‘Doughboy’ Back in Place near Harrison Avenue Bridge in Scranton

SCRANTON, Pa. -- A statue honoring World War I veterans is back home in Scranton with a new look and a new location.

The "Doughboy" was put into place Wednesday, ahead of a dedication ceremony scheduled for Veterans Day.

The statue was displaced two years ago when PennDOT started construction of the new Harrison Avenue Bridge. When crews were moving it, they discovered that the statue hadn't aged well, so a project started to make a new doughboy, and give it a new park.

Scranton police stopped traffic on the Harrison Avenue Bridge for the homecoming. The Doughboy, a symbol of the World War I soldier, is back at its home in Duffy Park alongside the bridge.

This is a moment Frank Warenda has been waiting a long time for. His VFW post in south Scranton put the doughboy here in the first place.

"They bought this statue, the original one, in 1940 for $1,200. It cost $40-some thousand dollars to fix one, and another $40-some thousand dollars for him," Warenda said.

PennDOT paid up as part of a deal to restore the Doughboy statue to its original glory.

"Two years ago, I couldn't give that statue to Uncle Louie's landfill. Nobody wanted it. Now, all of a sudden, he's famous and we're here. Thank God. I think he was throwing his brass around in heaven," Warenda said.

The Doughboy and Duffy Park were displaced during the construction of the new Harrison Avenue Bridge. The park moved to the opposite side of the bridge and the Doughboy was recast in bronze.

"We have Greek statues cast in bronze that are thousands of years old. There's no reason to think that, unless something dire happens to it, it's here forever," said Constance Bassett of Moreland Studios.

A husband and wife team from New Jersey made the new statue and are restoring the old one. They're rock stars in the statue world, having worked on the restoration of the Statue of Liberty.

They say the Doughboy statues are just as rich in history.

"It's kind of amazing. There's a lot of these all over, and there's a couple of people who have traveled all over the United States documenting each one," said David Cann.

After this project is complete, Scranton will be home to two Doughboy statues. The original zinc statue will soon be placed inside at the Steamtown National Historic Site. This new one will be dedicated on Sunday for Veterans Day.

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