Commissioned by the East End Improvement Association and dedicated on November, 11, 1922, Alton's original E. M. Viquesney "Doughboy" statue was originally at the intersection of Henry and 5th street. The statue was moved in 1942 to Riverside (now Riverfront) Park and moved once again and rededicated in 1975 to 445 Alby Street in front of VFW Post 1308. E. M. Viquesney was a sculptor who produced a series of WW1 statues in honor of fallen soldiers called "Spirit of the American Doughboy." The sculptures depict a young WW1 soldier in full uniform, his fist raised triumphantly in victory. Viquesney's war statues were the first mass-produced memorials on record and were made using a design copyrighted in 1921 using 75 thin sheets of sheet bronze that were mechanically pressed and welded together over an internal frame.
The memorial in Alton has several commemorative plaques- the front reads: "This memorial is erected to commemorate the patriotism and devotion of our citizens who answered our country's call and served in the World War." The plaque on the right has a list of engraved names of soldiers who gave their lives in WW1. The left plaque has a quote by Abraham Lincoln and the back of the statue has a list of 13 WW1 battle sites. A nearby plaque was dedicated to those who lost their lives in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam.
It is unknown how American soldiers received the nickname of "doughboys." Some allege that the name comes from Continental Army uniforms whose soldiers supposedly used white clay to keep the piping on their uniforms white. If it rained, the clay would smudge and create thick globs which resembled dough and stuck to the uniforms. Viquesney's doughboy statues reside in 39 U.S. States.