Memorial Arch

The origins of the memorial arch date back to November 11, 1918 when the armistice was signed to honor those who fought in WWI. The arch was to be a monument to honor the valor of those who fought, gave their lives, or were fortunate enough to come home. The arch was to serve as a reminder to coming generations of youth of the part these men played in what was the greatest drama in our nation's history.

The arch was first constructed across Main Street. The architect was Earl R. Perrin, an accomplished artist who had a vision with remnants of medieval, ancient, and modern times. On each of the pillars was a painted picture of a soldier of the Civil War and WWI. Its purpose was to honor the twelve men that lost their lives and J.W. Parmley, a noteworthy resident and the pioneer of the Yellowstone Trail.

The arch was later moved across US Highway 12 in 1922 due to the hustle and bustle of an ever-widening Main Street and traffic. Soon after the move to Highway 12 the arch was obliterated by a severe storm. The citizens of Ipswich were dedicated to erecting a new arch; the American Legion and Lions club were the appointed organizations to take charge of constructing a reinforced stone arch. C.J. Madison of Corpus Christi, Texas was known as an artistic stone mason and he was hired to construct the arch. The arch was to have stones collected from near and far; thus the stones used to reconstruct the arch were collected from all over the world and from each state in the US. The arch includes calcite crystals originating from the Badlands that were part of the collection of J.W. Parmley, a massive petrified bone that is thought to have been from either a mammoth or Triceratops, a stone from the Pyramid of the Sun found in a valley in Mexico as well as a meteorite from Biela's comet. There are also stones from the Philippine Islands, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands that were gathered by Loren Parmley during WWI. Additionally, stones such as quartz from the Homestake Mine and from the Mines of Idaho along the Yellowstone Trail were also used.

Official Website of Ipswich, South Dakota