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James A. Garfield Memorial

Foundations of America

QU201 Prof. Scott Leone

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Home Recent Discoveries Blog James A. Garfield Memorial

James A. Garfield Memorial

The James A Garfield Memorial in Cleveland, Ohio is the largest memorial to a U.S. President.
Images suggest that there could be a great deal of Stony Creek granite in this massive structure.

This excerpt from Google Books gives a smattering of background.

The Cleveland Herald contains a lively description of the designs submitted for the Garfield monument in that city which are now exposed to public view in a room in Ryder's building The award has not yet been made or at least is not known and the report says that as we thought was probable certain sculptors have agents here working with all the eagerness of ward wire pullers in behalf of their principals One of these business like artists who has sent an intimate friend several times to Cleveland has been so incautious as to contribute to the competition but the intimate friend as the Herald thinks has done what he could to counteract the bad effect which the sight of his principal contending with the common herd would otherwise have by surrounding the model with an expanse of miniature grass made of fresh moss This admirable device should not be lost upon sculptors who propose to take part in future competitions We will suggest as an addition to the moss that tiny flowers might be stuck in here and there and perhaps a few small dolls could be disposed in natural attitudes about the central feature This would be certain to charm the ladies at least which would be a great point gained Although none of the other sculptors show quite as much ingenuity as that displayed by the intimate friend of the author of design number one a good deal of realistic skill has been bestowed upon the various models One for instance by Mr John Turini of New York has been made to imitate at a small scale the granite and bronze in which it is intended to be finally carried out while another the work of an artist from the interior of New York State represents a structure furnished with windows which are indicated by tiny panes of glass backed with blue paper We should be sorry to think that these curiosities fairly represented the designs submitted in competition for the most important work of art ever erected in the United States and judging from the Herald's account there are a few compositions of real merit Among these seems to be one which represents a church steeple with carved brackets extending up the corners of the four sides standing on a ground arch under which is a figure of President Garfield with folded arms while a statue of Peace occupies the summit of the steeple Another of the good designs is one which consists of a four cornered column ornamented with a semi circular peristyle at the base The structure is situated at the top of a slight eminence and in ascending to it by means of an inclined plane one encounters a statue of Garfield This design is said to be in the Romanesque style and although the description hardly seems to suggest this a neat book printed expressly for the occasion by the designer doubtless explains such technical points correctly.


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