How Other Memorials Have Been Greeted
Maria Puente, in USA Today, puttng into perspective the many criticisms of the new WW II memorial on the Mall (May 20, 2004):
Memorial building in America is a tendentious business. "Never was a memorial yet erected that was not subject to criticism," said Rep. John Boylan, D-N.Y. And that was in 1937. Here's what happened when some of America's most important memorials were proposed:
Washington Monument (1884) Architect Robert Mills
Construction began in 1848 but stopped for 20 years when funding ran out and the Civil War began. Also, a brouhaha erupted when a stone donated by Pope Pius IX was stolen by members of an anti-Catholic political party. The monument was finally completed almost 30 years after the architect's death.
540,000 visitors a year
Lincoln Memorial (1922) Architect Henry Bacon
Southern opponents of Lincoln didn't want it built at all. Lincoln supporters called the architecture "pompous" and disparaged the site on the Mall, at the time a swamp, as "unworthy" of the savior of the Union.
3.2 million visitors a year
Jefferson Memorial (1943) Architect John Russell Pope
It incited the angriest debate to that point in American architecture between historicists and modernists, who believed historical design lacked relevance. Some critics feared the design based on the Roman Pantheon would compete with the Lincoln Memorial. President Roosevelt had to intervene to get it built.
300,000 visitors a year
Vietnam Veterans Memorial (1981) Architect Maya Lin
Building the wall was almost as divisive as the war, both because of the times and the abstract V-shaped design; even the architect's Chinese-American heritage was attacked. Tom Carhart, a former Army platoon leader, called it a "degrading ditch." "Orwellian glop" wrote National Review magazine.
2.8 million visitors a year
Korean War Veterans Memorial (1995) Cooper-Lecky Architects of Washington
The criticism focused on a black granite wall etched with soldiers' faces. "The wall tugs the heartstrings, for sure, but it's also a bit obvious, a bit much," wrote Benjamin Forgey in The Washington Post. "It's a design disaster," said Carole Blair, professor at University of California-Davis.
2.4 million visitors a year
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (1997) Architect Lawrence Halprin
A 1960 proposal featuring granite slabs standing on edge was dubbed "instant Stonehenge." The finished monument was denounced by the disabled because a statue didn't show enough of FDR's wheelchair.
2 million visitors a year
comments powered by Disqus
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- OAH denounces anti-gay legislation signed by Indiana governor
- Emory’s Leslie Harris says we should remember the racist roots of American colleges as we think about what went wrong at OU and other schools
- Stanford historian looks to the U.S. Postal Service to map the boom and bust of 19th-century American West
- U.S. historian denounces Japanese scholars' statement over wartime sexual slavery
- Timothy V Johnson Named Head of Tamiment Library