The story of Oakley’s missing war memorial begins with two men, one from California the other from Kansas, in about 1921. Following World War I, citizens pushed for better and improved highways, and they often gave names to them as memorials to someone or something. Two such citizens, George Stansfield, a Topeka druggist and Ben Blow with the California State Automobile Association met in Topeka and proposed an idea for a national transcontinental highway and coupled this thought with a memorial to the men and women who served their country during World War I by naming this new route “Victory Highway”. Topeka became the starting point. The route today from Sacramento to San Francisco follows what is now CA 160, CA 4, I-680, and CA 24 into Oakland. I’ve also read that route may be from I-205 to Route 120. Either way the Victory Highway passes through Oakley. It also passes through Oakley, Kansas
The vision of those promoting the project was for residents along the way to build county markers with a standardized design containing the names of their county’s men who died in the World War I. Each marker would also have a bronze eagle poised above a nest with outstretched wings in an attitude of hovering over its eaglets, designated to signify the protection this country gives to its people. The design was made under the direction of Dr. Thomas Roberts, curator of the zoological museum at the University of Minnesota.