TAFT DEDICATED THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL 91 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) William Howard Taft, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and former President of the United States, dedicated the LINCOLN MEMORIAL here in the Nation's Capitol 91 years ago today, May 30, 1922.
Mr. Taft, in his role as president of the LINCOLN MEMORIAL COMMISSION, presented the memorial to President Warren G. Harding on behalf of the people of the United States of America and in the presence of ROBERT TODD LINCOLN, the only surviving son of our 16th President.
Lincoln Memorial Dedication
May 30, 1922
*The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States was responsible for the arrangement and coordination of the dedication by request of President Harding.
MOLLUS has directed annual commemoration ceremonies since that time.
The architect of the Lincoln Memorial was HENRY BACON while the figure of Lincoln inside was by DANIEL CHESTER FRENCH. Murals inside the memorial were done by JULES GUERIN.
The inside walls of the memorial have inscriptions of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address.
The Lincoln Memorial Commission was the brainchild of Illinois Senator SHELBY M. CULLOM** who had presented five separate bills from 1901 to 1908 which all went down to defeat because of the opposition of House Speaker Joe Cannon.***
Cullom's 6th proposal, however, Senate Bill 9449, passed in 1910 and the Congress approved the Commission's design and location in 1913.
**Shelby Moore Cullom (1829-1914) was born in Monticello, Kentucky and moved to Springfield, Illinois where he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1855. Before his election to the US Senate in 1882, he served in the US House of Representatives and as Governor of Illinois.
In the Senate he oversaw the passage of the Interstate Commerce Act.
***According to an article written by Susan Mandel of the Washington Post in 2008, Republican Joseph Cannon of Illinois, who had met AL twice as a young man, was an arch conservative who balked at the $2 million price tag for the proposed Lincoln Memorial which would make it "the most expensive monument," and twice the cost of the Washington Monument.
Ms. Mandel says that Speaker Cannon also wasn't pleased with the selection of the site near the Potomac River which he described as "that g....d swamp."
Shelby M. Cullom
U.S. Senator, Illinois
Photo by M. Brady/L.C. Handy
Library of Congress Image
The memorial is surrounded by 36 columns, 1 for each of the 36 states which were part of the United States on April 15, 1865, the day of Lincoln's death.
Above the colonnade are inscribed the names of those states and the dates which they entered the UNION.
Flanking the steps at the entrance of the memorial are 2 buttresses each crowned with an 11 foot tripod carved from pink TENNESSEE MARBLE.
The statue of Lincoln was done in Georgia white marble while the pedestal is of Tennessee marble.
Statue of Abraham Lincoln
Photo by Jeff Kubina (2007)
In 1963, the Lincoln Memorial was the site of Martin Luther King's historic "I have a dream" speech.
Six million people visit the Lincoln Memorial annually. On the wall inside they see these words...
"IN THIS TEMPLE AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS ENSHRINED FOREVER"
Photo by John White (2003)