The World War I Tours American Monument is located in the city of Tours, France 146 miles southwest of Paris. The monument commemorates the efforts of the 650,000 men who served during World War I in the Services of Supply (SOS) of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and whose work behind the battle lines made possible the achievements of the American Armies in the field. The city of Tours was its headquarters during the war.
It is located just east of the southern end of Pont Wilson which crosses the Loire River in prolongation of the main street (Rue National) of Tours, and consists of a handsome fountain of white stone with a gold gilded statue of an American Indian holding an eagle. The surrounding area was developed into a small park by ABMC.
The fountain’s column between the lower and upper basins displays sculptures of the coats of arms of Bordeaux, Brest, Is-sur-Tille, Le Mans, Neufchâteau, Nevers, St. Nazaire, and Tours. Important installations of the SOS were located in those cities during the war.
Four sculptured figures appear on the column above the upper basin. They represent the four principal divisions of the SOS: Administration, Construction, Procurement, and Distribution. A bronze sculpture gleams from the top of the monument. Successful execution of those functions enabled the combatant forces to concentrate on defeating the enemy.
By the time of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, a total of 2,057,907 American troops had come to European soil. Among them were almost 645,000 soldiers and 24,000 civilians of the SOS.
Here are examples of SOS accomplishments:
- Constructed almost 1,000 miles of standard-gauge railway tracks;
- Assembled more than 1,500 locomotives and 18,000 rail cars with parts shipped from the United States;
- Managed hospitals with a capacity of 192,844 beds.
General John J. Pershing, commander of the AEF, said this about the Services of Supply in his final report:
Magnificent efforts were exerted by the entire Services of Supply to meet the enormous demands made on it. Obstacles which seemed insurmountable were overcome daily in expediting the movements of replacements, ammunition and supplies to the front, and of sick and wounded to the rear.
The Tours Monument stands on Ave. André Malraux about 300 meters east of the southern end of Pont Wilson, the bridge across the Loire River.
The Tours American Monument is located in the city of Tours, France, 146 miles southwest of Paris. The monument is situated just east of the southern end of the Pont Wilson, which crosses the Loire River in a continuation of the main street (Rue Nationale) of Tours.
Travel via Car
A two and half hour drive from Paris, take highway A10 to Orléans, through Blois to arrive in Tours. An alternate to GPS coordinates, the city library of Tours, is next to the monument and can be a useful point of interest to help with directions.
Travel via Train
Trains from Paris to Tours leave from the Gare Austerlitz or Gare Montparnasse station. From the train station, the monument is about a one kilometer walk. When exiting the train station at Place du Maréchal Leclerc take the Rue de Nantes in the southwest direction. Turn right and stay on Place du Maréchal Leclerc before a slight right onto Boulevard Heurteloup. Then, continue on Rue de Buffon before continuing on Rue Corneille. Turn left onto Rue de la Scellerie and then right onto Rue Voltaire. Turn left onto Avenue André Malraux and you will arrive at the city library where you will find the fountain monument on the east side of the library along the Loire River.
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