Add To Favorites
Jewish War Veterans Post 320 salute Eric Meyerhoff for design, construction of "A World Apart" World War II memorial
Savannah Morning News - 1/14/2019
Jan. 14--On Sunday, veterans in Chatham County turned out to honor one of the men responsible for River Street's World War II monument and the Savannah Riverwalk as it's known today.
Just before 11 a.m., a round of applause rang out for retired architect Eric Meyerhoff during a breakfast hosted by the Jewish War Veterans Post 320.
"I'm so honored that so many people came out especially in this cold weather," Meyerhoff said.
Meyerhoff, 89, was tapped to create a lasting memorial that could honor local World War II veterans. Officials considered various locations in the historic downtown area before settling on the monument's current location on River Street.
The monument, titled "A World Apart," represents the Pacific and European theaters of war, Meyerhoff said.
"When they asked me to help them with (the project), I was delighted to be asked and anxious to be of service," he said. "As I thought about the message and the theme of this project, it came to me that World War I was not a world war--It was only fought in Europe. So with that in mind, I got the idea that this World War II monument should express that particular factor. Thus the idea of 'A World Apart'--separated by the Atlantic area and the Pacific area."
Visitors can walk through the globe structure and read the names of those who served.
But the 20-foot war monument wasn't Meyerhoff's first, or only, contribution to the city. He has been involved in more than 70 projects throughout the Historic District.
Meyerhoff was born in Arolsen, Germany in 1929, he later moved to the United States at the rise of Nazi Germany. He attended the University of Florida where he met classmate and eventual business partner Robert Gunn. The form the architectural firm Gunn & Meyerhoff in the 1950s.
Together, the two convinced then- Savannah Mayor John Rousakis in the 1970s to abandon plans to turn the once-derelict River Street area into a giant parking lot and, instead, build a facility for pedestrians,
In 1977, the 30-acre plaza that now attracts hordes of tourists daily, was completed.
"He's a man that does so much for the Jewish community in Savannah, veterans organizations in general and for the men and women that fought in World War II," said Ret. Lt. Col. A.J. Haysman, the outgoing commander of Post 320.
And while Meyerhoff is extremely proud of his work to the war monument,one of his favorite projects sits a few hundred feet away from the split globe--a bright red, blue and yellow tugboat that is a huge hit with children.
"I think that's my favorite project because it brings a smile to everyone's face when they see it," he said.
The event also featured a Change of Command Ceremony. During the ceremony, Haysman welcomed incoming commander retired Col. Ed Wexler.
(c)2019 Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.)
Visit the Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.) at savannahnow.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.