Early in 1946 after the agonizing progress of a long and costly World War II had been halted, citizens of Berkeley County began talking of an appropriate war memorial which would serve daily as a living and lasting memory to those who had donned their country’s service uniforms in time of peril, who had died in their efforts to guarantee the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to their fellow citizens. And as the months rolled by interest in such a civic project continued to mount.
Then on August 17, 1946, Paul B. Martin, who had taken over as Mayor of Martinsburg only a month previously, asked, and was granted permission to name a special committee to take the initiative in laying the ground work for a suitable war memorial. The memorial was, however, to be one honoring those who had paid the supreme sacrifice in both World Wars. Making up this committee were: Garland L. Dunn, prominent Martinsburg industrialist and civic leader as chairman; Russell J. Scrivener, a member of the City Council; Douglas Shipley, representing the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post; Lovell Alderton, of the Central Labor Council; Mrs. Harry L. Reaves, of the Martinsburg Woman’s Club; the Reverend Frederick F. Bush, Jr., of the Martinsburg and Berkeley County Ministerial Association; Charles V. Sullivan, of the American Legion Post; and Martin as an ex-officio member.
Public Meeting Called – After a series of meetings, this steering group decided in early September it was time to gain a definite decision from the people of Berkeley County as to what type of war memorial they felt would best serve to pay the debt of gratitude owed to those who gave their all. A public meeting was held at the Shenandoah Hotel which brought together more than fifty rural and urban civic, community, and business leaders representing some twenty-five different organizations and clubs. It was at this meeting, after a very lengthy discussion on various suggestions for a war memorial, that Berkeley County War Memorial Park
was born. After the decision had been made that the memorial would be a community and county-wide sponsored park, Chairman Dunn added Mrs. Hugh Dean, William Lee Chambers and M. L. Depenbrock to the steering committee, Mrs. Dean to serve as secretary. By October 30, this steering committee had raised enough money, through a limited financial drive, to purchase the land for the park. It was decided that the best site for a memorial park would be the tract of land formerly known as the Rosemont Park, located on the northwestern edge of the City.