The Chaffee County WWII Honor Roll Wall has been restored. The wall honoring those who served in World War II was a project of Salida Elks Lodge No. 808 and was approved by the lodge on June 30, 1942. It was dedicated on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1942.
Harriet Alexander and Anita S. Dean were instrumental in getting the project started. Alexander at that time owned Alexander’s Drug & Jewelry Store with her husband, William Alexander, who was an Elks member.
The honor roll was posted on the south wall of the building at F and East Second streets, which is now F Street Five & Dime. Wayne and Paula Lallier own the building and, after closing Lallier’s Pharmacy on the site, leased it to Larry Kachadourian, and it became F Street Five & Dime.
The honor roll was visible until 1964, when it was covered with stucco because the names had deteriorated due to weather and time.
After hearing many stories about the old World War II Honor Roll from locals who remembered it, Kachadourian decided to restore the wall, which had been covered with stucco in 1964 when the more than 300 names on the wall had become deteriorated and faded due to time and weather.
Restoration began in October when the stucco was chipped off the wall.
Natalie Feinberg Lopez, a historic preservation specialist and owner of Built Environmental Evolution of Boulder, was hired to restore the underlying wall. Thaddeus Hust of Agave Landscapes & Masonry did stabilization work on the mortar and brick, and Hartsel artist Michele Chwan Wayland is restoring the names. They have worked to restore the background of the wall and repaint the names of approximately 700 veterans who served during World War II. The final restoration includes more than 70 names of men who served but whose names never made it onto the original wall.
A fund drive began to pay the approximately $25,000 cost of restoration, and at present that total is at about $27,000. Any contributions exceeding the cost of the wall will be used for maintenance.