Saturday, September 17, 2005

Patently Patriotic Post of the Day (9/17/05)

The Lincoln Memorial

Although Congress incorporated the Lincoln Monument Association in March 1867 to build a memorial to the slain President, no progress was made until 1901 when the McMillan Commission chose West Potomac Park as the site for the memorial. This decision expanded on the ideas of Pierre L'Enfant who designed the Federal City and envisioned an open mall area from the Capitol to the Potomac River. Congress agreed on a design for the memorial submitted by New York architect Henry Bacon and construction began on February 12, 1914. Daniel Chester French designed the statue and the Piccirilli Brothers of New York carved it. It is 19 feet tall and 19 feet wide and is made of 28 separate blocks of white Georgia marble. Murals, painted by Jules Guerin depicting principles evident in Lincoln's life, are located on the north and south walls of the memorial above inscriptions of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural. Ernest Bairstow carved other sculptured features of the memorial with the assistance of Evelyn Beatrice Longman, French's 19-year-old apprentice. The building is constructed primarily of Colorado Yule marble and Indiana limestone. The 36 columns around the memorial represent the states in the union at the time of Lincoln's death; their names are carved in the frieze directly above. The names of the 48 states in the Union when the memorial was completed in 1922 are carved in the exterior attic walls. A memorial plaque in the plaza commemorates the subsequent admission of Alaska and Hawaii. President Warren G. Harding dedicated the memorial on May 30, 1922. The principal address at the dedication was given by Dr. Robert Moton, president of Tuskegee Institute, and Robert Todd Lincoln, the President's only surviving son, was in attendance.