Special to the Tribune-Star
TERRE HAUTE —
From time to time, the Vigo County Historical Museum has received calls asking if we have information about an artifact which hung on a wall, opposite the office, on the first floor of Wiley High School from the early 1940s until, as far as we know, the demolition of the school in 1970. Those of us who walked those hallowed halls, passed it every day, probably without notice or a thought of its significance.
This mystery piece, which many asked about, is the “Roll of Honor, Wiley High School, For Those in the Service of Our Country” — a listing of Wiley students who served during World War II.
Ralph Llewellyn, who recently donated the memorial plaque to the Historical Society, filled in part of the solution to the mystery. After the demolition of Wiley, it was found in what is believed to be Maple Avenue School by Carl Froderman and Llewellyn. To save the plaque, it wqas moved to a barn on the Llewellyn property where it remained for more than 30 years.
A large piece, 9-feet-by-5.5-feet, the Roll of Honor is made up of three large sections. The center section is the tallest, formerly topped with a brass eagle. All the letters were brass, and rows of brackets are filled with names of Wiley students who served during World War II. While in fairly good condition, the glass covering is missing as is the brass eagle and some letters. A few names have been removed, but hundreds are still intact.
The Wiley Honor Roll is not currently on display at the Vigo County Historical Museum, but is a part of Terre Haute’s history which deserves to be shown to the public. The Historical Society would welcome memories from anyone with recollections of the plaque and contributions to restore it to its former condition.