307th Infantry Memorial Grove
Located just east of the Mall of New York's Central Park, the 307th Infantry Memorial Grove memorializes men who served in the First World War. The memorial includes several trees with plaques that honor the individual companies within the regiment and a boulder that memorializes the regiment as a whole. The grove took the majority of the 1920s to assemble in a series of ceremonies, in which the trees and boulder were individually added to the collective memorial.
Backstory and Context
The 307th Infantry is a United States Army regiment that was organized in August of 1917 in Camp Upton, New York. The 307th, together with the 308th Infantry Regiment, constituted the 77th Infantry Division. During World War I, the regiment fought along the Western Front in France, participating in the Oise-Aisne and Meuse-Argonne campaigns. By the end of the war, the 307th Infantry Regiment had seen 590 of its men killed in action.
Throughout the first years of the 1920s, 18 oak trees were planted in Central Park by veterans of the 307th Infantry, 14 of which were to memorialize the 16 companies within their regiment. One tree memorialized the HQ, Supply, and Sanitary Companies, while the remaining 13 trees were planted in honor of the Machine Gun Company and Companies A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, and M. The trees were originally each surrounded by a small iron fence that held a brass plaque shaped like a shield. Each plaque lists the names of the companies and the men in that company who were killed. The iron fences have since been removed and the plaques moved to concrete pedestals installed at the bases of the company trees. Today, only 3 company trees remain as well as 1 tree without a memorial plaque.
In the late 1920s, several years after the trees were planted, a boulder was placed near the center of the southwestern edge of the grove along a walking path. The side of the boulder facing the path bears a now fading engraving dedicating the grove to the 307th Infantry's fallen. On the opposite side, a plaque with an honor roll of all the companies and their dead is fixed to the rock.
Just south of the memorial on the same field, a white stone slab was installed by the Knights of Pythias with an engraving to commemorate fellow members who died in World War I. While one of the names on this stone is listed as having served in the 307th Infantry Regiment, this stone is unaffiliated with the memorial occupying the rest of the grove.
Bowery, Charles R. 307th Infantry, US Army Center of Military History. May 1st 2019. Accessed November 4th 2019. https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/lineages/branches/regt/0307rgt.htm.
77th Infantry Division, US Army Center of Military History. May 20th 2011. Accessed November 4th 2019. https://history.army.mil/html/forcestruc/cbtchron/cc/077id.htm.
307th Infantry Memorial Grove, Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Accessed November 4th 2019. https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/central-park/monuments/1014.
307th Infantry Regiment Memorial Grove, 77th Infantry Division Reserve Officers Association Inc.. February 15th 2015. Accessed November 4th 2019. https://www.77thinfdivroa.org/memorials/CentralParkMemorial2.html.
Zull, Ryan, November 1st, 2019