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Graveside Monument to Mr. Jefferson Nickel.

Graveside Monument to Mr. Jefferson Nickel

Field review by the editors.

Owosso, Michigan

Felix Oscar Schlag (1891-1974) was a German soldier in World War I who later emigrated to the U.S. In 1937 he entered a contest to design a replacement for the popular Buffalo Nickel -- and won. Billions of copies of his design, the Jefferson Nickel, would be minted from 1938 until 2003. For that, he was awarded $1,000 -- which he had to spend on the funeral of his first wife. He frequently quipped later in life, "America got its nickel's worth out of me."

In 2006 a coin collecting club paid to have a small Jefferson Nickel monument placed next to Schlag's grave. It was unveiled by his daughter, and cost four times what Schlag was paid to design the nickel. The club had hoped to attract a crowd, but torrential rains limited attendance to about 25 people. It was also hoped that Michigan would erect an adjacent historical marker, but that would've cost an additional $2,000 -- or 40,000 nickels -- and apparently the money was never raised.

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Graveside Monument to Mr. Jefferson Nickel

1101 S. Washington St., Owosso, MI
From downtown Owosso drive south on Hwy 71/Washington St. and continue south on Washington St. when it splits from Hwy 71. Drive south five blocks, and just past Harper St. turn left into Oak Hill Cemetery. Once you enter the cemetery, keep bearing left when you come to intersections. When you reach the last one, at the back of the cemetery (you'll see houses through the trees), you'll see the small monument on the right.
Gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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