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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

County to pick up remainder of cost for highway signs honoring local World War II hero

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

By Charlene Sims, Journal staff

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commissioners agreed to nearly $5,400 of the cost of more than $13,600 to put up highway signs for World War II hero, Walter “Scott” Brown, who was killed in the service at Ford Island during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Morgan Brown, a Pleasanton resident and Walter Brown’s nephew, told commissioners how his uncle had taken the place of another sailor who had a date the night before the attack on Pearl Harbor. When the attack happened, his uncle was able to use gunfire from an aircraft that was at the port but that plane was destroyed.

His uncle then got into another plane to fight back but it was shot down. Because of his efforts, Brown said that the Navy then named a destroyer escort ship, the U.S.S. Walter Scott Brown, in honor of his uncle. This ship carried cargo throughout the war.

Lea Ann Davenport, Walter Brown’s niece, also spoke about her uncle and other members of her family in the service. She said that her grandmother was a Gold Star mother because she had four sons serving at the same time during World War II.

Ali Hamilton, Trading Post Historical Society Director, told the commissioners that this project had first started with Kevin Barnes of Yates Center, who posted information on Facebook about Walter Brown. Hamilton saw the post and approached Kansas Senator Caryn Tyson about making a section of US 69 dedicated to him. Senate Bill 309 passed in February 2022.

Hamilton came to the commissioners Jan. 30 to see if they would help with the cost of putting up the highway signs on US 69 from the Kansas Highway 52 exit to Mound City north to the Trading Post exit of K-52 east. The $13,650 figure also covers lifetime maintenance of the signs.

At the January meeting, commissioners told Hamilton they would try to match the amount she could raise on her own. Hamilton raised nearly $8,300 in donations within a month.

Hamilton said that the ribbon cutting, which will not be held on the highway, will be at Cedar Crest Lodge east of Pleasanton and will be a significant event. State officials will be there, and the sign will be on an easel at the ceremony. Wood-fired pizza and drinks will be served.

The exact date of the ceremony will be announced at a later time.

Hamilton is also involved with other projects promoting tourism in Linn County. They include apply for a grant for nearly $10 million visitor center at the Trading Post Museum site; 2023 Wreaths Across America, which places wreaths on veterans’ graves; and working on getting signs replaced for the Pottawatomie Trail of Death, the Massacre site and Trading Post as an unincorporated city.

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