Form and Function

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Title: Form and Function the Development of Parks and Monuments in 20th Century United States
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Bassett, Dana
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2009
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: Public Art
Public Space
City Planning
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theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
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Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The difficulties faced by rapidly industrializing cities in the early twentieth-century warranted urban planning that was in a large part inspired by the rural cemetery movement in mid-nineteenth century United States. These scenic cemeteries combined pastoral scenery and commemorative art within the burial grounds to unexpected ends. Urban reformers looked to nature to ease the moral and physical depravity of the urban environment. Public parks allowed people unwelcome in the cemetery to temporarily escape the struggles of city life. Reformers also promoted the neo-classical art and architecture within the cemetery in an attempt to cultivate upright citizens. The proliferation of spaces of natural respite and national memory has produced some of the most fertile and evocative expressions of the American legacy. This thesis takes two such spaces into account: Grant Park and the development of Millennium Park in Chicago, and The National Mall and its monuments in Washington, DC. It will explore how the lived experience of these spaces creates a unique interchange between the public and the meaning of these spaces. Increasingly the spaces have evolved to offer a sense of place to the individual within the built environment. The relationship of the viewer and the structure are researched to understand how this public process has grown to reflect the intricacies of American society at large.
Statement of Responsibility: by Dana Bassett
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2009
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Mink, Joseph

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Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
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Classification: local - S.T. 2009 B3
System ID: NCFE004050:00001

Permanent Link:

Material Information

Title: Form and Function the Development of Parks and Monuments in 20th Century United States
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Bassett, Dana
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2009
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: Public Art
Public Space
City Planning
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: The difficulties faced by rapidly industrializing cities in the early twentieth-century warranted urban planning that was in a large part inspired by the rural cemetery movement in mid-nineteenth century United States. These scenic cemeteries combined pastoral scenery and commemorative art within the burial grounds to unexpected ends. Urban reformers looked to nature to ease the moral and physical depravity of the urban environment. Public parks allowed people unwelcome in the cemetery to temporarily escape the struggles of city life. Reformers also promoted the neo-classical art and architecture within the cemetery in an attempt to cultivate upright citizens. The proliferation of spaces of natural respite and national memory has produced some of the most fertile and evocative expressions of the American legacy. This thesis takes two such spaces into account: Grant Park and the development of Millennium Park in Chicago, and The National Mall and its monuments in Washington, DC. It will explore how the lived experience of these spaces creates a unique interchange between the public and the meaning of these spaces. Increasingly the spaces have evolved to offer a sense of place to the individual within the built environment. The relationship of the viewer and the structure are researched to understand how this public process has grown to reflect the intricacies of American society at large.
Statement of Responsibility: by Dana Bassett
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2009
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Mink, Joseph

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2009 B3
System ID: NCFE004050:00001

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FORM AND FUNCTION: THE DEVELOPMENT OF PARKS AND MONUMENTS IN 20 TH CENTURY UNITED STATES BY DANA BASSETT A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of the Arts Under the sponsorship of Joseph Mink Sarasota, Florida May, 2009


ii Table of Contents Title Page i Table of Contents i i Abstract iii Introduction 1 Chapter 1 : How the Other Half Lived 18 How the Other Half Could Live 20 Three Visionaries: Olmsted, Robinson and Burnham 25 The Rise of Millennium Park 39 The Crown Fountain & Millennium Monument: Ties to Tradition 44 The Lurie Garden & BP Bridge: Bucolic Interpretations 49 Pritzker Pavilion: A Modern Bandshell 53 The Bean: A New Vision of the City 56 Chapter 2 : Monuments and Memory 60 Temporal Changes in Mea ning: The Washington Monument 64 White City, Capital City 77 Mass Monuments and Culture: The Vietnam Veterans Wall 85 Conclu sion 92 Bibliography 96


iii FORM AND FUNCTION: THE DEVELOPMENT OF PARKS AND MONUMENTS IN 20 TH CENTURY UNITED STATES Dana Bassett New College of Florida, 2009 ABSTRACT The difficulties faced by rapidly industrializing cities in the early twentieth century warranted urban planning that was in a large part inspired by the rural cemetery movement in mid nineteenth century United States. These scenic cemeteries combined pastoral scenery and commemorative art within the burial grounds to unexpected ends. Urban reformers looked to nature to ease the moral and physical depravity of the urban environment. Public parks allowe d people unwelcome in the cemetery to temporarily escape the struggles of city life. Reformers also promoted the neo classical art and architecture within the cemetery in an attempt to cultivate upright citizens. The proliferation of spaces of natural re spite and national memory has produced some of the most fertile and evocative expressions of the American legacy. This thesis takes two such spaces into account: Grant Park and the development of Millennium Park in Chicago, and The National Mall and its mo numents in Washington, DC. It will explore how the l ived experience of these spaces creates a unique interchange between the public and the meaning of these spaces Increasingly the spaces have evolved to offer a sense of place to the


iv individual within t he built environment. The relationship of the viewer and the structure are researched to understand how this public process has grown to reflect the intricacies of American society at large. Joseph Mink Division of Social Sciences


1 Introduction How Rural Cemeteries Shaped the Modern American Landscape Laurel Hill Cemetery, outside of Philadelphia, was the second major rural cemetery established in the United States in 1836. John Jay Smith, a prominent Quaker businessman realized the fiscal benefits of founding a commercial cemetery based on the examples of Mount Auburn and PŽre la Chaise. 1 Smith must have been aware of the increasing preciousness of natural surroundings within the city, having worked editing Andrew Jackson Downing's magazine, The Horticulturist and publishing his own cemetery manual. 2 The Stranger's Guide in Philadelphia and Its Environs (1852), paid generous attention to Laurel Hill and the city's cemeteries in general. The brochures title page proudly proclaims i ts inclusion of nearby cemeteries, indicating their popular appeal. Illustrations found in this and other guides to Laurel Hill meticulously detail the baroque memorial statuary inside of the cemetery. Some of the etchings include willow trees that seemi ngly bend to mourn over the extravagant stone monuments. 3 In other plates, proud and erect obelisk markers are complemented by upright plant life. 4 Visitors to the cemetery are sometimes featured contemplating the funerary structures. One illustration d epicts two clearly upper class citizens strolling by a woman who appears to be a 1 Colleen McDannell, Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 103. 2 Ibid., 108.; Stanley French, "The Cemetery as Cultural Institution: The Establishment of Mount Auburn and the Rural Cemetery' Movement." Ameri can Quarterly 26, no.1 (1974): 56. 3 Conger Sherman, Guide to Laurel Hill Cemetery, near Philadelphia (Philadelphia: C. Sherman, 1847), 11, 19, 24. 4 The Stranger's Guide in Philadelphia and Its Environs (Philadelphia: Lindsay and Blakiston, 1852), 220.


2 beggar with her child. 5 Another shows three men, one of whom has a prosthetic leg, examining the "particularly fine" monument of a fallen General, implying the soldiers' iden tification with the man and his legacy. 6 Images such as these of indicate Laurel Hill various and compounded roles in mid 19 th century Philadelphian society. In 1835, S.D. Walker's petitioned Baltimore to establish a rural cemetery, highlighting the adv antages of replicating the examples of Mount Auburn and PŽre la Chaise in his own city. 7 In his proposal, Walker laments the positioning of the unfinished Washington Monument, stating, "the scite on which the Washington Monument is erected, would have bee n admirably calculated for this purpose it is a matter of regret." 8 Throughout his letters, Walker provides various and in depth rationale for the enterprise, not the least of which are spiritual, sanitary and commercial concerns though one passage is of particular interest: It is evident that we must have amusements of some kind, and it is equally true, that it will ever prove futile to restrain mankind from indulgences, by cold abstract precepts of morality, or by monastic recommendations of solitude, s tudy or devotion chaste amusement is ever the handmaid of morality and religion. 9 5 Ibid., 218. 6 Ibid., 220. 7 PŽre la Chaise, a Parisian cemetery opened in 1804, served as an inspiration for the founding cemeteries of the same scale and caliber throughout Europe and the United States. Apparently inspired by PŽre la Chaise, Mount Auburn became the idealized model of the Rural Cemetery Movement in the United States. While its Parisian counterpart was resurrected from a preexisting garden, Mount Auburn was deliberately organized and planned. ( French, "The Cemetery as Cultural Institution, 38; McDannell, Material Christianity, 106; S. D. Walker, Rural Cemetery, iii.) 8 S. D. Walker, Rural Cemetery and Public Walk (Baltimore: Sands & Neilson, 1835), 6. 9 S. D. Walker, Rural Cemetery 6.


3 Cemeteries were as much for the living as the dead. Mount Auburn had proved that rural cemeteries were a popular social and religious destination. Many reformers and plann ers grasped the cemeteries social significance. Not only was the rural cemetery utilitarian, it was an attractive and pleasurable addition to increasingly menacing urban environment. Burial grounds no longer grace the top of most tourists' to do lists, but in the mid 19 th century rural cemeteries were all the rage. Cemeteries were akin to very early, very moral, amusement parks, and at the very least provided some impetus for the parks and monuments that invigorate urban spaces today. Endorsed as the "Rural" Cemetery movement, the undertaking was rural in character only. 10 Cemeteries such as Mount Auburn in Boston (1831), Laurel Hill in Pennsylvania (1836) and Greenwood in Brooklyn (1838) were the first commercial cemeteries attuned to the pressing dem ands of urban America. Located on the outskirts of emerging urban centers, cemeteries provided some much needed relief from the congestion and contagion of city life. Cemeteries became living textbooks that engaged the visitor in both the refreshment of nature and the appreciation of local history and architecture. 11 Unusually adept for their day, rural cemeteries assuaged many of the ills associated with the increasing urbanity of the American landscape. This thesis will examine two types of public sp ace inspired by the cemetery parks and monuments. It will explore how the bucolic surroundings of the cemetery were applied to parks in an effort to stimulate individual 10 French, "The Cemetery as Cultural Institution," 38. 11 McDannell, Material Christianity, 115.


4 contemplation and provide breathing spaces in crowded urban centers. Funerary struct ures are, of course, pertinent to public commemorative monuments. Many conventions of public monuments appear to have been worked out in the artistic embellishments of scenic cemeteries. Over the course of the 20 th century the foremost aspects of the rura l cemetery encouraged new types of public interaction with the built environment. Planning and reform have gradually cultivated these individual and collective experiences of space. Public parks were intended by urban reformers to assuage public health co ncerns and imbue residents with a sense of moral quietude through experiencing selective areas of nature. Early 20 th century city and park planners attempted to create parks that brought lost visions of nature back into public sphere. These parks were cre ated as an opposing force to blighted urban areas. Later parks, such as Millennium Park in Chicago, would come to accept their urban situation and begin to respond directly to the public and their surroundings. American monumental space has similarly evol ved to meet the needs of the people. Spaces of national remembering and identity present monumental renderings of history that were once immutably authoritative. As America matured into a "universal nation" and a world power monuments became malleable to the demands for more pluralized readings of history. The Vietnam Veteran's Wall opposes the static history of most of the memorials on the National Mall by promoting an open ended reading of history through individual physical and emotional involvement w ith the space. Resulting innovations in commemorative space have led to a variety of unconventional structures informed


5 and reinforced by their relative location to older parks and monuments, and, increasingly, the ability of the public to having meaningf ul interactions with these spaces. Cemeteries and Nature Democracy most of all affiliates with the open air, is sunny and hardy and sane only with Nature just as much as Art is. Something is required to temper both to check them, restrain them from exce ss, morbidity. I have wanted, before departure, to bear special testimony to a very old lesson and requisite. American Democracy, in its myriad personalities, in factories, work shops, stores, offices through the dense streets and houses of cities, and all their manifold sophisticated life must either be fibred, vitalized, by regular contact with out door light and air and growths, farm scenes, animals, fields, trees, birds, sun warmth and free skies, or it will certainly dwindle and pale. We cannot have gr and races of mechanics, work people, and commonalty, (the only specific purpose of America,) on any less terms. I conceive of no flourishing and heroic elements of Democracy in the United States, or of Democracy maintaining itself at all, without the Natur e element forming a main part to be its health element and beauty element to really underlie the whole politics, sanity, religion and art of the New World. Walt Whitman, Specimen Days Scenic cemeteries appreciated nature for its physically and morally c leansing qualities. Practical as well as more philosophical inclinations led to the adoption of a pastoral rural cemetery arrangement. Cemeteries were early targets of sanitation reform in industrializing urban areas. Individual graves had not gained wid espread acceptance until the nineteenth century. Only then did the influences of Protestantism and humanism cause enlightened European's to consider mass graves as hazardous to public health. 12 Cemeteries adjacent to centrally located churches were overcr owded and repulsed the public. The 12 McDannell, Material Christianity, 105 6.


6 official guide to Laurel Hill decries the "narrow residences of the dead" within "offensive contiguity to the dwellings of the living" situated "near the most crowded thoroughfares." 13 In his work on the organization of s pace Michel Foucault observes a transformation in the function of architecture following the 18 th century to accommodate such unsavory conditions in urban areas. Architecture emerges as a discipline "involved in problems of population, health and the urba n question." 14 Foremost were concerns of physical and moral depravity resulting from the difficult conditions of the city. Foucault addresses the moral and physical fear of darkness that early sanitation reform attempted to abate. 15 He develops this idea in relation to the separation of internal spaces in sanitation reform, the role of doctors, and the ordering of hospitals. 16 These pragmatic and spiritual concerns over the built environment were both readily apparent in the Rural Cemetery movement. As c ities became more densely populated, it became obvious that tightly packed cemeteries in close proximity to downtown were simply unsustainable. Quickly rising populations in urban areas begot "chronically offensive and occasionally serious public health h azards." 17 Chicago's small 80 acre downtown cemetery was so vile and overcrowded that in 1854 it claimed the life of 1,700 13 Sherman, Guide to Laurel Hill Cemetery, 12 13. 14 Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972 1977 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1980), 15 1. 15 Ibid., 153. 16 Ibid., 151. 17 French, "The Cemetery as Cultural Institution," 41 2.


7 citizens through an outbreak of cholera. 18 The rural cemeteries clearly provided a beneficial and indispensable function by containin g the city's dead, and protecting the living. It was also not uncommon in 19 th century American to uproot existing graves to make way for commercial establishments. Placing rural cemeteries outside of the most valuable downtown property mediated concerns of permanence regarding the resting place of loved ones. 19 Prior to the founding of Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia graveyards were established on temporarily unused lots, which were eventually built over without regard for the bodies interred beneath the soil. 20 Laurel Hill's recommendation of granite over marble for lasting monuments is indicative of the anticipated longevity and maintenance of the gravesites. 21 Potential sanitation concerns were only part of the impetus to establish the cemeteries in natural environs. Leading up the industrial revolution rural lifestyles and rustic scenery had long been considered the distinguishing trait of American identity. At the onset of the great migration from rural to more concentrated urban locales, a num ber of intellectuals, poets and artists contemplated and glorified the stunning biodiversity and value of the remaining relatively undisturbed sylvan landscapes of the 17 th and 18 th century. Among many other leading cultural figures, Thomas Jefferson, Ben jamin Franklin, 18 Lois Wille, Forever Open, Clear and Free: The Struggle for Chicago's Lakefront (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 39. 19 McDannell, Material Christianity, 11 8. 20 French, "The Cemetery as Cultural Institution," 39 40. 21 Sherman, Guide to Laurel Hill Cemetery, 41.


8 William Bartram, William Cullen Bryant, Walt Whitman, Washington Irving, Alexander Wilson, John James Audubon, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his protŽgŽ, Henry David Thoreau all contributed to popular ideas of nature and the American through the ir respective expertise. 22 Thomas Cole and numerous other painters aligned with the Hudson River School depicted the American landscape as a vivid and transcendental utopia. 23 Romantic and rustic imagery had distinguished American identity against the engr ained histories of Europe, but this pastoral ideal was becoming obsolete. Like Whitman, Thomas Jefferson assumed that fallow nature was crucial to the endurance of the democratic values: I think our government will remain virtuous for many centuries, as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe. 24 Furthermore, Jefferson prop osed that working with the earth built character. The yeoman farmer was Jefferson's hero, and he found "cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous and independent citizens." 25 Nature held a fundamental role in Jefferson's image of a desirable democrat ic nation and populace. He pictured nature as the resource that could maintain his agrarian society vision of democracy. Agriculture would allow citizens to be self sufficient of any 22 Hans Huth, Nature and the American: Three Centuries of Changing Attitudes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), 15 41. 23 Ibid., 46. 24 Ibid. 136. 25 Samuel Eagle Forman, The Life and Writings of Thomas Jefferson: Including All of His Important Utterances on Public Questions (Whitefish: Kessinger Publishing, 2008), 135.


9 overarching power structure, democratic or otherwise. 26 As man became m ore and more alienated from this functional and natural vision of the United States, city reformers emphasized the value of accessibility to natural scenery. Following the Civil War, the United States would grow to spatially reflect the diversity of the b urgeoning nation. Rapid development of American urban centers made apparent the necessity of natural scenery to contrast the blight and artificiality created by the rising of the city. 27 Between the 19 th and 20 th centuries the percentage of people living in urbanized areas would surge from three to forty percent of the entire population. 28 America's maturation into an industrialized power in the nineteenth century largely ended the deference to rural lifestyles as the backbone of the American identity. Se parated from the countryside, American's felt a distinct lack. 29 Transforming the chaotic cesspools of early urban centers into the new spaces that would "preserve and extol the virtues of democracy," became the aim of progressive urban reform beginning in the mid 1800s. 30 Rural cemeteries responded to the need for pastoral vistas and natural surroundings. Aside from offering an alternative to the physically repulsive and dangerous situation of downtown cemeteries, rural cemeteries were also considered a reas of moral reckoning due to the inherent spirituality and 26 Frederick D. Nichols, Ralph E. Griswold, and Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jef ferson: Landscape Architect (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2003 ), 26. 27 Daniel Burnham, and Edward Bennett, Plan of Chicago (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1993), 53.; M. Christine Boyer, Dreaming the Rational City: The Myth of A merican City Planning (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1983), 9. 28 Carl Smith, The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007) xv. 29 Huth, Nature and the American, 3. 30 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 4.


10 democracy of bucolic surroundings. Considered the moralizing aspect of the rural cemeteries, nature provided and exemplary form. It was believed that the manufacture of natural surroundings wou ld necessarily balance out the immorality and filth of growing cities. 31 The Strangers Guide to Philadelphia harps on the pastoral beauty of Laurel Hill Cemetery, describing one of the memorial sites: In such a pleasing spot, when the birds are singing, an d flowers and trees present their ever new verdure, the dreariness of the grave is lost; the utter oblivion that awaits the tenant of the tomb is forgotten; death is here robbed of half its terrors. 32 Nature's brilliance would console the mourner, as well as impart a civility and solemnity that was applicable to all tourists in the cemetery. 33 Rural cemeteries, and later, public parks were regarded as answers to the moral and physical degradation of the city. Although they offered most citizens with much n eeded fresh air and contemplative scenery, the beneficiaries of the rural cemetery were limited. Through clientele restrictions and ticketed admission, Smith and his associates effectively preserved Laurel Hill as a privileged space that reinforced the st ratification of social classes. 34 Although the financial prospects were precisely what would have made the cemetery an attractive commercial proposal to the commissioners Walker petitions in his essays, public parks would eventually 31 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 34. 32 The Stranger's Guide in Philadelphia, 220. 33 Thomas Bender, "The Rural Cemetery Movement: Urban Tavail and the Appeal of Nature." The New England Quarterly 47 (1974): 198. 34 McDannell Material Christianity, 111.


11 embrace the lower class es and ethnic minorities that were prohibited from entering cemeteries like Laurel Hill. 35 36 Monuments in the Cemetery Funerary monuments in the form of gravestones and memorial statuary comprised an important role of the rural cemetery. Although natur e provided a tranquil foundation, the artistic adornments to the cemetery were considered to be its crown jewels. Proponents of the cemetery movement believed that the combination of nature and art within the cemetery would refine the morally downtrodden. 37 Reverence for the dead was physically realized through monumental statuary, with the most impressive memorials signifying the most important interments. Laurel Hill was no exception. Many of the most prominent burials at Laurel Hill were signers of t he Declaration of Independence, and, later, civil war veterans, grandiosely commemorated through their stone markers. Their statues and monuments were usually cast in the popular classical Greek revival style, supposedly to correspond with republican idea ls. 38 Graves of this type were adorned with eagles, flags and other symbolism of the American republic. 39 Laurel Hill's entrance is designed in the neo classical style; the ever popular Doric column lines the main gate. 40 35 Ibid., 104. 36 Ibid., 111. 37 French, "The Cemetery as Cultural Institution," 52, 38 Ibid., 49. 39 The Stranger's Guide in Philadelphia, 218 222. 40 Sherman, Guide to Laurel Hill Cemetery, 14.


12 Henri Lefebvre designates areas c onsidered meaningful by a specific culture, such as the cemetery, "absolute space," opposed to the "abstract" space of capitalism (which is devoid of a physical reality). These are powerful "lived" sites that not only function as part of the larger city s tructure, but also "comprehend the entire existence of the group concerned." 41 Absolute spaces are sacred areas such as "temples, palaces, commemorative or funerary monuments" that "might be the space of art." 42 In monuments, Lefebvre sees the opportunity for a smorgasbord of cultural signifiers that exist conflictingly and simultaneously within the same structure. Production and signification of monumental space is inevitably related to the desire for "durability." 43 Transcendence of death is achieved th rough the atemporality of monumental edifices (especially the funerary monument), which appears "beautiful" to Lefebvre in proportion to its expected permanence. Lefebvre affirms, "Only through the monument can the space of death be negated, transfigured into a living space." Experience of the material monument enlivens its subject matter through a discourse with the individual. Affective qualities enable a dialogical space and deepen the monument's enduring significance. 44 While Lefebvre employs textual interpretation as a model, he asserts that monumental space is distinctively complex and "involves levels, layers and sediments of perception." 45 41 Ibid., 240. 42 Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1991), 251 2. 43 Ibid., 221. 44 Ibid., 224. 45 Ibid., 226.


13 Lefebvre postulates, "A revolution that does not produce a new space has not realized its full potential." 46 This compelling statement originally referenced socialism and socialist space, although the idea is applicable to the democratic establishment of the United States. Since the country's incendiary inception, American's have self consciously sought to dist inguish themselves from their European counterparts and generate an exclusively American experience. Lefebvre offers a nuanced insight to the production of space, and particularly, the significance of the monument to culture. He believes monuments to be the most accurate embodiment of the collective visage of society. As communal spaces of meaning, monuments provide visual considerations of shared values and histories. Plagued by the looming shadow of European culture and artistic uncertainty, it would take the United States generations to realize monumental spaces that were indubitably its own. The bulk of the Stranger's Guide's explication of Laurel Hill, following a brief mention of the picturesque "verdure," is devoted to detailing the preeminent in ternments and their luxurious monuments. Some of the monuments erected recognize the memory of fallen comrades by collective groups. Other popular monuments were established by certain organizations to commemorate their founders or significant benefactor s. 47 These famous internments and their impressive monuments attracted visitors to Laurel Hill. These emblematic tributes convey a more symbolic and inclusive method of commemoration within the cemetery than the strictly individual tomb. Major historical figures were similarly 46 Ibid., 54. 47 The Stranger's Guide in Philadelphia, 222.


14 memorialized in impressive national monuments to foster an allegiance to an American national identity. Rural cemeteries were created with the demands of both the living and the dead in mind. Similarly, sculptural commemorations se rve a composite role in society. Monuments have the tri fold task of honoring the dead, consoling the living, and preserving their sentiment for posterity. 48 Cemeteries and the Public In the 19 th century, reformers recognized the need for public space in the popularity of the rural cemeteries across the Northeast. The cemetery's inadvertent new type of semi public landscape exposed the necessity and benefits of public gatherings in a pastoral setting that reflected traditional notions of America's natural vitality. An early advocate of the establishment of public parks, Andrew Jackson Downing, based his public park proposals on the popularity of cemeteries. 49 In Modern Civic Art: The City Made Beautiful C.M. Robinson similarly points out "the tendency to use the cemetery as a public park, if no distinct pleasure ground has been set aside." 50 Downing and Robinson perceived the significance of the cemeteries dual function. Both imparted the example of cemetery space as local meeting grounds to justify the necessity of public parks that would be open to all citizens. 48 Gillis, Commemorations 20. 49 Huth, Nature and the American, 69. 50 Charles Mulford Robi nson, Modern Civic Art or the City Made Beautiful (New York: Read Books, 2007), 346.


15 In contrast to the private and commercial Laurel Hill Cemetery, A.J. Downing advocated large commons that would facilitate interaction between all classes of citizen. 51 Robinson argued that p ublic parks allow "trespassers in the country" (those whose earnings were too meager to vacation) to enjoy the healthy peacefulness of the natural environment. 52 For this reason, playgrounds notwithstanding, it appears wholly beneficial to centrally locate public parks and provide enough space for communal use. The spatially isolated Laurel Hill Cemetery was buffered from the city; public parks would eventually become an intricate part of it. The rural cemetery also became a stomping ground for America a rtists. As Stanley French most succinctly stated, "The rural cemetery movement supplied a great impetus to the development of sculpture in America." 53 Many early American sculptors honed their skills in the rural cemeteries of the Northeast. A few of the George Washington's early sculptors, Hiram Powers and Horatio Greenough, were among the artists that ornamented rural cemeteries. 54 Interestingly, Robert Mills's original plans for the Washington Monument stipulated that Washington himself would be reinte rred in a tomb styled after the Parthenon at the base of the obelisk. 55 Public parks and monuments comprise the enduring triumph of the scenic cemetery movement. The ensuing chapters of this thesis will invoke historical 51 Huth, Nature and the American, 69. 52 Robinson, Modern Civic Art, 346. 53 French, "The Cemetery as Cultural Institution," 49. 54 Frederic A. Sharf, "The Garden Cemetery an d American Sculpture: Mount Auburn." The Art Quarterly 24 (1961): 83. 55 H.M. Pierce Gallagher, Robert Mills: Architect of the Washington Monument (New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1966), 124.


16 inquiry combined with "thick" des cription and first hand observation to construct a narrative that evaluates public additions to urban areas following the Industrial Revolution in the United States. 56 The two chapters of this thesis will illustrate the development of these public spaces a nd their relevance as indicators of an explicitly American identity. Unwilling to "let the facts speak for themselves," my examination of the rationale and circumstances that impelled the creation of parks and monuments will evaluate the use of these space s relative to their historical origins and their contemporary lived presence. 57 Constructed through a distilled and pointed narrative, this thesis offers qualitative examination as one method of understanding parks and monuments as they are built, rebuilt, decoded, explained, experienced, and improved upon over time. 58 Chicago's Millennium Park and the National Mall in Washington, DC readily lend themselves to historical and field interpretations. Evaluation of the academic and observed effects of city p lanning and public participation will expose and assess the motivation and reception of spaces intended for public use. 59 The public's perspective and the actual built forms are crucial to this endeavor, aiding in an extensive and sensitive depictions of t hese areas of study. The intended function of the spaces remains unfulfilled without the public to 56 Clifford Geertz, "Thick Description: Towards an Interpretive Theory of Culture." In The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays by Clifford Geertz 4 30 (New York: Basic Book Publishers, Inc., 1973). 57 Stephen Van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997), 93. 58 Norton, 95 Theses, 91. 59 Anne Norton, 95 Theses on Politics, Culture, and Method (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004), 90.


17 activate them. Their involvement is key to building and understanding the social significance of public space. 60 Material expressions of culture are also w orthy of study and observation. 61 Description of public monuments' built forms and their accompanying symbolism promotes a detailed and thorough consideration of their impact on the surrounding space. 60 Clandinin, D. Jean, and F. Michael Connelly. "Personal Experience Methods." In the Handbook of Qualitative Research edited b y Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, 413 427. (London: Sage Publications, 2000), 415. 61 Norton, 95 Theses, 2.


18 Chapter 1 How the Other Half Lived Living conditions in early American cities were abysmal. Industrialization produced labyrinths of physical and mental squalor at an unprecedented rate. Cities were unable to meet the accompanying demand for adequate housing. Jacob Riis's 1890 book, How the Oth er Half Lives awakened upper and middle class citizens across the country to the perils of tenement living in congested urban centers. 1 His report pioneered an unheard of empathy towards poverty stricken city dwellers. Photographs, accompanied by diagra ms, sketches, graphs and prose made the harsh reality of tenement life, previously unknown to many Americans, tangible. His groundbreaking works in photography made visually apparent the dismal state of not only the living quarters of the poor, but also o bstacles of their everyday lives. 2 Riis argued that squalor had produced criminal behavior, not the other way around. While he was fond of generously stereotyping immigrant groups, Riis made sure to assert that desperate conditions, and not character, w ere to blame over "immorality" in the slums: The poorest immigrant comes here with the purpose and ambition to better himself and, given half a chance, might be reasonably expected to make the most of it. To the false plea that he prefers the squalid hous es in which his kind are housed there could be no better answer. The truth is, his half chance has too long been wanting, and for the bad result he has been unjustly blamed. 3 1 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 14. 2 Paul Boyer, Urban Masses and Moral Order in America, 1820 1920 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978 ), 127. 3 Jacob A. Riis, How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1890), 24.


19 Identification of the problem as rooted in the environmental forces, as opposed to in the people, established opportunities for reform. Riis's exposŽ describes a windowless hell. The prose employs a combination of statistics and anecdotes to present an harrowing image of poverty. Living quarters were completely devoid of light or ventilation, and people roomed in dark, overcrowded closets. 4 Riis photographs depict crumbling shacks, with cramped interiors that containing entire households. One of the first people to use flash photography, Riis seemingly uncovered a world that had been hitherto literally unseen by those not immersed in the unwholesome tenement situation. 5 Riis realized the generational contagiousness and increasing severity of the deplorable conditions of abject poverty in industrialized cities. He, like many con temporary reformers, particularly harped on the adverse affect of the environment to children and their unfortunate statistical abundance in tenements and factories. 6 Exemplars of Riis' difficult urban reality were not confined to New York City; they exis ted in urban centers such as Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston as well. 7 In Chicago, Jane Addams' Hull House Map and Papers (1895) detailed the blighted neighborhood surrounding the celebrated settlement house, and a private report entitled Tenement Condit ions in Chicago (1901) illustrated the deplorable conditions. 8 4 Ibid. 5 Boyer, P., Urban Masses, 127. 6 Ibid. 7 Perry R. Duis, Challenging Chicago: Coping with Everyday Life, 1837 1920 (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 104. 8 Duis, Challenging Chicago, 105.


20 Clearly, there was room for improvement in the degraded and desolate landscape portrayed by Riis. Fortunately, there was no lack of speculations, theories, planners or architects to combat t he blight on American cities. One event in particular stood out as a possible remedy to the ills and afflictions of urbanism in America. How The Other Half Could Live Chicago's White City offered a pristine and hopeful vision for American cities that starkly contrasted the dark underbelly exposed by Riis. The World Columbian Exposition of 1893 was looked to as an example of disciplinary order and civility in a time when filth and chaos seemed the only option. 9 Architect Daniel Burnham, landscape arch itect Frederick Law Olmsted and a prestigious team of architects, engineers and artists assembled a model city in Chicago's Jackson Park that opened the nations eyes to the possibilities of city space wrought by farsighted planning. 10 Due to impressiveness of the White City, urban planning was finally recognized as a viable endeavor. 11 The fair was primarily focused around the Court of Honor and the Midway Plaisance. Olmsted chose Jackson Park and the Midway for their proximity to Lake Michigan, effectiv ely linking the fair to the water. 12 The Court of Honor consisted of a man made lagoon, laid out by Olmsted, which was surrounded by 9 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 46. 10 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 19. 11 Wille, Forever Open, Clear and Free, 69. 12 Witold Rybczynski, A Clearing In The Distance: Frederick Law Olmsted and America in the 19th Century (New York: Scribner, 1999), 386.


21 stately white buildings designed in the Beaux Arts style. 13 Burnham dictated the regimented neo classical style for the bui ldings and handpicked the prominent architects that designed them. The buildings and monuments were temporary; their frames were covered with an impermanent material called staff. A mixture of plaster, cement and natural fibers, the staff gave the buildi ngs faade their unified and immaculate white appearance. It also facilitated their quick disassembly of the structures at the conclusion of the fair's six month run. 14 Despite their ephemeral nature, the buildings that lined the Court of Honor were suff iciently grandiose and evoked a general sentiment of awe amongst the 27 million who attended. 15 Symmetry, monumentality and light provided the basis for an orderly, civilized city space. Planners had explicitly aimed to outdo the Paris World's Fair of 188 9. 16 The Chicago's fair covered an area more than four times Exposition Universelle. 17 A 600 acre parcel was adorned with more than two hundred new buildings erected specifically for the fair. All of the states and forty seven other nations were represent ed at the exposition. Arguably the most impressive display of the Fair, the Court of Honor was arranged with meticulous symmetry and festooned with an excess of statuary embellishment. Electric lights illuminated the simulated city at night. Electricall y lit cities were 13 William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991), 342. 14 Ibid. 15 At a time when the entire United Stat es population was only 63 million. (Rybczynski, Clearing In The Distance, 397) 16 Cronon, Nature's Metropolis, 341. 17 Rybczynski, Clearing In The Distance, 387.


22 not yet commonplace and the novelty of this technological marvel stunned fair attendees. 18 19 Although White City was an ephemeral dream of city planning, it was immortalized through various accounts of the Columbian Exposition. Travel gu ides, fictive tributes (such as L. Frank Baum's Emerald City) and the dissemination of photographs of the fair ensured its profound effect on the discipline of city planning. Like Riis's photographs and engravings, the ability to easily reproduce visual m aterial strongly contributed to popular impressions. Photographs of the White City reveal enormous buildings of great pomp and circumstance. The temporary faades appear timeless. 20 Journalist C.M. Robinson wrote of the Columbian Exposition, "the exhibit s drop out of mind while there lingers, as strong as ever, the vision of harmoniously grouped and proportioned buildings. A dream city' men called it then; but the dream has outlived all else." 21 Robinson even published his own guidebook after the fair e ntitled, "The Fair of Spectacle, A Report on Chicago's World Columbian Exposition 1893." While most accounts of the fair were exceptionally complementary, not all critics unequivocally praised the accomplishments of the White City. Comparisons to the re ality of Chicago's urbanity were unavoidable. The illusive image of the Columbian Exposition's staff faades did not fool everyone. 18 Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age (New Yo rk: Hill & Wang, 1982), 215. 19 Cronon, Nature's Metropolis, 341. 20 Stanley Applebuam, The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: A Photographic Record (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1980); Norman Bolotin, and Christine Laing, The World's Columbian Exposition : The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002) 21 Robinson, Modern Civic Art, 371.


23 Many considered Chicago the "City of Contrasts" or the "Gray City". 22 Louis Sullivan, the architect of the White City' Tra nsportation Building, voiced a scathing critiqued of the banality of the fair's architecture. 23 His was the only structure on the Court of Honor that broke with the cohesive and colorless classical buildings, providing instead a distinctive vision of moder n architecture through its concentric golden portal entrance. 24 Sullivan originated "form follows function" in architecture, and hoped for a more organically conceived American approach than was embodied by the White City's stoic Doric columns. He believe d the White City had set American architecture back "for half a century from its date, if not longer." 25 Architecture critic, Montgomery Schuyler similarly contradicted the White City's validity as a model for American city space, pointing out its disregar d for the realities of urban life. 26 Schuyler viewed the spectacle of the fair as attributable to the empty devices of unity, magnitude, and illusion, not C.M. Robinson's tenets of circulation, health and beauty. 27 Estranged from their original functions, the Beaux Arts buildings were incapable of answering the modern problems of the city. To these concerned commentators the classical arches and extravagant embellishments of the Court of Honor spoke more to traditional European architecture than any novel American design. 22 Cronon, Nature's Metropolis, 348. 23 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 19. 24 Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America, 225. 25 Louis H. Sullivan, Autobiography of an Idea (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1956), 325. 26 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 19.; Cronon, Nature's Metropolis, 349. 27 Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America, 229.


24 In short, b y the 1890's there were serious questions about whether the market would be able to produce adequate housing facilities. It was during this decade that the disastrous results of urban poverty and a potential v ision of city planning came to fruition. America's shift from sylvan to stymied led to a des titute situation in urban areas and reformers began to offer various solutions to the urban predicament 28 Despite the mounting notoriety of city planning, the anx iety that plagued urban development in the United States was by no means a novel topic. Throughout this thesis, the evolving implementation of p ublic parks as a possible answer to the moral and physical degradation of the city will be research ed in depth ExposŽs such as Riis's book made apparent the stifling and unsanitary conditions in the congested slums of industrializing cities, but according to urban theorist, Charles Mulford Robinson: We may have poor rooms to sit in, with foul air and little suns hine, but if no business calls us forth we remain indoors rather than dally in the busy street if the city does not furnish oases of beauty in the desert of its streets, and with numerous well placed chairs or benches make practical and urgent its invita tion to a leisurely enjoyment of the beauty thus provided, civic art will waste its fragrance and prove untrue to its social impulse Modern civic art desires the beauty of towns and cities not for beauty's sake, but for the greater happiness, health, and comfort of the citizens. It finds in the open space an opportunity to call them out of doors for other than business purposes, to keep them in fresh air and sunshine, and in their most receptive mood to woo them by sheer force of beauty to that love and th at contentment on which are founded individual and civic virtue. 29 28 Duis, Challenging Chicago, 96. 29 Robinson, Modern Civic Art 305 306.


25 Urban parks were worthless if left idle and unused. Robinson maintained parks have a higher purpose "as relief from the excessive artificiality of city life, and from its strain and strivi ng," 30 though it is unusual that the only means to beckon the city dweller out of their windowless rooms are "numerous well placed chairs or benches." The transcendental respite of urban parks would remain unrealized without city dwellers to populate sce nic additions to city space. People needed to be lured out of their dark and destitute homes and into city parks. Reformers were left with the task of inserting pastoral values into a physical environment that no longer reflected the bucolic landscapes t hat had defined the country since its inception. Planners have attempted to tackle this illusive goal through a variety of schemes during the 20 th century. 31 Simply inserting artificially "natural" spaces into the urban environment is no longer appropriat e. Nature is still desirable, but not as an escape from the city as much as a complementary addition to the urban environment. In the 21 st century, park planning has become most focused on the implementation of settings where individuals can seek a perso nalized experience of the space. Subsequent park locations reinforce the individual's sense of place within their increasingly complex urban environments. Three Visionaries: Olmsted, Robinson and Burnham Urban reform that began in the 19 th century is generally referred to as the City Beautiful movement, although, in reality, reformers under this title employed various means for reaching their goals. Modern scholars have further delineated 30 Ibid., 322. 31 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 37.


26 the movement to expose two categories that are useful for class ifying urban reform. 32 Although consistent only in their tendency to overlap, City Beautiful reformist fit into either of two camps: the naturalistic (back to nature, environmental, passive) or the structuralist (coercive, ordered, controlled). 33 While the influences of both modes are basically inextricable in practice, it is helpful to delineate their principles and approach. The naturalist were firmly planted in the transcendent qualities of natural surroundings as realized through Frederick Law Olmsted, while the structural method, exemplified here by Daniel Burnham, owes more to the ƒcole des Beaux Arts and the desire to realize law and order through the built form of the city. People encountered the bucolic space of nature well before it was ever under stood or imitated through cemetery or park space. Landscaping and park planning have a peculiar relationship to their natural source. Nature's perfect spontaneity was the considered a model that was capable of uplifting the people. Early parks strived t o reproduce and enhance what were considered the restorative qualities of relaxation in natural surroundings. 34 It was only through the eventual absence of rural vistas in urban areas that their value was appreciated and proliferated throughout dark and co ngested city centers. The reasonable influence of the Enlightenment, romantic ideas of nature, along with the spiritual influences of transcendentalism and Protestantism contributed to the validations and rationalization of park space for the public's us e 32 Ibid., 33.; Boyer, P., Urban Masses, 139. 33 Boyer, P., Urban Masses, 139. 34 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 3.


27 and benefit. 35 Rural cemeteries encouraged the belief that nature provided an exemplary form, and inserting natural surroundings into hectic cities would necessarily balance out the immorality and filth. Pastoral America was still largely considered the presiding vision of America and the virtues of democracy. Many conjectured that transplanting the image of the idealized bucolic environment into the urban center would infuse lost republican ideals into the haphazard cities. 36 Much needed sanitation ref orm coupled with the popularity of the rural cemeteries would provide the basis for the two main (health and beauty) components of City Beautiful planning rhetoric. Recreations of natural scenery and ostensibly rational orderings of space would constitute the scope of park planning for most of the 19 th and 20 th centuries. 37 The success of the Civil War Sanitary Commission helped bring attention to the benefits of cleanliness and hygiene for the rest of the nation, especially the increasingly foul city cen ters. 38 Planners and reformers appealed to the healthful refreshment and aesthetic refinement attainable through the addition of parks. Frederick Law Olmsted, a sickly child himself, and had always believed in and exercised the restorative, healing pote ntial of nature. 39 He openly believed in the secular power of nature, and that absolutely everyone had the capacity to "be affected by it, made healthier, better, happier by [natural scenery]." 40 Olmsted infused the urban landscapes of the nation with valu able pockets of natural 35 Foucault, Power/Knowledge, 153. 36 Burnham, Plan of Chicago 53.; Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 34. 37 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 33 4. 38 Ibid., 20. 39 Rybczynski, Clearing In The Distance, 198. 40 Ibid., 363.


28 surroundings, using the stimulating and popular rural cemeteries as an example. Laurel Hill and Mount Auburn had, of course, been noted for being spaces of natural beauty and moral cleansing. 41 Olmsted shared the belief that behind the popularity of the rural cemeteries was the restorative power of the natural scenery, comprehensible (consciously or otherwise) by all. 42 Initially the head of the Civil War Sanitary Commission, famed landscape architect, Olmsted disseminated the impo rtance of organization, cleanliness and fresh, open air for physical, as well as emotional, rehabilitation. 43 Through his rigorous work with the Sanitary Commission it was obvious that Olmsted could organize large scale group efforts 44 but he eventually ac hieved the most acclaim for his ability to sculpt deceptively effortless landscapes throughout North America. Olmsted relied on the manipulation of park space to connect the dejected city dweller back to nature and its potentially curative and moralizing power. Sanitation and health concerns were obviously integral to the justification of creation of new open spaces, but more fascinating is the appeal to spiritual and moral illumination supposedly engrained in the attempts to mirror a natural landscape. Back to nature park planners believed that parks should be completely serene and free of institutional additions. Thomas Jefferson, himself a naturalist and avid landscape enthusiast, emphasized the prestige of a rural and rustic park 41 McDannell, Material Christianity, 115. 42 Rybczynski, Clearing In The Distance, 363 43 Ibid., 198 44 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 19.


29 free of artistic ad ornment, and preserved green space for public enjoyment. 45 Robinson too felt that parks should allow less privileged urban dwellers an opportunity to get close to nature. He believed that, somehow, "through its means they come to the knowledge and so to t he love of God; while without it there is lost the true sense of proportionate values, and the temporary and human are vaingloriously magnified." 46 Environmentalist planners believed that there was an acute difference between the average city square, which lent an opportunity to reflect on the aesthetics of the built environment, and the moral vitality and refreshment that could be provided by pockets of actual nature. For the park to attain this sanctuary status, planners and landscapers, such as Charles Eliot, F. L. Olmsted, and C.M. Robinson, advocated parks that functioned solely as parks. No municipal buildings, no institutions, no statuary; possibly a zoological garden or botanical garden, but nothing that was conspicuous against the serene leisure space of the park. 47 These austere rural cemeteries and parks at least offered the much needed benefits of fresh air and sunlight to tenement dwellers, regardless of whether or not they were able to get any closer to God through the trees. Though his ear lier parks were visibly influenced by English and French gardens, over the course of his long career Olmsted increasingly modeled his plans to accentuate to the pre existing features of the terrain. 48 Parks space like those popularized and proliferated by F.L. Olmsted & Co. did not appear to be 45 Nichols, Thomas Jefferson, 77 80. 46 Robinson, Modern Civic Art, 346. 47 Ibid., 348. 48 Rybczynski, Clearing In The Distance, 323.


30 designed at all. Instead, today Olmsted's work is commonly taken for granted and assumed to be remnants of forests that were left untouched by the build up of the city. He consistently underplayed architecture in r elation to his parks, routinely landscaping into the faade of buildings and bridges in an attempt to negate their visual prominence. 49 In the report accompanying their plan for Greensward 50 Olmsted and his partner, Vaux assert, "Buildings are scarcely a necessary part of a park; neither are flower gardens, architectural terraces or fountains." 51 This bold statement on park design was diametrically opposed to the example of decorative gardening popularized by the pioneering landscape architect, Andrew Jack son Downing. Though Olmsted diverged from Downing's neo gothic style, park planning as a whole is greatly indebted to Downing's insistence on the importance of common public park grounds as a space to be enjoyed communally by every class of citizen. 52 Ra lph Waldo Emerson had looked "at the world with new eyes" 53 and saw the opportunity for spiritual unity between nature and man. Unfortunately, the back to nature stance relied heavily on a passive version of park space that imparted vision as the sole mean s through which one could gain spirituality through nature. Despite its potential, natural scenery and park space was limited in its pursuit, which involved the absorption of moralizing views through leisurely 49 Ibid., 384. 50 Greensward was the title of the proposal for Cent ral Park. 51 Rybczynski, Clearing In The Distance, 167. 52 Huth, Nature and the American, 68. 53 Ibid., 88.


31 strolls, but excluded the type of physical en gagement that would eventually attract people to park space. Of course, not all city planners ascribed to the ascetic naturalism of back to nature planners. Planners aligned with the equally prolific Daniel Burnham believed that parks should have more to offer than the simple pleasures of trees and flowers. Burnham held the belief that structural embellishment was actually essential to meeting the demands of the modern public park. Coercive planning such as Burnham and Bennett's Plan of Chicago (1909) relied on a formal and unnaturally symmetrical system through which planners believed the moralizing affects of city planning could be thrust onto urban residents. Burnham's Columbian Exposition proved to be enormously influential to city planning in Ch icago, and the nation overall. The fair was hailed as an extraordinary forward looking collaboration between the two leaders in City Beautiful reform, Burnham and Olmsted, which predicated the path of city planning well into the 20 th Century and beyond. 54 The debut of the White City generated an influx of proposals aimed at imposing the neoclassical architectural ideals that had been used for the fair onto Grant Park. 55 One planner, Peter Wight, believed the distinctive character of lakefront property dem anded more than conventional naturalistic landscaping and that "art should predominate over nature, and symmetry take precedence over 54 or Olmsted and Burnham, depending on which historian you ask. 55 Lake Front Park was renamed after President Ulysses S. Grant in 1901.


32 picturesqueness." 56 Although C.M. Robinson argued the importance of impressive city thresholds, Burnham's proposed improve ments to the lakefront would have made the space hardly recognizable as a naturalistic park. Proponents of serene and bucolic parks argued that erecting too many unnecessary buildings would undermine the park ness of the space. Clearly the more edifices that sprang up, the less space there would be for shaded groves, charming ponds and idyllic meadows. Burnham, Bennett and other noteworthy Chicago city planners, envisioned Grant Park as a beacon of civility in the middle of Chicago. Their initial plans for development included "magnificent sculptures, monumental plazas, and edifices for libraries, museums, armories, and municipal services." 57 The Plan of Chicago proposed incorporating Grant Park into a larger civic center that mirrored the Sorbonne in P aris. 58 This nexus of activity discussed under the heading The Heart of Chicago,' 59 would have concentrated the Library, Field Museum and Art Institute in and around Grant Park. This "Great Composition" directly subverts the illusions of nature found in t he rural parks. Neo classical structures collected and superimposed over park space was a far cry from the winding and meandering paths of the rural cemeteries and English gardens that Jefferson and Olmsted had admired. 60 Burnham instead understood space as a means to mold local residents into upright citizens. 56 Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006), 22. 57 Ibid., 43. 58 Burnham, Plan of Chicago 110. 59 Ibid., 110. 60 Nichols, Thomas Jefferson, 78.


33 As an architect and urban planner by profession, Daniel Burnham was concerned with unifying the disparate and disorganized parts of the city into an interrelated whole. In the Plan of Chicago Bu rnham associates his project for Chicago as maintaining Haussmann's mode of planning, as seen in the renovation of Paris. 61 Like Haussmann, Burnham believed that city planning was a worthwhile investment in the character of its people and the earning power of the city at large: In creating the ideal arrangement, every one who lives here is better accommodated in his business and his social activities In establishing a complete park and parkway system, the life of the wage earner and of his family is made healthier and pleasanter; while the greater attractiveness thus produced keeps at home the people of means and taste, and acts as a magnet to draw those who seek to live amid pleasing surroundings The prosperity aimed at is for all Chicago. 62 Although Bur nham's intentions were admirable and geared towards attainable improvements to the city, the "trickle down" approach to city planning proved to be mostly inaccessible to the general population. 63 Burnham had truly believed that elite investment in circulat ion, health and beauty would expand the accessibility of the city for all citizens. He warned of the disastrous and costly effect of proceeding without a city plan, "for in the end good buildings are far cheaper than bad buildings." 64 Despite Burnham's ide alistic dependence on harmonious, systematic planning and architecture to relate character and moral values to the people 65 the 61 Burnham, Plan of Chicago 18. 62 Ibid., 8. 63 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 99. 64 Burnham, Plan of Chicago 15, 117. 65 Ibid., 117.


34 architect at least understood the necessity of attracting people into the center of the city. His plan for downtown was an oste ntatious center of commerce and education that appears overwrought by modern standards. Overwhelming monumentality of space would be staunch and alienating instead of providing a more pleasant and accessible vision of the city. In Burnham's formal vision the city space acted on the people and not the other way around. Ultimately, Burnham's plan for a central node would be stunted by the lawsuits of mail order tycoon Aaron Montgomery Ward. Effectively prohibiting building of new structures, Ward was able to prevent the Field Museum from being erected in the center of the park in 1909. 66 Though Ward protected the lakefront, he did not prevent Chicago from being developed in the neo classical style endorsed by Burnham and his colleagues. City Beautiful pla nning began to endorse Burnham esque principles, emphasizing disciplinary order and moral control. 67 While at the same time reforms also began to advocate a more physically active movement, stressing the importance outdoor exercise, especially for the bene fit of children. 68 While neo classically influenced planners rushed to rearticulate the magnificent structure and landmarks of France 69 Charles Mulford Robinson was particularly farsighted and articulate in his justifications for the necessity of urban pl anning and organization in the United States. A leading intellectual of the City Beautiful movement, Robinson understood that urban growth was dramatically 66 Ibid., 16. 67 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 37. 68 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 25. 69 Burnham, Plan of Chicago 17.


35 accelerated and specific to American cities. He indicated that techniques used to establish parks in Europe would be inapplicable in the United States due to the piecemeal development of their natural enclaves over hundreds of years. 70 America needed its own systems and solutions. Robinson's recommendations answer directly to the perils of American l ife as conveyed by Riis and his contemporaries. He specifically stated that circulation, hygiene, and beauty should be the three imperative concerns of city planning. Organized and directed pathways were necessary, especially as cars began to take over t he already congested streets. 71 Riis had proved hygiene was a serious concern for people living in the unventilated and sewage less tenement houses. Robinson's final requirement of beauty' had little to do with aesthetic beauty. Civic art was considered beautiful in direct proportion to how useful it was, and how cohesively the city operated as a whole. 72 Despite the sharp contrast of the naturally fashioned park to the artificial city landscapes, the "large public park has a distinct and definite funct ion to perform as in any other portion of its structure [of the modern city]." 73 Robinson, somewhere between the views of a naturalist and structuralist, acknowledged that the city should be seen as a cohesive structure and, although "naturalistic," the pa rk should be just as planned and deliberate as any other piece of the city puzzle. Disjunctive park space was viewed as a comprehensive component of a well planned and livable urban area. While Robinson's conception of park grounds 70 Robinson, Modern Civic Art, 319. 71 Ibid., 29. 72 Ibid., 353. 73 Ibid., 322.


36 offers a complete brea k and respite from the man made city, it must be congruent with and conscious of a well organized, neo classically inspired overriding city plan. To connect the two disparate parts, Robinson proposed a system of parkways that would thread municipal park s ystems together, although the realization of parkways and large avenues has produced dubious results. 74 Contemporaries of Olmstead, Burnham and Robinson, Chicago business man, Aaron Montgomery Ward had a very different, although no less passionate, vision f or the Chicago lakefront. In 1890, Ward, an affluent mail order tycoon, launched a thankless crusade to rid Lake Park of existing obstructions and keep it free of any new buildings. The lakefront property allocated in a 1836 provision, was official named Lake Park in 1847 75 though it scarcely lived up to the "park" portion and the lake view was obscured by unsanctioned buildings. In the wake of the World's Columbian Exposition Lake Park experienced a number of disjointed transformations. Notwithstandin g his endorsement of the World Congresses Building 76 for the Columbian Exposition, Ward was committed to banning makeshift as well as permanent buildings from marring the undeveloped landscape or its lakefront view. The private buildings of Chicago's elite (including Ward's own headquarters) faced the park and lake Michigan, where ad hoc shacks and general disarray marred the lakefront threshold. 77 Over the course of an expensive 20 year battle that raged from 1890 until 1911, 74 Ibid., 315.; Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City 54. 75 Chicago Park District. "Grant Park." Jane Bancroft Cook Library. (accessed March 2009). 76 This building would later become the permanent h ome of the Art Institute. 77 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 25.


37 Montgomery Ward attempted to b eautify and preserve Chicago's "open space" for its citizens. 78 After four successive appeals to the court, Ward succeeded in quelling the unchecked growth finally, when the Illinois State Supreme Court officially ruled that the lake front property was to be protected by the city "in trust for public use," and suppressed the efforts to establish the Field Museum on the park. Ward's tireless campaign established stringent standards for Lake Park and secured the park's future as an object of constant debate and concern. His litigation would eventually prove as influential to the park as the 1836 "free and clear" provision, though, unlike Burnham, Ward's work was underappreciated in its day. Ward's battle for open space proved successful, but the public did not hail Ward as a savior instead, he was actually considered a nuisance to the development of Chicago. "Had I known in 1980 how long it would take me to preserve a park for the people against their will, I doubt I would have undertaken it." 79 Ward purpo rtedly fought against development on the lakefront for Chicago's poor, but felt he was bereft of gratitude for his trials. Neither Ward nor Burnham's 1909 Plan completely took precedence in Chicago due to the obstacles presented to each by the other. Un til the 1930's Grant Park was predominantly developed in the neoclassical style so anachronistically copied from French architecture, and extremely in vogue at the time. Burnham's classical influences reigned supreme, though his vision was mediated throug h Ward's litigation on the park. Olmsted's farsighted landscaping 78 Wille, Forever Open, Clear and Free, 71. 79 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 79.


38 vision proved too difficult, or simply too unappealing for city officials to grasp, much less invest any faith or money in his far looking plans. 80 Instead, planners looked to the gardens o f Versailles and the archways of Paris, still retaining the false belief that Haussmann style neo classical structures would imbue discipline and dignity into an otherwise chaotic civic center. One Chicago historian aptly describes the cities inclination to revamp public space: "Both the city and the railroad made good starts, but then the Great Depression struck. And then World War II. And then who cared about the lakefront ordinance?" 81 Little of Burnham's grandiose recommendations was realized in Gr ant Park. 82 The Century of Progress World's Fair in 1933 further rendered Burnham's classical arches and parkways obsolete. 83 Piecemeal realizations of city and park planning on public park space had produced a landscape of proposals competing for what co nstitutes the best public park. The production and destruction of plans in cities has ultimately formed layered cityscapes where it is exceedingly difficult to find a precise locus of control in the design and make up of the city. Spaces have been consti tuted and reconstituted to suit the evolving requirements of a growing populace while still paying tribute to past initiatives. Park space is simultaneously produced, experienced and reproduced in response to preceding manifestations. As a vital facet of the public's domain, the dialogue on park space has continued to be contested in the present day. 80 Rybczynski, Clearing In The Distance, 215. 81 Wille, Forever Open, Clear and Free, 90. 82 Ibid., 95. 83 Ibid., 98.


39 The Rise of Millennium Park Debates over the requirements of a centralized park plan would return in the 1990's when the Illinois Central Railroad was for ced to acquiesce its land easement to the north of Grant Park back to the city of Chicago after more than a century of occupation on that tract of land. The organization of Millennium Park would be a large scale comprehensive attempt to harness the potent ial of the park space off Michigan Avenue. Mayor Richard M. Daley "seized" the opportunity to complete Grant Park on the newly regained land in the center of downtown Chicago. Daley saw the park as an opportunity to offer a turn of the century gift to hi s city of Chicago. He aspired to pay homage to Burnham's 1909 Plan with an updated realization of a centrally located civic center within the park. The park would encourage a "sense of place" within the surrounding area, and Daley hoped that it would be a wise investment that would spur growth in the downtown area, and improve the image of the city at large. 84 Prior to Daley's enterprise, the lakefront had benefitted little from the proposed renovations of The Plan of Chicago Of course, it had seen som e additions in the near century since Burnham and Bennett's proposal. In anticipation of the Chicago centennial Worlds Fair of 1933, a band shell was erected in Grant Park. The 1931 Grant Park Band Shell, modeled after the popular Hollywood Bowl in Los A ngeles, would define the programming and progress (or lack of) in the park until the 1970s. Presented with the task of 84 Gil foyle, Millennium Park 83.


4 0 ameliorating the concerns resulting from the unprecedented catastrophe of the Great Depression, the city broke with tradition and establ ished the ultra modern band shell. 85 Though it was completely incongruent with either Olmsted's pastoral vision or Burnham's formal planning, neither could have anticipated vast economic problems that would warrant this type innovation in parks and recreat ion. 86 Concerts were a good reason to go out. Between the years 1935 1941 the extremely popular Grant Park Concerts attracted more than double the annual visitors to the Art Institute or the awkwardly Greek inspired Solider Field. 87 While the concerts a lso served as a tranquilizing distraction for the citizenry, the band shell was not static or immutably authoritative in the way that Burnham's proposed civic center would have been. In the years following the erection of the original band shell a number of plans were proposed for adding a new permanent band shell to the park, but none were ever realized. 88 The vibrancy of Grant Park and its concerts fell into disrepair over time. By the late 1960's the park was becoming an increasingly unwelcoming area to the general public. Park space per person had shrunk dramatically relative to the rising population. At the time, Chicago contained only 3.16 acres per 1,000 citizens, which was only half of the ratio of the 1890s. This numbers seem particularly gloo my compared to Burnham's recommendation of one acre of park for each hundred people. 89 90 85 Wille, Forever Open, Clear and Free 47. 86 Ibid., 45. 87 Ibid., 50. 88 Ibid., 124 130. 89 Burnham, Plan of Chicago 44. 90 Wille, Forever Open, Clear and Free, 127.


41 Lakefront Gardens (1973), the last of many failed proposals for a much needed renovation/ addition to Grant Park, was overly ambitious and lacked the foundational fina ncial support needed to fulfill the projected year round civic center. Over time it became obvious that the Grant Park was unable to project the moral standards set out by City Beautiful planners. Like the elite sponsorship of the Plan of Chicago Daley planned on pooling private funding for a project that was expected to benefit the community as a whole. And like Burnham, he believed that providing a clean and healthy city would be financially beneficial for everyone in the long run. Unlike Burnham's p lan, however, the structures in the park directly respond to the recreational needs of the general population. In the Plan of Chicago Burnham argued for the necessity of systematic planning, "Good order and convenience are not expensive; but haphazard a nd ill considered projects invariably result in extravagance and wastefulness." 91 It's unfortunate and perhaps worthy to note that, like Chicago, most city budgets would be unable and unwilling to realize a project the scale of Millennium Park. Millennium Park demonstrates the efficacy of an emphasis on the quality of city planning and space that is unattainable through rigidly cost effective and uninspired construction. At least, Daley's Millennium Park project represents a renewal of interest in public p ark space and the usefulness of planned development. At best, the plans for Millennium Park elevate the practice of city planning by enhancing the park's structure with meaningful and useful content. Millennium Park is superficially a Burnham esque civic center; its design is 91 Burnham, Plan of Chicago 4.


42 closely related to the symmetrical separation of space that defined the unworkable Lake Front Gardens plan. Although it contains a number of functional and artistic structures, Millennium Park also attempts to combine the civic cent er with spaces of quasi natural respite, as well as appealing entertainment. Mayor Daley saw himself as implementing a final component of Burnham's plan in his work with Millennium Park. Of course, in Chicago any city initiative completed is touted i n the name of Daniel Burnham, and may not as much imitate Burnham as much as justify itself through his name. Burnham's preeminence is still readily tangible in Chicago. The legacy of Daniel Burnham and the Plan of Chicago has become an iconic specter, i nvoked in the name of nearly any city improvement plan. 92 Recently, citywide renovation projects have been initiated in honor of Burnham and The Plan of Chicago's centennial anniversary. Private funding has constituted many park planning projects in the United States. Involvement of the private sector was imperative ; spanning from the development of park space on private grounds and the semi private establishment of cemeteries like Laurel Hill, to the funding of the Plan of 1909 by the Commercial Club of Chicago. Walter L. Moody, a well known Chicago businessman, was chosen to handle the promotion of the Plan of Chicago when it was originally introduced to affluent investors and the tax paying public in 1910. Moody's job was to effectively endorse the p lan for adoption by the city of Chicago, which he did by depicting it as an investment in the familiar sounding 92 Smith, The Plan of Chicago 115.


43 principals of "civilization, convenience, heath and beauty." 93 Almost a century later, John Bryan, Sara Lee CEO, was given a similar task by May or Daley. Bryan ultimately was responsible for garnering immense private support for the ambitious Millennium project using planning rhetoric similar to Moody's, which in turn echoed the City Beautiful postulations of the early 20 th century. 94 Despite Ch icago's current status as a city with truly innovative modern architecture, the development was not always straightforwardly progressive. The transition between neoclassical and modern concepts of city planning is acutely visible in Chicago's past. Blend ing of traditional and modern buildings is present throughout the city, with the controversial Solider Field being the most prominent example of amalgamated architecture. The rift between classical and modern planning in Chicago was especially apparent in deciding the scope of the facilities to be included in Millennium Park. It was imperative to make ties with surrounding dated buildings, although it would be shortsighted to simply imitate Burnham's obsolete aesthetics within the park. Millennium Park contains elements of early and late 20 th Century architecture and ideas amalgamated into a very Burnham esque collection of park amenities. Like many other projects in Chicago supposedly completed in the name of the 1909 Plan, Daley saw himself as fulfill ing Burnham's desire for Grant Park nearly a century after his proposal. Idyllic respite, civic activity and a vibrant sense of space are employed to relieve the stresses of modern city living. 93 Smith, The Plan of Chicago, 118 22. 94 Gilfoyle, Millennium Park 22.


44 Daley's deference to Burnham, over Olmsted, cultivated a pa rk that is much less indebted to nature or even interpretations of nature than a park that paid homage to F.L. Olmsted would have been. Millennium Park contains no illusions about its urbanity. Park amenities are specifically aimed at providing an intera ctive experience to park goers. Millennium Park, although unique in form, acknowledges certain basic beliefs of Robinson and City Beautiful planners. Not the least of which is the necessity to coax people out of their small and crowded apartments and int o the light and space of the outdoors park. In lieu of attempting to entice isolated city residents through outdated offerings of meadows and statuary, Millennium Park beckons the populace downtown through an array of captivating and interactive structure s that advance a sense of place. The Crown Fountain & Millennium Monument: Ties to Tradition Millennium Park's Crown Fountain and Millennium Monument Peristyle simultaneously make reference to Chicago's planned past and are instruments of its future. The fountain is another in the long line of illustrious fountains found in the city, while the columned peristyle is almost an exact replica of the one that stood in the same place fifty years prior. These two elements of the park pay tribute to the oste nsibly civilizing structures of the park, with their own enterprising twists. While the Millennium Monument is perhaps the most neo classically inspired portion of Millennium Park, it also highlights a number of historical and up to date features of the s pace. While the peristyle is not the most commonly


45 employed architectural feature today, the circular column configuration was prominent features of Greek and Roman architecture. Peristyles basically serve the same purpose as colonnades, framing the entr anceway to prominent buildings or gardens, making them prime fodder for the neo classical planners during the early part of the century. The World's Columbian Exposition prominently featured a peristyle as the threshold to the Court of Honor. The recreat ion of Grant Park's original peristyle is the most obvious embodiment of the melding of historical and modern influences on the Millennium Park project. Bryan proposed erecting the Millennium Park peristyle as a tribute to the original Grant Park peristy le that stood in exactly the same place between the year's 1917 1953, as well as the Founders Group who had funded Millennium Park. Burnham's collaborator, Edward H. Bennett designed the 1917 peristyle, which was more or less replicated for Millennium Pa rk's Wrigley Square. 95 While the peristyle operates as an elegant formal addition that balances the more outlandish edifices of the park, the Millennium Monument also updates the meeting place mentality of neo classicism. Wrigley Square became a true mill ennium square for the public's enjoyment with the addition of a free Wireless Internet Zone on the premises. 96 The Millennium Monument proves its utility to the modern citizen by offering a functional amenity, while recognizing the space's history in a cla ssically inspired setting. Free and public access to the Internet allows modern citizens to blend the once exclusive pursuits of refreshment and 95 Ibid., 128. 96 City of Chicago: Public Spaces. "Free Wireless Internet Zones." Jane Bancroft Cook Library. (accessed Mar 2009).


46 work in its open green lawn, offering a space that responds to the individual needs of its users. Against the looming skyscrapers of Michigan Avenue, the Millennium Monument some respite from downtown traffic, while still acknowledging its urban situation. Crown Fountain, designed by sculptor Jaume Plensa, was a precarious undertaking due to the memorable histo ry of waterworks in the city of Chicago. The Crown Family chose Plensa's design over a proposal by renowned landscape architect, Maya Lin. The resulting statue is one that marries the traditional uses of fountains with novel ideas about a fountain's capa city for public interaction. Any fountain erected in Millennium Park would no doubt be compared to one of Chicago's most revered landmarks. Grant Park's centerpiece, the Clarence M. Buckingham Fountain was considered a technological marvel in its time, due to its high waterspout and enormous proportions. Designed by Edward H. Bennett, the Buckingham fountain was funded by a donation from the late Clarence Buckingham's sister, Katherine Buckingham. Since its 1927 dedication it has been a popular fixtur e of Grant Park due to its 150 foot center jet and elaborately sculpted base. 97 Plensa's unconventional fountain maintains Buckingham Fountain's model of technological innovation. The Crown Fountain is simultaneously a visual art display, an interactive water park, and an open piazza suitable for public leisure. City planners have always advocated public waterworks based on the example of impressive European fountains, and although Plensa's fountain serves 97 Gilfoyle, Millenniu m Park 109.


47 the purposes recommended by Robinson and Burnham it does not resort their traditional aesthetics in its form. People have historically used public fountains for drinking and bathing (even if they are not suppose to), but the glass brick towers of Plensa's design explicitly invite the public to engage with this playful waterwork. The fountain consists of two fifty feet tall towers that face each other over a 232 foot long by 48 foot wide quarter inch deep pool. The shallow pool invites the public to literally "walk on water." The towers, in effect, are gigantic LED television screens that display the portraits of approximately one thousand Chicago residents that change every five minutes. These portraits do not limit themselves to the commemoration of a single citizen like Clearance M. Buckingham's fountain. Instead, the fountain glorifies and reflects the entire city of Chicago. The enlarged portraits of common citizens make the insignificant monumental and establishes Millennium Park as a place for the people. Its considerable size makes it star k departure from prior structures erected in a post A. Montgomery Ward Chicago. Though the water is seasonal, the towers display the bright revolving portraits year round. Plensa was inspired by traditional water spouting gargoyles; figures projected on the screen accordingly purse their mouths and shoot water on the gathering crowd at timed intervals. 98 Despite the gothic source material, the Crown Fountain is not stuck in the past. Plensa's concept for the project also projects itself through time, in teracting with the future of Chicago by calling for 98 Ibid., 277.


48 the LED portraits to be cycled out and replaced over time. Continually adding new portraits will allow all the citizens of Chicago the community to see themselves reflected in the interactive fountain sp ace. 99 Plensa's fountain is immense. Although its height considerably steps on A.M. Ward's toes, it appears that a smaller fountain would have been incompatible with the scale and demeanor of the city of Chicago. When the fountains financial backer, Mr. Crown, asked Plensa if it would be possible to reduce the size, and thus the cost of the piece, the artist retorted, "Look Lester, my piece is in the right scale of the city If you could reduce Chicago, I could reduce my piece." Eventually the Crowns rel ented and the fountain was realized to Plensa's satisfaction. 100 The fountain is truly a spectacle. It is certainly beautiful in Robinson's terms, as a functional and interconnected feature of the city. It is also, if not unanimously considered conventio nally beautiful, at least unique in appearance, giving the residents of Chicago an adornment that is exclusive to their city. Burnham desired park spaces that were practical day and night, and all throughout the year. The Crown Fountain achieves this uti litarian manifestation in its form. In the summer month's children constantly congregate around the spitting waterspouts in bathing suits, and during winter the sculptural towers are illuminated and visible from the street. Their large size and striking appearance enables them to be seen from a distance, and can therefore aid in spatial 99 Ibid., 291. 100 Ibid., 290.


49 orientation. The towers helpfully illuminate the surrounding area after dark, and are visually pleasing, regardless of ones propensity to actually get in the water. Th e Lurie Garden & BP Bridge: Bucolic Interpretations The Lurie Garden and notable architect Frank Gehry's BP Bridge are the two most nearly pastoral aspects of Millennium Park. As Millennium Park is not a typical or traditional park, these components are not customary exemplars of America's rural past. The garden and bridge are similar to traditional park paths and space, but again, are contemporary interpretations of these essential park features. As a green space within the larger layout of the park, u rban Lurie Garden is more evocative of Andrew Jackson Downing's quaint gardens than Olmsted's comprehensive landscapes. Initially referred to as the "Shoulder Garden," the Lurie Garden has strong ties to the history of the city. The only juried portion of the park was inspired by Carl Sandburg's gritty poem about his hometown of Chicago. 101 Sandburg characterizes the city of Chicago: Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning as a savage pitted against the wilderness, Bareh eaded, Shoveling, Wrecking, Planning, Building, breaking, rebuilding 102 Landscape architects, Gustafson Gutherie Nichol Ltd., used Sandburg's straightforward explication of lower class living and labor to create a 101 Ibid., 295. 102 Sandburg, Chicago Poems, 4.


50 sophisticated urban garden. R eferences to natural environment are combined with Chicago's significant industrial past. Sandburg's poem pits Chicago "against the wilderness." Inspired by Sandburg's realistic depiction of urban life, the Lurie Garden presents a vision of nature that i n no way attempts to revive a lost or idealized version of nature. The union of the industrial origins of the city with compositions of nature produces a park space befitting a vast city adjacent to the contrastingly vast lakefront. The motto of the Chic ago is actually "Urbs in Horto" (City in a Garden), even though it may not be obvious from the history of its parks. The resulting garden is artistically planned and offers nature unpretentiously in the setting of a proudly industrialized city space. Lur ie Park's plates do not hide their status as deliberate scenery. The design for the garden is a complete departure from the artificially naturalistic layout of Olmsted styled parks, although back to nature ideology persists in the designers desired and in tended response. The appearance of a natural layout is not mimicked in Lurie, but local Midwestern ecology is evoked in the garden. The garden is split into two "plates," dark and light, by the "seam," a walkway along a stream of water that representing the changing orientations of the city to Lake Michigan and the movement of the water's edge over time. Lurie Garden does not treat city and park space as two distinct entities, both are recognized and merged in the consciously constructed garden. The sea m relates the beauty of nature and the lakefront with the artificial fill additions to the parkland over Chicago's history. The seam also serves as a wishing well of sorts, as visitors have spontaneously decided to toss coins into the water.


51 The dark pla te is planted with taller trees and shrubs that are meant to represent Chicago before its industrialization. While not contrived to look natural, this plate is planted with trees that will take years to reach maturity, as in an Olmsted park. Hedges stand in for the shoulders' that uplift the garden city and frame the space. A large metal framework supports and shapes the growing hedges, calling attention to the necessity of infrastructure even within a naturalistic space. 103 The industrial forms of the c ity literally support its natural embellishments. The dark plate assists in creating a dramatic contrast against the light plate, which is an arranged assortment of prairie grasses and perennials. Lurie's planners did not rely on rustic recreations of M idwestern plains. The plates contain a patchwork of different sites and artistically sculpted flora that is meant to create a dynamic understanding of the garden, where "every space has its own experience." 104 The spaces of the garden are more engaged with making interesting juxtapositions of space and color than imparting any horticultural prowess. Visitors can wander through the painterly perennials on avenues of varying lengths and widths, which are accordingly open or slightly more personal. The seam provides various leisure spaces, and terminates in a charming dock. The sculptural hedge frames encloses the discretional labyrinth of trees within. This creative undertaking still strives for a transcendental connection with the natural world through th e several paths and meticulously arranged flower gardens. Exciting combinations of plants on the light plate, and the various alcoves of the 103 Gilfoyle, Millennium Park 306. 104 Ibid., 315.


52 space evoke multiple distinct experiences of the garden. 105 Like the rest of Millennium Park, the design of the gar den is an attempt to cater to modern sensibilities of urban reality without discounting Chicago's overwhelming sense history and traditional city planning. Theatrical lighting makes the garden acceptable for exploration at night. Millennium Park's websit e also contains an extensive guide to the hundreds of varieties of plant life in the garden (including 25 different types of grass), as well as information on seasonal changes to the garden. The boardwalk in the garden leads seamlessly into Frank Gehry' s BP Pedestrian Bridge. Like the garden, the Gehry Bridge does not attempt to disguise its contemporary origins, breaking with the traditional structures that surround the park. Despite its eccentric form, its general purpose is the same as any other par kway that Robinson endorsed for the connection of landscaped areas. Its form evokes an anthropomorphic snake shape with steel metal exterior, resulting in an idiosyncratic bridge that is thankfully anchored by the corresponding Pritzker Pavilion. The win ding exterior and gentle slope leading down to Daley Bicentennial Plaza force pedestrians to take a leisurely meandering walk above the daunting highway underneath. The bridge is sonically shaded, and although the highway may not be picturesque, the Lurie Garden and Lake Michigan supply picturesque vistas both ways across the bridge. 105 Ibid.


53 Pritzker Pavilion: A Modern Bandshell Millennium Park's Jay Pritzker Pavilion, also designed by Frank Gehry, finally reconciled the dilemma over a permanent public concer t structure in the park. Gehry was attracted by the opportunity to work in what he considers "probably the best American city" and his relationship with the Pritizker family after being award the Pritzker Prize in 1989. 106 The choice of Gehry also represen ted a bold and radical departure from the beaux arts tradition of Grant Park, as he is known for designing modern looking structures with disjointed geometric shapes made out of metal. His notoriety also begot additional prestige and the interest of other benefactors and artists to the project. Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion towers over the rest of Grant Park at 130 feet high and, furthermore, is in strict violation of Ward's historical court case against building in the park. Perhaps Gehry's popularity as a world renowned architect silenced any opposition to his grandiose design, although, realistically, the acceptance probably owed more to quasi private nature of the Millennium Park project and the manager, Uhlir, who justified the height as "public art." 107 The top of Gehry's pavilion is particularly necessary for the acoustic integrity of the structure. The fact that the pavilion serves dual visual and acoustic purposes was calculatingly overlooked. Regardless of how one feels about the defiance of Ward 's mission to protect the park or the distinctly modern design, the completed pavilion is certainly striking. It can be seen protruding over the trees for blocks down 106 Ibid., 123. 107 Ibid.


54 Washington Avenue. The prominent structure is serves as a useful point to orient onesel f in downtown Chicago. It creates a sense of place within the city, allowing citizens to employ it in directional navigation and still offering the entertainment that the park needed to attract visitors. Getting off of Chicago's elevated train at the Was hington stop and turning down the street provides an initial glimpse of the immense stainless steel structure rising over the park. Lost visitors to Chicago need only to glance down an avenue to realize their position relative to the band shell. In the 1960's Kevin Lynch saw a demand for "vivid" landmarks to help orient oneself in a "cohesive, legible city system." 108 Unlike Daniel Burnham, Lynch understood the city to be "complicated pattern, continuous and whole, yet intricate and mobile." 109 Instead of conceiving of the city as an unbreakable whole, he saw the various parts of the city and interrelated, although not static. Lynch views striking additions to the city as necessary to aid individuals in perceiving city space abstractly to fit their specifi c needs The visual prominence of the pavilion ties Millennium Park into the larger scheme of downtown Chicago, offering the comprehensive vision of the city that Burnham attempted to foster. As a directional aid within the system of the city, the band shell is a useful in building an abstract conception of the city. If one is able to orient themselves spatially within the city's layout, the entire area 108 Lynch, Images of the City 89. 109 Ibid., 119.


55 becomes intelligible and interrelated. 110 It is simultaneously a point of orientation and a c entral no de of the city itself. The pavilion contains 4,000 permanent red seats that complement the extravagant Douglass fir and red curtains lining the inside. Beyond the fixed seats is the 95,000 square foot Great Lawn with capacity for another 6 7,000 spectato rs. 111 Spanning the area of the lawn like a huge web is the trellis of steel tubing, which serves as the skeleton for the sound system. Despite the sound system overhead, the lawn is relatively serene and suitable for active recreation. Performances at t he Pritzker Pavilion are open to the public and usually free. 112 "Audible Architecture: Chicago Nightclubs at Noon" was a series of free concerts that took place over the summer of 2008. Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs collaborated with a popular m usic website based in the city to devise a program that appealed to a wide variety of Chicagoans through an eclectic group of musicians. The weekly Monday performances were all free and considerately timed between 12:15 and 1:30 PM, permitting those who w ork downtown to enjoy their lunch break to the music streaming from the pavilion. The music was projected throughout the park, so lunching employees as well as the usual tourists could enjoy the performance from nearly any part of the park. Due to the e xtensive sound system the music could also be heard clearly from the lakeside of Michigan Avenue. On August 8 th I attended one such concert. Billed as "hometown heros," the local Chicago band Tortoise was 110 Ibid., 93. 111 Gilfoyle, Millen nium Park 223. 112 With the single exception of a $10 Tori Amos concert in 2005.


56 scheduled to perform. Despite a steady drizzle t hat would seemingly hamper an outdoor event such as "Audible Architecture," businessmen with sandwiches and enthusiastic youths sat politely watching Tortoise play for about an hour. Park employees were on hand to administer plastic ponchos, although the pavilion's overhang sheltered those nearest to the stage from the inclement weather. The annual ten week concert series is only one of the many scheduled programs offered at the Pritzker Pavilion. The band shell's website boasts free musical performances nearly every other day. The commitment to providing no cost quality entertainment is an appropriate continuation of the performances that had made Grant Park so popular during the Great Depression. The Bean: A New Vision of the City Affectionately ref erred to as "The Bean" by Chicago residents, Anish Kapoor's sculpture, Cloud Gate may the most beloved feature of Millennium Park. Minimal yet mystical, there is much to be said about this fascinating work of public sculpture. Impressing the committee o f donors and government officials, the British Kapoor's proposal defeated a popular American artist, Jeff Koons, with his proposal for a sculptural addition to Millennium Park. 113 Highly respected gallery dealer, and Millennium Park art committee member, R ichard Gray, claims he predicted the sculpture would immediately become a "Chicago icon." 114 He was absolutely right. 113 Gilfoyle, Millennium Park 120. 114 Ibid., 261.


57 Some have criticized the enormous legume shaped 110 ton, 60 foot long sculpture as being tasteless and kitschy, due to its popular statu s as a photo op for tourists. It is precisely this pristine and reflective surface that gained the sculpture its status as the most alluring and popular aspect of Millennium Park. Cloud Gate produced its own "Bilbao effect," for the city of Chicago. 115 Th e sculpture has received international acclaim and draws foreign tourists who are eager to bask in the Bean's reflection. 116 117 Cloud Gate is a well executed blank canvas. The sculpture's inherent simplicity facilitates an open ended experience of the piece Although Robinson had advised against sculptural embellishment of park space, the real subject of Cloud Gate is the surrounding city itself. The flawlessly polished stainless steel surface of the work is specifically shaped to offer an astonishing view of the skyline of Chicago. While the gigantic sculpture certainly has a presence of its own, it is only activated and made successful by its inclusion of the city and its people in the work. Looking back at the viewer, Cloud Gate defies the traditional static model of decorative sculpture. Kapoor commented, "Not only do you look at it, it looks at you." 118 Cloud Gate invites viewers to contemplate the built environment of Chicago and reflect on their position within it. Local residents and tourists ali ke 115 Denny Lee, "Bilbao, 10 Years Later." New York Times 23 Sep 2007, sec. Travel vel/1154689556068.html (accessed Mar 2009). 116 Roberta Smith, "Public Art, Eyesore to Eye Candy." New York Times 22 Aug 2008, sec. Art & Design (accessed Mar 2009). 117 Kennedy, Randy. "A Most Public Artist Polishes a New York Image." New York Times 20 Aug 2006, sec. Art & Design (accessed Mar, 2009). 118 Gilfoyle, Millennium Park 273.


58 are reflected alongside the city in the Bean. Visitors return home with photographs of Chicago's renowned architecture they may not have noticed in the background of their narcissistic photo shoots. Even if the outside does not stimulate deep reflect ion on the relationship of the individual to the urban environment, it at least attracts them to the space. While the outside view is striking, its audience anticipates the effect of the mirror. In contrast, the underside of the sculpture provokes the vi ewer in unexpected ways. Initial exposure to the interior of the "gate" is disorienting at first glance. Composed of the same, mirrored panels that adorn the outside, it achieves a completely different effect. Rounded panels distort the reflection of th ose who stare up at the omphalos of the sculpture, which has an unexplainable luminosity. The sculpture's interior effectively offers an individual experience of the same caliber as the outside surface. Kapoor orchestrated the public and personal capacit y of the sculpture: What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would engage the Chicago skylineso that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work. And then, since it is in the form of a gate, the participant, the viewer, will be able to enter into this very deep chamber that does, in a way, the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is doing to the reflection of the city around. 119 Robinson endorsed contemplation o f naturally inspired landscaping, but I doubt he could have anticipate the dual levels of contemplation possible through Kapoor's unique work. Within a substantially more developed urban landscape, the Bean's contemplative form comes closest to the insigh tful effect of park space 119 Millennium Park Chicago. "Cl oud Gate on the AT&T Plaza." Jane Bancroft Cook Library. (accessed March 2009).


59 that C.M. Robinson was seeking in park development, while also providing a vision of the city that puts ones relationship to the downtown in perspective. Cloud Gate, and Millennium Park in general, unite the salient aspects of pa st planning with a new vision of recreational and civic centers for the modern day. Like the new vision that Burnham popularized with his 1909 Plan of Chicago Millennium Park posits a physical model for public recreational space development that may beco me as influential as the White City was on planning in its own time.


60 Chapter 2 In devising such a comprehensive plan for a city's development, it might be well to designate the style of architecture that shall be employed in the strictly public build ings. One hesitates to speak of this, for the occasions when it will prove of thorough practicalness must be so rare that the suggestion is liable to have a visionary sound. It has been suggested, however, that in Washington the government buildings be "mo numental and serious in type, and preferably of the so called Classic style," with the understanding that the number of stories in a monumental building should never be more than four and should be limited to three if possible. An advantage in such design ation would lie in the assurance of harmony among the official buildings of the town, and in the tendency to restrain eccentricity and a violation of purity of design in that construction which is fraught with most danger to the community's aesthetic charm Private dwellings exemplify, indeed, all sorts of queer tastes, but they are not as conspicuous, nor considered so justly representative, as are the public buildings. In the construction of the latter, also, for their various purposes, it is not unlike ly that the democracy of the twentieth century will find its chief architectural expression. This will naturally tend at first, as it already has, to a bourgeois type. But the beautiful Gothic constructions of the citizens of Flanders, when they too came t o raise town halls in free cities, show that the highest art need not be despaired of. This example suggests, too, that it would not be wise to limit the choice of architecture to a style that is alien in period and clime. To do so might be relatively "saf e," but the safety would be that of a timidity that took no chances of great success. The lesson, rather, to be taught, is the old, earnest one of fitness. Charles Mulford Robinson, Modern Civic Art: The City Made Beautiful City Beautiful reformer, C.M. R obinson echoes the pursuit of a distinctive American style. While he lauds the implementation of deliberate plan for the city of Washington, he retained reasonable reservations about the preferred style. For over two centuries, architects, artists and pl anners have endeavored to foster an authentically American approach to adorning cityscapes. The nation's capital demonstrates the evolving quest for American space. Although the effects of the Columbian Exposition were seen across the country, perhaps no other city took the lessons of the White City to heart as much as Washington DC. The National


61 Mall aptly illustrates the attempts to develop an exclusively American vision. Traversing the mall is akin to navigating a physical timeline. The collection a nd situation of monuments on the mall displays not only aesthetic evolution, but also fundamental changes to the methods of commemoration. Robinson could not have predicted the overwhelming complexities of 20 th century American society, although his earne st lesson of "fitness" would prove to be just as relevant (if not more so) to the built environment at the end of the millennium. Monuments are material memory. As such, it is meaningful to consider the reflexive relationship between a society and the sy mbols it utilizes to reflect on the past. Distinct from the academic narratives and documents usually associated history, monuments are physical records in time. Although, like written histories, public monuments indicate which heroes are worthy of vener ation, and which events or significant dates are worthy of commemoration. By designating certain memories paramount, monuments create an image of who American's were, and hence, who we have become. Like textual history, monuments are open to public conte station and interpretation. The dynamism of the American public prevents unanimous compliance with the one sided proclamations of monumental messages. 1 For monuments to reflect the conditions of a democratically established republic, a progressive and co nflicting understanding of the nation's histories would have to be visually expressed in the memorials form. 1 John R. Gillis, Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 19 96), 10.


62 Stone and metal monuments anticipate a permanence that would seemingly furnish static messages, though unlike the private monuments in Laurel Hill Cemetery, the epitaphs adorning public memorials are not necessarily the final word. Public monuments may be fashioned with specific intentions, but their situation in public space renders them vulnerable to multiple and shifting interpretations. 2 Physic al presence and public accessibility can reinforce or undercut these meanings. Consequently, monuments foster a dialogue between past and future generations mediated by a continuingly transforming society. 3 Despite the American public's tendency to take m onuments for granted, as they become simply the backdrops of tourist snapshots, monuments have increasingly become focused on paying homage to their collective experience. Monuments are no longer simply passive recitations of grandiose historical memory. Following the devastation of the Great War, monuments across the world began to respond to the ambiguous price of armed conflict. 4 In the United States the Tomb of the Unknowns was established in Arlington National Cemetery to pay tribute to the contribu tions of the unidentified mass of fallen soldiers. 5 American monuments also undertake the added difficulty of attempting to personify democratic ideals through the traditionally hegemonic form of sculptural idolatry, as was the case with early statuary of George Washington. 2 Nelson, Robert S., and Margaret Olin. Monuments and Memory, Made and Unmade (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 3. 3 Nelson, Monuments and Memory 6. 4 Gillis, Commemorations 11. 5 Nelson, Monuments and Memory 105.


63 All monuments are, at their base, a manifestation of the identity and memory of a certain people[s] at a certain time. What were once relatively unquestioned pillars of national remembrance have become contested sites of memory. 6 T he breakdown of consensus over historical narratives has warranted monuments that recognize the demands and sacrifices of the American public. The country's necessity and capacity for innovation has caused monumental changes in the form and function of tr ibutary structures. The 20 th and 21 st centuries have seen the advancement of competing histories; accordingly commemorative memorials are evolving to meet the complex accumulation of individual experiences in mass society, while still making meaningful con nections with the collective community. 7 The formal and ideological underpinnings have developed inextricably from one another, shaping and reshaping monumental space. Washington DC's National Mall has been adapted to the ongoing process of reflection on a shared and contested public history. Recent additions to the Mall have addressed the individual's relationship to the monument and its situation within the larger monumental landscape. Possibly the most moving and motivating contemporary memorials are those that allow the individual to make a personal connection with the larger societal implications of the monument. In searching for the origins of an American identity, imitation of French culture is theoretically and visually inescapable. American politicians and artists 6 James E. Young, "Memory/ Monument." In Critical Terms for Art History edited by Robert S. Nelson and Richard Shiff, 234 247 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 237.; Nelson, Monuments and Memory 6. 7 Gillis, Commemorations 18.


64 alike readily deferred to French models in lieu of novel production. Not surprisingly, the National Mall was designed by a French man, and later remodeled in keeping the ƒcole des Beaux Arts style (exemplified in Chicago's White Cit y). Despite the prevalence of external influences, the Mall continues to reflect and shape the formation of American identity. Temporal Changes in Meaning: The Washington Monument In 1790, President Washington and city planner L'Enfant had ambitious pla ns for the development of the new capital, Washington, DC. L'Enfant's plan manufactured spaces that were simultaneously "empowering and overwhelming," by employing a decentralized grid and monumental avenues. 8 Through these devices, Washington and L'Enfa nt hoped build a city that could literally embody the precepts of the Constitution. 9 This concept is best understood in relation to what it is not. As per usual, Paris provides an illuminating example. Haussmann renovation of Paris took place only fif ty years after L'Enfant laid out his plan for Washington. 10 Superficially, these cities share many of the same attributes, such as wide crosscutting avenues and planned spaces of commemoration. Similarly to Haussmann's Paris, L'Enfant sought circulation a nd order through the large, symmetrically positioned diagonal boulevards in the plan. 11 Unlike DC, Paris is 8 Sarah Luria, Capital Speculati ons: Writing and Building Washington, DC (Durham: University of New Hampshire Press, 2006), 29. 9 James S. Young, The Washington Community, 1800 1828 ( New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1966), 9. 10 Luria, Capital Speculations, 14. 11 Ibid., 29.


65 laid out from a traditionally hegemonic central locus from which the "nautilus shell" shape of the city emanates from. In L'Enfants plan none of th e copious circles and squares created by the intersection of multiple avenues could be regarded as the specific center of the city. In this way, L'Enfant hoped to minimize spatial hierarchies, present in centralized cities like Paris, through a literal fo rmal translation of the balance and distribution of power in the Constitution. The neo classical layout of the city was clearly intended to compel and direct the people's experience of the city, just as the Constitution endows and restricts the activities of a republican government. Washington DC's plan attempted to reinforce and legitimize the image of the federal government through the informative features of its seat. Crosscutting diagonal avenues were crucial to generating the various viewpoints tha t L'Enfant envisioned incarnating the republican principles of the Constitution. He outlined his intentions in a memorandum, citing that the avenues were not proposed to add variety: but principally to connect each part of the city, if I may so express i t, by making the real distance less from place to place, and by giving to them reciprocity of sight, and by making them thus seemingly connected, promote a rapid settlement over the whole extent. 12 Instead of privileging lines of sight from the center of t he city, L'Enfant's avenues allow for all citizens to impose their gaze on the city. Just as all citizens under the Constitution have equal voices, they are also endowed with equal views. 13 Their vision of the city would be one of openness and accessibili ty, as opposed to a city 12 Luri a, Capital Speculations, 29. 13 Ibid., 30.


66 oriented around a single central locus. 14 Drawn into the design were plans to place statuary and national edifices at the intersection of the diagonal avenues that divide the city. The circulation of the avenues was meant to provi de the American with an easily traversable city, while the statuary embellishments would impress a sense of dignity and history to visitors. Through these apparently passive visual and spatial affects, L'Enfant and Washington hoped to promote a unified na tional identity. L'Enfant considerations exhibit his and Washington's belief in the ability of space to embody the republican commitments of the new nation. Specifically, marrying the plan of DC to the provisions of the Constitution. 15 Just as the Const itution has been subject to varying interpretations, the reification of the country's most revered text in the city of Washington, DC has cultivated dialectic reasoning within the built environment. If the Constitution is the textual way to communicate wi th the past, it follows that the city's plan fosters that relationship within the built environment. Providing order and guidelines to be elucidated in the future, both the Constitution and the layout of Washington, DC have been able to adapt and bend to their fluctuating requirements. Significantly, similar the Constitution, Washington DC was established on untrodden ground. Intentionally isolated from Georgetown and Maryland, Washington would, for lack of growth, become a city solely to devoted to hous ing and administering the proceedings of the national government. 16 Intended by its 14 Young, J.S., The Washington Community, 7. 15 Ibid., 8. 16 Ibid., 17.


67 planners to be a vital comme rcial center, Washington DC was incapable of exciting the interest of the people on the same scale as President Washington 17 By choosing to bui ld the city in the middle of a removed swamp, Washington's namesake capital more accurately suggests his own nobly resigned and distant approach to government. Henry Lee famously eulogized Washington as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the heart s of his countrymen." 18 The namesake of the American capital, Washington was certainly a celebrity in his own time. Following George Washington's death, it became something of national obsession to immortalize his likeness in marble or bronze. Antebellum American sculptors commissioned by state and federal governments executed numerous opulent monuments in an effort to solidify Washington's public image. Despite the quantity of statues made to represent Washington, none were considered particularly succe ssful. The unattainable specter of Washington's image is made apparent in Nathaniel Hawthorne's French and Italian Notebooks from 1858. After the death of our first president there had already been many unsuccessful efforts to capture Washington's true demeanor, which Hawthorne described as "a mild, benevolent coldness and apartness, but indicating the formality which seems to have been deeper in him than any other mortal." 19 References to his distance and formality demonstrate Hawthorne's admiration for 17 Sideny M. Milkis and Michael Nelson, The American Presidency: Origins and Development, 1776 2002 (Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Pres s, 2003), 70.; Young, J.S., The Washington Community, 26. 18 Guy Carleton Lee, The World's Orators: Comprising the Great Orations of the World's History (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1900), 335. 19 Nathaniel Hawthorne, Passages from the French and Italian N ote books (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913), 307.


68 the aloof rule of Washington's "classical republicanism" and his respect for the elite foundations of his patrician rule. 20 In his memoirs Hawthorne describes at least four different artists endeavors to capture not only Washington's likeness, but also h is iconic character. He thoroughly doubts that a representation made in the neo classical style of the period would be able to accurately represent Washington. Hawthorne was ahead of his time in recognizing the "faddish" neo classical style as inappropri ate for representing the pillars of American society. Hawthorne's analysis and criticism of these failed attempts reveal the necessity for a "proper" representation of this most important figure in American history. Hawthorne notes seeing a piece by the first sculptor of Washington, Jean Antoine Houdon, who worked during the president's lifetime. He notes that Houdon's work is "pronounced to be very fine," but adds, "I thought it good, but scarcely worthy of vast admiration," as he clearly supposes a go od sculpture should be. 21 Hawthorne found the anachronistic classical robes that Houdon used to interpret the presidential garb inconsistent with Washington's heroic Revolutionary figure. Upon visiting the studio of Hiram Powers, who modeled his rendering of Washington after Houdon's, Hawthorne's normally laudatory tone becomes almost reproachful. Hawthorne finds Powers' aversion to depicting Washington clothed quite problematic: 20 Stephen Skowronek, The Politics Presidents Make: Leadership from John Adams to Bill Clinton (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997), 52.; Bruce Miroff, Icons of Democracy: American Leaders as Heroes, Aristocrats, Dissenters and Democrats (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 50. 21 Hawthorne, French and Italian Note books 87.


69 What would he do with Washington, the most decorous and respectable persona ge that ever went ceremoniously through the realities of life? Did anybody ever see Washington nude? It is inconceivable. He had no nakedness, but I imagine he was born with his clothes on, and his hair powdered, and made a stately bow on his first appe arance in the world. His costume, at all events, was a part of his character, and must be dealt with by whatever sculptor undertakes to represent him. I wonder that so sensible a man as Powers should not see the necessity of accepting drapery, and the ve ry drapery of the day, if he will keep his art alive. 22 Hawthorne sees the costuming of Washington as being of the utmost importance in representing Washington, as well as for Powers' career. For Hawthorne, the realism of Washington's costume accounts fo r a large part of his character. The president would not be fully himself without the powdered hair or tailored coat of a revolutionary. He refers to Washington traversing the "realities of life," implying that a fanciful characterization would not be su itable. In Hawthorne's view it would be asinine to represent Washington as anything else but his authentic patriotic self. Possibly the most notoriously bad sculpture of Washington, Horatio Greenough's "Enthroned Washington," is such a problematic monu ment that Hawthorne declines to personally dissect the work. Instead, he recounts the critique of an anonymous third party: He spoke much of Greenough, whom he described as an excellent critic of art, but possessed of not the slightest inventive genius. His statue of Washington, at the Capitol, is taken precisely from the Phidian Jupiter he did nothing that was original with himself. 23 Greenough had noticeably copied too close from classical sources. Washington was at the beginning of his own mythology, he did not need Greek references to undermine his originality or authority. If "history is a gallery of pictures in which 22 Ibid., 274. 23 Ibid., 150.


70 there are few originals and many copies," 24 Washington was a masterpiece. As the founding father he famously set many precedents thr ough example in the executive office. 25 Washington himself would have been mortified by the comparison of his public image with that of a capricious Greek god. During his lifetime, Washington preferred to indentify with Cincinnatus, the Roman politician n oted for his disinterested virtue and devotion to the republic. 26 Hawthorne and his companion understood that the sculpture of Zeus with Washington's face was a completely unacceptable iconoclasm of the reluctant leader with an impetuous god. Regardless o f prevailing popular styles, a neo classical Greek Washington was completely incompatible with the "disinterested" unselfishness that characterized Washington's conduct during his presidency. 27 Upon arriving in the United States, Greenough's Zeus Washington fared no better with the general public. The massive statue proved too heavy for the Capital's Rotunda, and too preposterous to be taken seriously by the public. "Enthroned Washington" occupied several spaces in Washington before reaching its final rest ing place in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Still on display at the Smithsonian, Greenough's sculpture is recognized as a monument to the failure of figurative depiction, especially the neo classical, to portray the republican ideals espoused by Washington and his disciples. 24 Alexis de Tocqueville, The Old Regime and the Frech Revolution Translated b y Stuart Gilbert (New York: Doubleday Publishing, 1983), 88. 25 Milkis, The American Presidency 71 78. 26 Milkis, The American Presidency 69. 27 Miroff, Icons of Democracy 53.


71 Only Thomas Crawford's Washington in Richmond came close to exemplifying the republicanism that Hawthorne deemed necessary. Even then there were still significant deficiencies in the monument. At the time of Ha wthorne's visit to Italy, Crawford had recently passed away, and his Washington Monument was being finalized and shipped to the United States. Although he was not privy to the completed sculpture, he viewed a sizeable scale model in Crawford's studio: W hen finished, and set up, it will probably make a very splendid appearance, by its height, its mass, its skillful execution; and will produce a moral effect through its images of illustrious men, and the associations that connect it with our Revolutionary history; but I do not think it will owe much to artistic force of thought or depth of feeling. It is certainly, in one sense, a very foolish and illogical piece of work, Washington, mounted on an uneasy steed, on a very narrow space, aloft in the air, whe nce a single step of the horse backward, forward, or on either side, must precipitate him; and several of his contemporaries standing beneath him, not looking up to wonder at his predicament, but each intent on manifesting his own personality to the world around. They have nothing to do with one another, nor with Washington, nor with any great purpose which all are to work out together. 28 Although Hawthorne acknowledges that sheer scale and historical personage should have "a moral effect," he also points out that the sculpture lacked the ideological underpinnings should be prerequisite in a sculpture of Washington. Crawford's equestrian Washington failed to connect Washington's legacy with the "great purpose" of the federal government or the Constitution. He equestrian depiction appeared "uneasy," and deficient of the modest steadfastness that Hawthorne believed Washington should represent. Washington's fame was distinguished not by his equestrian grandeur, but due to his humble admonishment 28 Hawthorne, French and Italian Note books 125 6.


72 of power foll owing the Revolution. 29 Furthermore, instead of working in concert to espouse the ideals of the Union, the selection of fellow founders supporting the hero on horseback were not compositionally or ideologically cohesive with the rest of the monument. Hawthorne gets at the real difficulty in making public monuments (and of popular representation) in his final lament on the state of public art and depictions of historical figures in the United Sates: I wish our great Republic had the spirit to do as muc h, according to its vast means, as Florence did for sculpture and architecture when it was a republic; but we have the meanest government and the shabbiest, and if truly represented by it we are the meanest and shabbiest people known in history. And yet t he less we attempt to do for art, the better, if our future attempts are to have no better result than such brazen troopers as the equestrian statue of General Jackson, or even such naked respectabilities as Greenough's Washington. There is something fals e and affected in our highest taste for art; and I suppose, furthermore, we are the only people who seek to decorate their public institutions, not by the highest taste among them, but by the average at best. 30 Hawthorne's condemnation of "General" Jackson 's "brazen" equestrian statue and reference to "average tastes" reveals his distrust of common man partisan politics. As the close friend and biographer of 14 th President Franklin Pierce, Hawthorne certainly would have had an insider's understanding of Wa shington DC and Jacksonian sympathies. 31 He recounts Presidents Pierce and Buchanan's admiration of their fellow democrat, although his own sentiments seem be torn 29 Milkis, The American Presi dency 69. 30 Hawthorne, French and Italian Note books 426. 31 Hawthorne, Nathaniel, and Randall Stewart. "Hawthorne and Politics. Unpublished Letters to William B. Pike." The New England Quarterly 5, no. 2 (1932).


73 between both the desire for a distant, formal patrician and the strong leadership of Jackson 's partisan rule. 32 Here Hawthorne endorses a patrician system of government where the banality of the people is diminished through elite public representation. In a great Republic complementary monuments are vital. Otherwise our noble democratic pursui t risks appearing inferior and "shabby" in comparison to the achievements of other great nations. He considered American's propensity to imitate classical art a false and affected practice that had little resonance with the current political reality. Re volutionary republics have a practical interest in establishing new monuments to visually "break with the past" and forge a new identity. 33 Plans to establish an equestrian statue in Washington's honor were proposed during his lifetime. Washington actuall y chose the location for his own "Victory Monument" in 1783. 34 In spite Washington's celebrity, construction of the immense obelisk designed by Robert Mills in 1836 did not commence until 1848. The design submitted by Mills additionally called for a panth eon like temple with a sepulcher at the monuments base that was scraped due to financial and aesthetic concerns. 35 Ironically, one of the most outspoken critics of the unfinished monument was architect and sculptor, Horatio Greenough. His 1852 essay on t he "Aesthetics at Washington" laments the construction of the monument, which he finds "absurd" and predicts it will be "a symbol of huge aspiration and chaotic 32 hawt horne 364 33 Gillis, Commemorations 8. 34 Gallagher, Robert Mills 114. 35 Gallagher, Robert Mills 118.


74 impotence." 36 Greenough's condemning analysis of the obelisk actually divulges the seeds of its success. He believes the structure to be an architectural aberration due to the proposal for a neo classically styled temple under the towering Egyptian obelisk. He comments on the pairing: I do not think it is in the power of art to effect such an amal gamation without corrupting and destroying the special beauties and characters of the two elements. The one, simple even to monotony, may be defined a gigantic expression of unity; the other, a combination of organized parts assembled for a common object. The very perfection of their forms as exponents of so distinct characters makes them protest against juxtaposition. 37 This statement is fairly remarkable considering Greenough is the man who juxtaposed the first president of the United States with the Gr eek god Zues. Following the ƒcole des Beaux Arts, Greenough believed that artistic expression should be restricted to recreating nearly exact replicas of classical forms. The simplistic unified form of the obelisk paired with the distributed support of t he Doric columns in Mill's proposal seems to be a conscious attempt to make a statement on the origins of Washington's presidential influence and the significance of his capital city. The establishment of a single federal government (the obelisk) supporte d by constituent states (Doric columns) is exemplified in the original "E pluribus unum" design. Although Greenough objected to the mixing of Egyptian and Greek forms, he was comfortable with the obelisk as a monumental form (having used it himself). 38 In terestingly, Greenough seems to pick up on some of the inconsistencies within monumental commemoration. He comments that a column 36 Horatio Greenough, Form and Function (Berkley: University of California Press, 1947), 29. 37 Ibid., 24. 38 Ibid., 26.


75 is "essentially fraction," as it is removed from its context as a functional support, "a capital defect in a monument, which should always be independent." Even though Greenough protests the divergence from pure forms, he writes that the pillar "affords opportunity for feeling, thought and study in the beholder." 39 Regardless of the functional misuse of the column, the contemp lation evoked by the obelisk was too valuable to prevent it from being used monumentally. In 1855 the unfinished monument became the center of political scandal when members of the Know Nothing Party stole one of the 250 ceremonial stones that were collec ted from the states and foreign nations to embellish the interior of the monument. 40 The nativist Know Nothing party was so outraged by the marble offering of Pope Pious XI that they tossed it in the Potomac. 41 Although the Know Nothing's distain for the C atholic Church was based on a xenophobic prejudice against the Irish, their crime utilized the monument as a stage for debating (or, denying) which symbols should be adjacent to the founder of the republic. 42 Already slow progress was completely halted in 1854, when the Know nothings temporarily seized the unfinished monument. 43 The Know Nothing's moribund control over the monument quickly subsided, but by then Congress was attending to more pressing issues. During the Civil War the grounds surrounding th e monument site were unceremoniously 39 Ibid., 27 8. 40 James M. Goode, Th e Outdoor Sculpture of Washington DC: A Comprehensive Historical Guide (Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1974), 267. 41 Gallagher, Robert Mills 116. 42 Brent K. Ashabranner, The Washington Monument: A Beacon for America Brookfield: Twenty Fir st Century Books, 2002), 35. 43 Goode The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington DC 267.


76 used to pasture cattle. 44 Lack of funds and the ongoing War further impeded the project, which remained stunted at 150 feet until the impending centennial prompted Congress to renewed construction in 1876. Notwithstand ing the technical complexity of the Washington Monument's masonry construction, the world's tallest stone structure took an excessive amount of time to complete. 45 The precarious state of the nation during the Civil War was visually apparent in the incompl ete and abandoned stump of a monument. Its extended intermission remains intelligible on the faade. When work was finally resumed on the monument, the original marble used for the base was no longer available. 46 The lapse in construction is visible in t he subtle transition of the marble about a third of the way up the column. Although the monument was officially completed in 1884, the full potential of the monument and the surrounding space would not be realized until the consolidation of the entire Nati onal Mall proposed by the McMillan Commission in 1902. As late as 1935, H.M. Gallagher bemoaned the absence of the pantheon addition or complementary landscaping. 47 Notwithstanding the exclusion of the pantheon, the Washington Monument's triumphant comple tion crystallized it as a marker for the strength and unity of the nation after the upheaval of the Civil War. 44 Frederick Gutheim, and Antoinette J. Lee, Worthy of the Nation: Washington, DC, from L'Enfant to the National Capital Planning Commission (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univers ity Press, 2006), 65. 45 Gallagher, Robert Mills 118.; Judith Dupre, Monuments: America's History in Art and Memory (New York: Random House, 2007), 56. 46 Dupre, Monuments, 56. 47 Gallagher, Robert Mills 125.


77 White City, Capital City 48 Chicago's White City had thoroughly stimulated aspirations for organized, and therefore, civilized American cities. Washington DC was one of the first cities to institute a professionally developed city plan after the Columbian Exposition. 49 Senator James McMillan, under the advisement of the American Institute of Architects, commissioned the main contributors of the Columbian Exposition's White City to prepare a plan that would improve the capital's landscape and rejuvenate the long ignored and forgotten L'Enfant plan. 50 The dream team of Daniel Burnham, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., Charles F. McKim, and Augustus Saint Gaudens, had collectively inspired and empowered the City Beautiful movement with their work on the World's Fair of 1893. Clearly, the particular selection of these esteemed men for the revitalization of the capital city was no coincidence. The McMilla n Commission's report positions itself primarily as a continuation of L'Enfant's original plan. Burnham and the rest of Commission saw their task as fostering a dialogue between L'Enfant and their own recommendations for spatial organization. They credit L'Enfant's neo classical plan for preserving the space of the Mall as a cohesive unit, and proceed to expand upon it. 51 While the commissioners provide suggestions for the entire city, their centerpiece is the National Mall. The planner's produced a prop osal to reconcile L'Enfant's vision of a grand monument adorned avenue with the 48 Reference to Daniel Burnham essay of the same title. 49 Gutheim, Worthy of the Nation 140. 50 Ibid., 122. 51 Ibid., 132.


78 contemporary reality of aberrations from his plan, and the expansion of the city over the Potomac. The effort to symmetrically unify the space in a Neo classical style culmina ted in the symmetric kite configuration of the National Mall. 52 The plan focused on the Mall and put forth a number of significant changes to the existing landscape. Some, including the removal of the railroad from the center of the area, were realized. 53 Other suggestions, such as the embellishment of the Washington Monument's surroundings, were not. 54 Undoubtedly the most striking and novel feature of McMillan Commission's proposal was the decision to extend the axis of the Washington Monument westward o nto reclaimed land, terminating at a memorial to Abraham Lincoln. The report makes a compelling appeal for a Champs ƒlysŽes styled avenue parallel to the pool that terminated in a memorial, just "as the Arc de Triomphe crowns the Place de l'ƒtoile to the memory of that one man in our history as a nation who is worthy to be named with George Washington Abraham Lincoln." 55 Henry Bacon, who later designed the memorial was not part of the McMillan Commission, but shared the distinction of working on the Colum bian Exposition as a student under McKim. 56 Pierre L'Enfant assumed it was possible to construct a national identity through the visual field of the capital city. 57 Therefore, it is not surprising that the 52 Senate Committee on the District of Columbia. The Improvement of the Park System of the District of Columbia 57 th Cong., 1 st sess., Senate Report No. 166. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1 902) 35. 53 Senate Committee, Improvement of the Park System 48. 54 Gutheim, Worthy of the Nation 138. 55 Senate Committee, Improvement of the Park System 51 52. 56 Dupre, Monuments 89. 57 Luria, Capital Speculations, 7.


79 original plans for Washington, DC called for the co nstruction of an avenue not unlike to the one proposed by the McMillan Commission. 58 Although the dramatic scale of L'Enfant's plan ultimately made it impossible to realize in any reasonable amount of time. 59 Renovation and restoration to L'Enfant's plan was postponed until the resounding influence of the Columbia Exposition on the surrounding natural and social landscape. 60 Washington DC was the first, although turn of the century saw many cities, such as Chicago and Philadelphia, initiating centennial im provement projects. 61 The Columbia Exposition became the symbolic backbone of the City Beautiful Movement, giving a physical, albeit temporary, form to the model that planners and architects imagined. 62 Senator McMillan and the AIA hoped that this vision could be permanently imprinted into the nation's capital. The revival L'Enfant's plan was as ambitious as its origins. The McMillan additions eventually became just as significant to the city as the provisions of the initial plans. To the planners, arc hitects and artists that comprised the McMillan Commission, continuing a dialogue with the French engineer of Washington, DC must have been a particularly enticing undertaking due American's obsession over French landmarks such as the Champs ƒlysŽes and th e Arc de Triomphe. 63 58 Ibid., 148. 59 Ibid., 7 20. 60 Ibid. 137. 61 H. P. Caemmerer, "Problems in Restoring the Plan of Washington." The Journal of the American Society of Architectural Historians 4 (1944): 35. 62 Boyer, M.C., Dreaming the Rational City, 46. 63 Robinson, Modern Civic Art, 85, 94.; Glenn Brown, Paper s relating to the improvement of the city of Washington, DC (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1901), 67.


80 Their report entitled, "The Improvement of the Park System of the District of Columbia" (Senate Report No. 166, 1902) was presented to Congress in 1902. In its first lines the report defends the project by appealing to the "positive be nefits to health that the people derive from public parks" and the desirability of presenting a majestic capital. 64 The report also details the commissioners' research journey to Europe. It goes on to acknowledge that "slow and unequal" development had st unted the realization of the founders' plans for Washington, but promised to regenerate the capital using prevailing City Beautiful planning rhetoric: Either this development may be made in a haphazard manner or it may be made according to a well studie d and well considered plan devised by persons whose competence has been proved beyond question. Such a plan, adopted at this time and carried out as Congress may make appropriations for the work, will result in making Washington the most beautiful capital city in the world. 65 The commissioners suggest "the copious and even lavish" use of fountains to combat the brutal summer climate. Popular fountains in Paris and the Trevi Fountain in Rome are employed as examples. The Reflection Pool and shaded avenue spanning the distance between the Washington Monument and the proposed Lincoln Memorial was keeping with the L'Enfant's aims to inspire solemnity and, as the name implies, reflection. On the Mall, the McMillan Commission diverged from L'Enfant's plan, ch oosing to add lawns (instead of L'Enfant's avenues) that were more in keeping with the ideals of the City Beautiful movement. 66 The White City had provided 64 Caemmerer, "Restoring the Plan," 40. 65 Senate Committee, Improvement of the Park System 910. 66 Luria, Capital Speculations, 145.


81 the United States an international venue to display their rapidly advancing culture. 67 Comparatively at the time of the McMillan Commission, America was experiencing a "new nationalism," encouraged by the progressive expansions of the country's foreign involvement under President's McKinley and T. Roosevelt. 68 This new position in international affairs began shortly after the Columbian Exposition, with the Spanish American War and subsequent territorial acquisitions in 1898. 69 Roosevelt specifically justified his "higher purpose" of expansionism through Lincoln's strong use of government to preserve the Union. 70 Viewed in context, the choice of a single, centralized monument was required to demonstrate America's aptitude and proficiency as an emerging world leader, as well as present an image of a unified nation internally and abroad. Washington DC no lo nger aimed to guide the functioning of the nation, but was expanding to set an example for the world. Despite the McMillan Commission's claim that Lincoln was the only figure worthy to face Washington on the Mall, intricately divided sentiments during t he Civil War and into Reconstruction prevented unanimous public consensus on Lincoln's legacy. While abolitionist members of the Republican Party believed that Lincoln was unnecessarily reserved in his Emancipation Proclamation, many Northern soldiers for ced to fight alongside freed slaves thought the president went too far. 71 The tumultuous period of Reconstruction did 67 Rybcz ynski, Clearing In The Distance, 387. 68 Milkis, The American Presidency 203. 69 Ibid., 213. 70 Ibid., 204. 71 Skowronek, The Politics Presidents Make 214.


82 little to resolve Lincoln's image, as epitomized by the appearance of varied, conflicting and usually self serving biographies. 72 Congres s finally adopted a single memorial site in 1911, squashing the Populist plea for a memorial highway between Gettysburg and Washington. 73 Post Civil War society needed reinforcement of its monumental authority in Washington than a diffused highway. A monu ment on the mall would facilitate a symbolic juxtaposition of the man that consecrated the union with the one who upheld it. Charles Sumner eulogized Lincoln through a continuation of the founders' goals, "Washington fought for National Independence and t riumphed Lincoln drew his reluctant sword to save those great ideas." 74 Lincoln's placement on the mall was a testament to only part of his eventual legacy, that of preserver of the Union. His role in ending the "necessary evil" of slavery would not be p opularly recognized in the memorial for nearly half a century. Architect Henry Bacon, sculptor Daniel Chester French, and illustrator Jules Guerin were charged with the difficult task of designing a monument to Lincoln did not offend the sensibilities of t he South yet still honored and appeased the North. The difficulties of Reconstruction made this undertaking nearly impossible, and most post Civil War monuments generally failed to recognize the African American struggle or contributions in their histori cal record. 75 In his memorial, Lincoln's role was depicted primarily as the Savior of the Union, 72 Merrill D. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 67. 73 Dup re, Monuments 90. 74 Milkis, The American Presidency 151. 75 With the exception of freedman's monument funded by blacks. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory 58.; Gillis, Commemorations 10.


83 opposed to the Great Emancipator. Lincoln's monument was fashioned as a celebration of the reconciliation of the North and South that underplayed enduring rac ial inequality and presented the nation's "good side" to the world. Lincoln's stance on race was politically ambivalent and highly contested; the monument that bears his name was executed with comparable ambiguity. 76 The Lincoln Memorial's initially unce rtain stance on civil rights did not permanently confine the monument's meaning. The monument parkway originally designed as a space for reflection and reconciliation was transformed by the public's assertion of rights in the public forum of the National Mall. Mitchell Jamieson's 1942 mural, An Incident in Contemporary American Life commissioned for the Department of the Interior building in DC, depicts the first of two tremendously significant historical moments that transpired on the steps of the Linco ln Memorial. 77 In 1939 Eleanor Roosevelt granted Marian Anderson permission to sing in front of the monument, following the Daughter's of the American Revolution's discriminatory refusal to host the black performer at Constitution Hall. 78 Jamieson's painti ng controversially suggests an interracial couple in the foreground of the painting, as Lincoln looks down over Anderson singing in the background. 79 Anderson's spirited performance at the memorial and the ensuing monumental painting are considered the ina ugurating events of 76 Christopher A. Thomas, The Lincoln Memorial & American Life (P rinceton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 70. 77 Sara A. Butler, "The Art of Negotiation Federal Arts, Civil Rights, and the Legacy of the Marian Anderson Concert, 1939 43." Winterthur Portfolio 40 (Winter 2005): 175. 78 Dupre, Monuments 93. 79 Butler, "A rt of Negotiation," 178.


84 the civil rights movement. 80 Lincoln's symbolic endorsement of the concert in the mural set the stage for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s landmark speech with the Great Emancipator behind him. In the defining moment of the Civil Rights Mo vement, Dr. King aligned himself rhetorically and visually by appearing before the Lincoln Memorial in front of 200,000 racially mixed spectators. King's "I Have a Dream Speech," conspicuously took place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in August 1963 His allusions to the Gettysburg Address and Emancipation Proclamation reclaimed Lincoln's image to the purpose of ameliorating racial tensions in the United States. At that moment Lincoln's image was recast in the light of the Civil Rights Movement, an d the space on the Mall itself was recognized as politically charged in its own right. 81 Forty years later, an inscribed granite slab was placed on the spot where King stood during monumental historic moment. 82 Recently, a plan has been initiated to grant Dr. King his own memorial space on the National Mall. Contestation over memorial depiction is ongoing in the debate over the 28 foot tall statue sculpted in a social realist style. 83 Recently, Barack Obama has been able to visually, if not explicitly, al ign himself with Dr. King's vision and prolific speech by persistently appearing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Obama further invoked King and Lincoln's dual 80 Ibid., 180. 81 Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory 356. 82 Dupre, Monuments 92. 83 Dewan, Shaila. "Larger Than Life, More to Fight Over." New York Times 18 May 2008, sec. Week in Review weekinr eview/18dewan.html (accessed Mar 2009).


85 influence by referencing both in his victory speech. 84 Lincoln's statue and memorial, though a uthoritative, are a politically malleable text, having been altered by the pressing racial prejudice following the failed Reconstruction period. Either as a symbol of reconciliation or the Civil Rights Movement Lincoln's memorial recalls much more than si mply the man enshrined in the Doric temple in popular memory. The space additionally serves and remembers the various domestic and foreign political ends sought afterwards through affiliation with Lincoln and his physical monument. Mass Monuments and C ulture: The Vietnam Veteran's Wall Less than twenty years after the completion of the Lincoln Memorial, prominent urban historian Lewis Mumford dismissed monuments as incapable of accurately representing the complicated modern condition. "The notion of a modern monument is a contradiction in terms. If it is a monument it is not modern, and if it is modern, it cannot be a monument." 85 To a degree Mumford was correct monuments could no longer uphold the illusion of a singular and authoritative rendition of history. 86 His refusal of monumental forms neglects the public's desire for monumental commemorations, despite their inherent difficulties. 84 Wood, James. "Close Reading: Victory Speech." The New Yorker 17 Nov 2008, (accessed Mar 2009). 85 Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities (New York: Harcour t Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1966), 438. 86 Young, J.E., "Memory/ Monument," 235.


86 Minimalist forms and principals of the 1960's would not be employed in monumental space until the 1980's, but the lens of hindsight makes the shift of memorial architecture appear inevitable. Proclaiming that painting and sculpture were dead as forms of artistic expression, artists labeled "minimalist" were too in pursuit of a novel American style. Critics such as B arbara Rose and Rosalind Krauss called attention to the experiential capacities of minimalist structures. 87 The explicit spatial considerations and personal appeal evoked by minimalist forms would prove revolutionary to the establishment of monuments on a 21 st century landscape. Of course, history makes no claim to be inevitably straightforward or progressive. The neo classical digression present in the 2004 World War II Veteran's Memorial indicates that there are still lessons to be gained from the dyn amic example of the Vietnam Veterans Wall. In 1981 a 20 year old undergraduate student at Yale University was thrust into the public eye in the debate over her design for the proposed Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall. Maya Lin had won the contest completely fairly, being chosen by a blind panel of experts on architecture, landscaping and humanism from a pool of over 1,400 contestants. Despite initial debates over the design, the monument is now considered a tremendous success. Unsurprising ly, the inconsistent and uncertain nature of the conflict in Vietnam made the memorial project extremely precarious from its inception, and 87 Rosalind E. Krauss, "Allusion and Illusion in Donald Judd." Artforum (May 1966): 24 26.; Barbara Rose, "A B C Art." In Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, edited by Gregory Batt cock and Anne Middleton Wagner, 274 297. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.


87 Lin's monument proposal became embroiled in the debacle. Despite the approval and support of the design by the vete rans who represented the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF), a controversy arose over the simple and abstract design of the memorial. Among others, many veteran congressmen took offense to the design (including future presidential nominee H. Ross Perot ), which was described by some as a negative political statement or just a "black ditch." 88 The proposal submitted to the memorial competition was simple and concise. The design was created in conjunction with an undergraduate architecture class on fune real design. The polished, black granite walls that are subtlety submerged underground clearly make reference back to their content, a complete list of soldiers lost in the war. The list of names was to be chronological instead of alphabetical, the text was to be small and the walls unimposing in an effort to draw the viewer into the space. Lin offers a succinct and direct statement on the somber and humble form of the monument, "For death, is in the end a personal and private matter, and the area contai ned with this memorial is a quiet place, meant for personal reflection and private reckoning." Instead of formulating her monument to present an aggrandized celebratory image, she perceives the space as having a symbolic function similar to that of the ce metery. Furthermore, the monument functions as a dual timeline. The first chronology is of the names of the dead beginning and ending at the wall's apex to create circular closure to the violence and sacrifice of Vietnam. Lin also presents a larger sit uational timeline by orienting the angles of the walls to face the 88 Tom Finkelpearl, Dialogues in Public Art (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2001), 123.


88 Lincoln and Washington monuments. Symbolic views guided by the memorial's walls orient the audience within the larger spatial and historical context of the National Mall. Only a few mile s away at the Pentagon, the new memorial park commemorating the people killed on September 11 th employs a similar spatial awareness that intensifies the experience of the monument. The memorial is comprised of benches that represent each of the 184 people killed in the incident. Depending on the location of each individual at the time of the crash, the bench either directs the viewer's attention to the pentagon or towards the Air Force Memorial in Arlington. Although the Air Force Memorial does not expli citly reference the pentagon plan crash, the middle spire of the monument traces the flight path of the plane that hit the Pentagon, visually tying together both monuments. The visual symbolism of the flight path adds a touching dimension to the memorial that is site specific and fosters a contemplative relationship between the monuments. Although it is unnecessary to rehash the entire debate over the building of what has become Lin's most recognizable monument, highlighting Congress's initial proposed c hanges underscore the most salient features of the design. As detailed by one of the Memorial Foundation veterans, "The Congressional veterans idea was to take the design and change the color to white, put it, quote, above ground and plant a flagpole at the vertex of the wall." 89 The chronological layout of the names was also disputed. Fortunately, this idea was 89 Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. Directed by Freida Lee Mock 105 minutes. New Vid eo Group, 1995. DVD.


89 scraped when General Michael Davidson proposed keeping the design as it was and supplementing the monument with the addition of an explicitly fig urative soldier statue in the vicinity. Changing the color of the wall to white would have undermined the somber commemorative mood of the monument, and appears almost xenophobic in its privileging white over black. Raising the wall above the ground woul d weaken the connection between the form and references to cemetery aesthetic. Heaving the wall above ground would also make the form imposing and eliminate the effect of the gradual descent below ground. Had this plan actually been implemented, I imagin e that the modified monument may have had a similar effect to that of Richard Serra's infamous Tilted Arc (1981 89). Distinct from Serra, and his brand of aggressive and impressive minimalism, the memorial wall is sympathetic to the viewer and offers spac e for reflection and individual contemplation. Lastly, planting a flagpole would have interrupted the angles at the climax of the sculpture, and forced the monument to compete with the relative verticality of most memorials on the Mall. After a long deb ate, Lin's original design was realized with minimal intrusion from the representational "Three Soilders" statue haphazardly placed near her own solemn design. In characterizing her monument design, Lin states: I would say its anti monumental, intimate. No matter how public my work gets, it remains intimate, one on one with the individual. Even though I use text, I never use text like a billboard, which a hundred people can read collectively. The way you read a book is a very intimate experience and my works are like books in public areas. 90 90 Finklepearl, Dialogues in Public Art 119.


90 Unlike the static depiction of three multiracial male soldiers (which eventually needed to be further supplemented with a female soldier statue), the Vietnam Wall says little about the tenor of the war, and instead e ncourages the public to come to terms with the situation on an individual level. In privileging the individual experience, conventional monument making is turned on its head. The apparent focus on the individual experience over the mass perception of the monument is refreshing in a landscape of aggrandized neo Classical memorials. Intriguingly, the simple design of the wall lends itself to the placement of ephemera at the bottom ledge of the wall. The individual is included in the monument's collective recitation of history all non organic materials left at the wall are eventually archived and stored at the Museum and Archaeological Regional Storage Facility in Maryland. 91 Despite its outdated reliance on Neo classical form and symbols, the World War II Memorial includes ledges under the name of each state to mimic the alter like effect of leaving sentimental objects at the wall. The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall is conscious and proactive in its historical role. The chronological listing of the name s necessitates an index to consult in locating a particular name. In this way, the public is prompted to slow down and reflect on the real human sacrifice of the war. The extra time taken to look up a loved one's name is meant to meaningfully engage the public with the wall and emphasize the collective loss of the war. Interaction is also encouraged through the use of small text, suitable only for reading up close. The added 91 Allen, Leslie. "Offerings at the Wall." American Heritage Magazine 46, no. 1 (1995): 51.


91 experience of the ability to make rubbings allows for a physically engaging tac tile experience. The Veteran's Wall presents raw, unfiltered material (names and dates), and solicits the viewer to come to their own conclusions, or even more desirably, to question commonly held ideas about history and memorials. At best, the monument fosters a dialogue between the piece and the public. Unlike more traditional monuments of the past, which "may not remember events so much as bury them altogether beneath layers of national myths and explanations," the minimalist form of the monument doe s not attempt to project a singular view of history through figurative forms or conspicuous embellishment. 92 Lin describes her work with monuments as a hybridization of her dual interests in art and architecture. "They blur the boundaries between art and architecture because monuments, by their nature, have a function. But, it's a conceptual, it's a symbolic function." 93 92 James E. Young, "Memory/ Monument," 237. 93 Lin, Maya. "Thinking With Her Hands." Interview with Michael Krasny. Whole Earth Catalog Winter 2000. 30 Oct. 2008


92 Conclusion Washington and L'Enfant, however unsuccessfully, attempted to imbue space with similar translations of republican value s. Indicative of the varying conceptions over what those values should be, Thomas Jefferson proposed a humble Philadelphian grid for Washington, D.C. He inevitably found L'Enfant's grandiose plan offensive to his anti Federalist stance. 1 Between Burnh am and Olmsted, and from Hawthorne to King, conflicting views of American identity seem to be the only constant thread in a distinct national character. Anxieties over establishing a national culture and identity have been present since the America's ince ption. 2 Despite Washington and L'Enfant's attempt to cultivate a unified nation, tensions remain even today between federal and state rights, and citizens continue to define themselves through pluralized "hyphenated American" identities. 3 Throughout hist ory, people have defined themselves relative to their racial or economical difference, although those distinctions themselves rely on prevailing conditions. 4 The nativist, ant Catholic position of the Know Nothing party is just one historical example of e xtremist nationalism in a long line of attempts to assert limitations on a national culture. 5 Identity is traditionally formed opposed to some sort of binary or "other." In the United States differences amongst the general population 1 Luria, Capital Speculations 6. 2 Washington & L'Enfant wanted to unify the nation. 3 Spencer, Martin E. "Multicultu ralism, Political Correctness,' and the Politics of Identity." Sociological Forum 9, no.4, (1994): 564. 4 Ibid., 565. 5 The Klu Klux Klan and "U.S. English" being two other noteworthy examples.


93 greatly outnumber th eir similarities. Therefore, a positive version of American identity is necessary in order to maintain any at all. Ideally, this thesis would have considered the features of public space as they pertain to constructing individual or collective identiti es. What is it that makes one a New Yorker, Floridian or American? The "answer" could probably fill three theses. As the term "identity" is as problematic as attempts to solidify it, identity is taken here to denote a teleological tool used by individua ls to construct a personal narrative. Thus, identity is not an objective characteristic, externally imposed, but constructed internally through a complex web of associations and relationships. 6 It seems to follow that as parks and monuments are informe d by the disposition of the public (ie. Lincoln's changing legacy relative to the public use of his memorial space), connection to the built environment would reciprocally inform the public. Symbolic uses of public space (such as public art and monuments) would appear to be adept at facilitating a personal relationship between people and their surroundings. BBC America recently released a documentary series entitled "Married to the Eiffel Tower" which details five objectum sexual' women and their intima te relationships with a variety of inanimate architectural objects, from the Berlin Wall to an indescript picket fence. Although this example is obviously extreme, significant associations have been made between people and their surroundings. 6 Shelley Brickson, "The Impact of Identity Orientation on In dividual and Organizational Outcomes in Demographically Diverse Settings." The Academy of Management Review 25, no. 1 (2000): 81 101.


94 Sarah Luria recounts Washington Irving's explication of the political and moral character of a population based on their respective city plans. According to Irving, Philadelphians have a "fair and square" attitude due to their geometrically drawn streets, whereas th e New Yorkers are described as "just like their queer, odd, topsy turvy rantipole city." 7 Lynch believed that the form of the city should be responsive to the observer, and allow him to change his perception of the space based on changing needs. 8 Even th ough Lynch's desire to increase the "legibility" of the cities is well founded, he fails to offer suggestions as to the form of social significan t and open ended vivid" landmarks he endorses The crucial lesson of "fitness" and experiences of space shoul d be taken into account To put it bluntly, simply building an Eiffel Tower in the middle of downtown Los Angeles would not create any of the legibility of that Lynch seeks. Unfortunately, American history requires the repetition of this painfully obviou s statement. 9 Lynch at least advises that "strong symbols," (possibly the Vietnam Wall and the Bean) could create grounds for "well knit place ." 10 The increase in open ended and experiential manifestations of public space may be helpful in the formation of "place Instead of presenting illusionistic impositions of order and civility, through spaces such as "naturalistic" parks or precarious monuments to glory and unification (see: The 7 Luria, Capital Speculations 11. 8 Lynch, Images of the City, 6. 9 As L'Enfant's & the McMillan Commission's plan were reliant on European conventions in architecture. 10 Ibid. 119.


95 Lincoln Memorial), spaces like the Lurie Garden and the Vietnam Veter an's Memorial Wall confront reality head on. Maya Lin's Wall addresses citizens as individuals while simultaneously glorifying selfless contributions for the collective goal of defending the United States, and thereby rule of law and its Constitution. De spite its formal shortcomings, even the 2004 WWII Memorial pays equal tribute to the contributions of groups previously excluded from traditional memorials, such as women and territories of the United States. While the experience of these spaces is open e nded and personal, they ultimately underscore the collective commitments of the United States.

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