small towns all around the U.S. border. One fateful day he crossed the line and attacked a Texas village killing 13 people. That sent John Pershing and American forces including a young George S. Patton into Mexico to pursue Villa and bring him to justice.

Warren’s Company I based at the Hickory Street Armory was sent to Texas in reserve. They got to the border and no farther. Local families wanted to support their troops and sent food, and cash to the troops. As it turned out, the Warren soldiers never fired a shot in anger. However, within a matter of months, they would see much deadlier action in Europe.

Once Company I made it back to Warren, the men voted to use the money sent to them to build a place to honor the 13 men who died in Europe. The money saved wasn’t enough to build the Rest Temple. They went to Mrs. Walker, the widow of the newspaper’s publisher, and asked for help to raise the remainder.

In 1922 the Rest Temple, featuring 13 columns, each dedicated to a member of the company who did not make it back, was completed. Plaques bearing the names of each man were installed. Thieves stole the plaques. New ones were made by students and kept instead at the Warren Historical Society,

These are the men who made the ultimate sacrifice and for whom our gazebo is dedicated: HOMER ECCLES, ELZIE LYNCH, FRANKLIN MATTISON, OLIVER SUMMERTON, ERNEST ANDERSON, AXEL ANDERSON, PERCY LAWSON, FRED MAHAFFEY, ARCHIE ROWLEY, FRED SCHWING, STARLING ROWLAND, RAYMOND VESLING, and REX WALKER.

Now that you know the story and to whom the gazebo is dedicated, you could sit. Enjoy your “REST” and say thanks!

I thank Roger Thelin whose research and book VIGNETTES of YESTERYEAR made this Piece of the Past possible

   

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