The society started preliminary work with its own funds but the project really got underway when the Ohio General Assembly, at the urging of former governor James E. Campbell, appropriated funds for the building and the memorial in early 1923. Construction began later that year.
In consultation with a Memorial Committee of local worthies, Ohio State University’s architect, Joseph N. Bradford, designed the memorial. It would consist of an elegant rotunda with marble floors and walls and an art glass ceiling. Large bronze bas-reliefs would line the walls depicting scenes from the war. Visitors to the new wing would enter through the rotunda. Outside the door would stand a bronze statue depicting an American soldier of the war.
Bruce Wilder Saville, a busy local sculptor and professor at Ohio State, was charged with creating the sculptures. He was well-equipped to do so, having himself seen action in the war, first as a volunteer ambulance driver with the French and later with a US Camouflage Unit.
On Monday, April 6, 1926, the 9th anniversary of America’s entry into the war, the annex and the war memorial were dedicated.
It was a raw, cold, gray day. Temperatures hovered in the 30s as the sky drizzled rain, then sleet, and finally snow. The inclement weather forced cancellation of a 4,000 man military review and kept crowds to around a thousand.
Along with officials of Ohio State University and the Historical Society, on hand for the dedication were Governor Vic Donahey, Reverend Father William P. O'Connor and Rev. Dr. Arthur H. Limouze of the Allied Expeditionary Force;: Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph D. Cole of the Allied Expeditionary Force; Major-General Benson W. Hough of the Allied Expeditionary Force and a state judge; ladies off the American Legion Auxillary. Ohio Congressman, Senator, diplomat, and advocate of peace through international law Cleveland’s Theodore E. Burton, was to give the keynote speech on “Lessons of the World War.”