One more thing about Columbus . . . Andrew Jackson Higgins

My jarhead husband reminds me that I can’t talk about Columbus (home of the Gottberg Auto Co. building) without mentioning the Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial. Higgins, creator of the “Higgins boat”, was born in Columbus and was the man Dwight D. Eisenhower said “won the war for us.”

Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial, Columbus, Nebraska

The Higgins boat, or LCVP (Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel) was key to the success of the Allies’ amphibious invasions during World War II, including D-Day. It was a small, light wooden boat with a protected propeller and diesel engine capable of carrying 36 men or a dozen men and a jeep.

Ford GPW at the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Lexington, Nebraska

The Navy didn’t initially see the value, but the Marine Corps did and was willing to lobby for it. By September of 1943, the Navy had 14,072 vessels and 12,964 had been designed by Higgins. Fortunately for the Allies, Higgins was able to produce so many boats because he had possessed the foresight to purchase the entire 1939 mahogany crop from the Phillipines. A great American, he also once demanded that a Navy contract be renegotiated downward because he was making too much money while American boys were dying. The display, located in Pawnee Park, is a beautiful and fitting memorial, consecrated with sand from beaches around the world where the Higgins boat saw action.

Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial, Columbus, Nebraska


Andrew Jackson Higgins Nebraska Historical Marker, nd, Andrew Jackson Higgins National Memorial, Columbus, Nebraska.

Greenberg, Paul. “D-Day Museum Helps Honor Man Who Helped America to Win WWII.” The Clarion Ledger, 9 March 2001, p. 11A.

Ringle, Ken. “The Miracle Boat That Won A War.” The Hartford Courant, 6 June 2000, p. 1.

Watkins, Billy. “The Man Who Won the War.” The Clarion Ledger, 6 June 2004, p. 1.

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