NEENAH (NBC 26) — In Doty Park sits a mysterious monument. The Doty Island Development Council Vice President, Ron Klatt, passed by the monument day after day, wondering what it meant.
“For 40 years I've lived on Doty Island, and I’ve come over the park many times and I’ve always seen the star on the rock. And I’ve thought ``how'd that star get here, why is that star here, what does it represent?” said Klatt.
Klatt took the initiative to find out what the star meant.
“Finally, I decided to contact the Neenah Historical Society and they did research and found out… that the star represented the last civil war soldier from Neenah.”
"That it was about Thaddeaus Sheerin who was the oldest living civil war soldier when they did the dedication in 1933,” said Becky Heidke Kwiatkowski, Associate Executive Director of the Neenah Historical Society.
In the years that followed, the star monument was vandalized and left in poor shape. Once again, Klatt took the initiative to give it a new life.
"Got some paint remover and removed all the paint and so that part of the star was refurbished,” said Klatt.
This was one of the first of many steps to honor the nearly forgotten veteran.
"We wanted to make sure that the story was kept and remember that it wasn't just a star,” said Heidke Kwiatkowski.
With collaboration from the Doty Island Development Council, Neenah Parks & Recreation, the Neenah Historical Society, and Twin City Monuments, the monument has been restored to the condition it deserves.
Now, there is a repaired star monument, and beside it sits a new monument that tells the story of Thaddeaus Sheerin.
The Star monument is a part of the Doty Island Mystery Walk. The walk allows residents to visit places or items that are in plain sight that you may never have noticed before—or that you’ve always seen but have never known the significance of. It will take place from September 12-18.