General Pershing honorably retired in 1924. He spent much of his retirement establishing memorials in Europe for fallen soldiers. Pershing was an extremely modest man, never pursuing honors in his own name. Others have been left to establish a well-deserved memorial to his service. In an attempt to do just this, the Pershing Park Memorial Association (PPMA) was formed in 1930.
In 1931 the Association purchased nearly 2500 acres just west of Pershing's boyhood home on the banks of Locust Creek. Pershing Park was given to the State of Missouri in 1937. Today Pershing State Park includes over 3,500 acres of prairie and wetlands. It is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.
In 1948, the Association purchased the boyhood home of the General in Laclede, Missouri. The home was sold to the State of Missouri in 1952 and was opened in 1957 as a state historic site. There have been many expansions and additions to the site, all funded by the taxpayers of Missouri through the Missouri Parks Soils and Sales Taxes. Today, the General John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site included nearly three acres.
The most recent addition to the complex is the Prairie Mound School. The schoolhouse, where Pershing taught for two years, was acquired and reassembled next to the boyhood home. This is the place where his love of education was cemented and where he read the newspaper ad for the exam that changed his life. The school acts as a small exhibit gallery where Pershing treasures such as his West Point class ring, are displayed.
Guarding the home is a magnificent statue of the General himself. Originally gracing the state capital in Jefferson City, Missouri the statue was relocated to the Pershing Complex in 1968. It was refinished in 1996 with a gift from the Military Order of World Wars. Pershing once said, "When the last bugle call is sounded, I want to stand up with my soldiers." Echoing his desire to be surrounded by the men he commanded, the Association erected a Wall of Honor encircling the statue. Here, for a donation, veterans from any war may have their name inscribed.
on the Pershing Wall of Honor