Senators, others ask Park Service to restore Grant memorial

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A group that includes Illinois senators Richard J. Durbin (D) and Mark Kirk (R) is urging Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar and the National Park Service to restore the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial that stands at the foot of Capitol Hill.

In the sculpture, the Civil War general credited with saving the Union sits astride a horse on top of a 40-foot pedestal; below him, two horizontal pieces show soldiers in battlefield conditions with charging horses, careening cannons and screaming men.The long-neglected bronze memorial, which has anchored the east end of the National Mall since 1922, has discolored over time and the deteriorated metal has taken on a blue-green hue. The discoloration of the bronze figures has spread to the three white marble pedestals, which look as though a careless house painter has let buckets of paint spill on them.

A set of letters from Durbin and Kirk, along with Frank J. Williams, president of the Ulysses S. Grant Association; Frank Scaturro, president of the Grant Memorial Association ; James A. Balcer, alderman of the City Council of Chicago; and Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, was sent to Salazar’s office Monday....

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