Scranton in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Colonel Frank J. Duffy Memorial Park
Dedicated May 30th 1940
Rabiega-Gorgol Post No. 3451
Veterans of Foreign Wars
Anthracite Post No. 4
National Association of Regulars
as a memorial to those
who have entered into
a more beautiful life
Erected 2018 by Rabiega-Gorgol Post No. 3451.
Topics and series. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: Fraternal or Sororal Organizations • Parks & Recreational Areas • Patriots & Patriotism • War, World I. In addition, it is included in the Spirit of the American Doughboy - E. M. Viquesney series list.
Location. 41° 23.959′ N, 75° 39.158′ W. Marker is in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in Lackawanna County. Memorial is on Harrison Avenue north of Moosic Street (Pennsylvania Route 307), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Scranton PA 18505, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lieutenant Colonel Frank J. Duffy Park (within shouting distance of this marker); The Harrison Avenue Bridge Site of First Catholic Church in Scranton (approx. 0.3 miles away); War Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); 9/11 Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Pavilion at Nay Aug Park (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named War Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Jacob and the Angel (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Scranton.
Regarding Colonel Frank J. Duffy Memorial Park. The VFW raised funds to have a new Doughboy statue cast to replace the heavily deteriorated/vandalized statue that originally stood on the other side of the street until Duffy Park was razed for the new approach to the new Harrison Avenue (Duffy) Bridge. Lt Col Frank J. Duffy was the highest ranking Scrantonian killed in World War I. The statue and park originally honored all local men who died in the Great War; the replica statue was dedicated on the centennial of the Armistice that ended fighting in that war.
Also see . . .
1. ‘Doughboy’ Back in Place near Harrison Avenue Bridge in Scranton(Submitted on November 15, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Rededication of the Doughboy Statue (November 11, 2018) by Thomas Kerrigan (YouTube). (Submitted on November 15, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
1. Lt. Col. Frank J. Duffy
2020 article by Janice M. Gavern first published in Lackawanna Historical Society’s History Bytes End of Year 2020 issue. It is reprinted here with permission.
The Pittston Gazette, 9 September 1918, said it best. “Scranton has been stirred to its depths.” Lt Col Frank J. Duffy had been killed on duty on the front lines in France, and folks all over the area were mourning him. His relatives received word the previous day.
The well liked and popular man had been killed, with his driver, Pvt. Frank G. Fiore, on the front lines near Courville, Departement de la Marne, Champagne-Ardenne, France. Pvt. Fiore was also from Scranton and was a graduate of Scranton Technical High School. The two men had just left the headquarters building intending to inspect the front lines. As they got on the motorcycle and in the sidecar, a German shell landed next to them and exploded.
Capt. Dolph and Lt. Hartman ran out of the building. They picked up Lt. Col. Duffy and
Pvt. Fiore, 23, was killed instantly from the percussion and the shrapnel. His family, who lived on North Main Avenue, were not notified of his death until 22 September 1918.
Who was this man who was well known, and considered one of the most popular men in the city of Scranton? This was a man whose death was mourned by hundreds in the region, including employees, colleagues, and friends. He seemed larger than life, so the news of his death came as a great shock.
He was born in Scranton August 27, 1884. By 1904 he was employed by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad and was stationed in Buffalo. He became chief of the Electrical Department in 1908, and was considered an expert in his field. He kept busy as a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, The Scranton Engineers Club, the Scranton Club, and the Buffalo Canoe Club.
In January, 1914, he became engaged to Miss Bertha Hessenbruch who was “well known in Philadelphia social circles”. By February 1914 he was married, and Mrs. M.E. McDonald of Myrtle Street held a reception for the new Mrs. Duffy.
When the war started, he got involved in recruiting men for the 2nd Battalion of the 103rd Engineers – part of the 28th Infantry. After filling all the slots for the Battalion,
In honor of his August 27th birthday, a cartoon was published in the local paper. Major Duffy is shown pointing and telling his men, “Boys, build a bridge across the Atlantic”. He was recognized as a natural born leader, and, it was said, he understands them.
In the fall of 1917, Major Duffy and the other troops went to Camp Hancock, Georgia, where the 28th Division was mobilized. That spring, he was promoted to Lt. Colonel and became second in command of the regiment.
When he was killed on August 19, 1918, he had only held the position for a few months. Lt. Hartman reported that Lt. Col. Duffy was called “the Fighting Colonel” since he chose so often to be out in front of his soldiers. He was utterly fearless when leading his men into action. It was reported that his superiors considered him worth 500 soldiers.
He was buried in Olse-Ansi American Cemetery and Memorial near Fere-en-Tardenois, Departement de l”Aisne, Picardie, France. The cemetery is click here.
He wasn’t only well thought of by his soldiers. Back home, the employees of the Electrical Department of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad were given time off as mark of tribute to their supervisor.
The Fighting Colonel continued to be remembered. The following year, a welcome-home-to-our-soldiers parade took place. Lt. Col. Duffy was remembered with a rider-less horse who was led on the parade route. His name was listed on the World War I Memorial in Nay Aug Park with other Scranton men and women who gave their lives during the war.
The day after the dedication of the memorial, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western electrical workers, who were members of the Army and Navy Club, placed a wreath near the memorial in his memory.
Later on, the “doughboy” statue was erected in his honor at Duffy Park (named for Lt. Col. Duffy) next to the old Harrison Ave. Bridge. When the bridge was replaced with a new structure and opened in November 2017, the statue was removed and stored at the roundhouse at the Steamtown National Historic Site for protection from weather due to its condition. On November 11, 2018, a bronze replica of the statue was dedicated at the refurbished Duffy Park near the new Harrison Ave. Bridge.
Lt. Col. Frank J. Duffy was truly a renaissance man. The Fighting Colonel was a leader of men and a patriot. On Veterans Day in particular, we honor his memory.
For information and photographs of Lt. Col. Duffy, please visit this page at Find-A-Grave.
Janice Gavern is originally from South Scranton and is a graduate of South Scranton Central Catholic High School. Ms. Gavern earned a BS in Psychology with emphasis on Engineering from Wright State University, Dayton, OH, and an MS in Military Logistics Management, Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright Patterson AFB, OH.
Enlisted service includes Personnel Clerk; Aircraft Mechanic (C130s); and Reciprocating Engine Mechanic (C123s). Commissioned service Includes Aircraft Maintenance Officer; Explosives Safety Officer for an F-4 unit; and Logistics Officer. Air Force Civil Service includes Engineering Psychologist; Manpower, Personnel and Training Analyst; and Logistics Analyst.
Ms. Gavern currently serves as a Vice Chairwoman, Women Veterans Committee at the state level of the American Legion; 15th District Deputy Commander, Women Veterans Issues; and Historian at Gardner Warner American Legion Post 154.
— Submitted November 27, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 15, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 222 times since then and 65 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 15, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. 5. submitted on November 27, 2020, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.