What's new
US Message Board 🦅 Political Discussion Forum

Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Streator to dedicate statue to canteen volunteers


Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2004
Reaction score
A nice story and tribute...

By Greg Stanmar
[email protected]


STREATOR -- A monument honoring the hundreds of volunteers who met 1.5 million World War II soldiers and sailors on troop trains at the Santa Fe station will be dedicated at 11 a.m. today, capping a 15-year drive.

The idea of a memorial was born when Bob and Helen Knoedler moved onto Illinois Street, across from the station, shortly after the war’s end. They heard tales from their new neighbors about the huge wartime effort to give the troops coffee and sandwiches as their trains passed through.

Often, it was the first snack and friendly face the troops had seen since their train ride began.

“Bob and I thought there should be some kind of monument to that huge effort,” Betty Knoedler-Sand said. Eventually, they brought the idea before the Streator Woman’s Club, and the drive began.

When Bob Fiedler died in 1997, “things came to a standstill,” said his widow, who has since remarried. Donations of the $25 inscribed bricks were still coming in, but the idea of a bronze statue of a volunteer pouring coffee for a serviceman seemed fiscally impossible.

The hoped-for large contributions from corporations never materialized.

“Then Bob Dieken took things over and it got done,” said Fiedler-Sand. “He was a godsend.”

Dieken, a local businessman active in local charities, wanted the monument completed “to honor the serviceman.” He picked up the full tab for casting the statue.

It was not his first involvement in local history. The Streatorland Historical Society on South Bloomington Street is located in the Dieken family home, which turned it over to that group. He also donated $60,000 to St. Mary’s Hospital in memory of the terrorist attack in New York.

He refuses to say how much he paid the Oregon, Ill., foundry to do the work on the statue. A citizens’ committee 12 years ago estimated it would take $48,000 to complete the pedestal and statue.

The canteen opened less than two years after America’s involvement in the war began, often serving thousands in a day and drawing volunteers from throughout Central Illinois. It closed in the summer of 1946.

Almost a thousand bricks were donated for the walls and pedestal. The goal was exceeded by 80 bricks; designers are working to incorporate the excess material.

“The Streator Canteen is an excellent example of what was done on the homefront during World War II to support our troops,” said Ed Brozak, head of the tourism committee that plans to highlight the memorial in civic promotions.

The memorial will help future generations remember “the dedication of volunteers,” he said.


What: Streator WWII Canteen dedication and Veterans Day observance

When: 11 a.m. today

Where: Santa Fe Burlington Northern depot, North Illinois Street.

Observances elsewhere

- Bloomington: American Legion Post 56 ceremony, 11 minutes before 11 a.m., east side of McLean County Museum of History. Speaker: Judge Robert L. Freitag. Also, free admission to Miller Park Zoo for all veterans, active duty military personnel and their immediate families; military identification card needed.

- Lincoln: Service, 10:30 a.m., north side of Logan County Courthouse. Speaker: Ed Wright, vice commander of membership, Amvets.

- Pontiac: Parade, 10:30 a.m., downtown Pontiac; followed by ceremony at Livingston County Courthouse. Also, open house, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Livingston County War Museum and Dal Estes Education Center, 321 N. Main St.

💲 Amazon Deals 💲

New Topics

Forum List