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IWALKED WASHINGTON D.C.’S LINCOLN MEMORIAL
The Lincoln Memorial pays tribute to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It features a thirty foot tall monument of President Lincoln seated with a somber look on his face and his frock coat draped over the sides. The sculpture resides within a massive Greek temple constructed of a Colorado-Yule marble on the exterior and Indiana limestone for the columns. The front façade features thirty-six fluted Doric columns (one for each state at the time of Lincoln’s death in 1865). The name of each of these states resides above the individual columns. If you look for the state of “Wisconsin” you may notice a chip missing from its name. This chipping was a result of the lone shot fired by a soldier in Washington D.C. during World War II. The shot was actually an accidental fire by an individual situated atop the nearby Department of Interior Building.
Similar to the monument dedicated to our nation’s first president, the construction of the Lincoln Memorial was not without controversy or debate. Shortly after Lincoln’s assassination on April 15, 1865, plans were already being discussed to create an appropriate memorial to the leader who held together the United States during the Civil War. A tributary statue had already been erected in front of the District of Columbia City Hall (intersection of 4th and E Streets, NW) in 1868; however, a more expansive monument was desired. Congress formally authorized funds for development of a new memorial on December 13, 1910. Now all that remained was determining a design and site.
Multiple proposals were considered before the existing Greek Temple design was selected. Many felt the temple did not align with Lincoln’s “simple” roots and personality. Those individuals thought a log cabin similar to the one in which Lincoln was raised, would serve as a better representation. Then there were the automobile manufacturers who lobbied for a seventy-two mile highway that would stretch from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to the U.S. Capitol. Along the way there would be statues interspersed that depicted various figures of significance in U.S. history. Ultimately the Greek Temple design reigned supreme though and ground was broken on this selected site on February 12, 1914.
When architect Henry Bacon began work on his massive temple (a project that would sadly be the final one before his death in 1924) he quickly realized that the planned ten foot statue to reside within would appear insignificant to the structure he was creating. After having discussions with planned sculptor Daniel Chester French, the two agreed to double the size of the statue. Work began on the statue in 1920. Twenty-eight separate marble carved pieces would need to be subsequently assembled for completion of the monument. Each of the pieces was actually carved by the famed Piccirilli Brother family who worked under the supervisor of Daniel Chester French.
The Piccirilli Brothers were a family of renowned marble sculptors that consisted of the father Giuseppe and his six sons. Together they had worked on numerous famous sculptures throughout the United States. Their most famous individual effort was the USS Maine Monument in Central Park. Other collaborative works on which the Piccirilli Brothers contributed include the likes of the New York Stock Exchange pediment (1903), the Four Continent statues outside of the U.S. Custom House in New York City (1907), the Patience and Fortitude lions outside of the New York Public Library (1916) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. (1931).
French held an equally impressive resume of public works prior to his involvement with the Lincoln Memorial. French received his first commission in 1875 at the age of twenty-three after having worked in the studio of famed sculptor Thomas Ball (who had designed the George Washington Equestrian statue in Boston’s Public Gardens). French’s commission was for the creation of The Minute Man statue located in Concord, Massachusetts. In the ensuing years French would continue to deliver numerous works, each of which would equally impress admirers. Just a few of his most noted works include the likes of the John Harvard Monument (Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA, 1884), Abraham Lincoln (Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1912), George Robert White Memorial (Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA) and the Samuel Francis du Pont Memorial Fountain (Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 1921).
The resulting statue of Lincoln would tower nineteen feet high and weigh some one hundred seventy-five tons. It rests upon a pedestal of Tennessee marble that adds an additional ten feet to the sculpture. If the seated Lincoln were to rise from his perch it is said he would stand at a height of approximately twenty-eight feet tall.
Two legends or possible urban myths have long surrounded the resulting Daniel Chester French sculpture. One urban legend claims that if you look at the back of Lincoln’s head, the face of General Robert E. Lee may be seen peering out towards his former home in Arlington, Virginia. While this one is a bit difficult to ascertain, the second legend actually hold a bit more of a plausible basis. If you glance upwards towards the hands of Lincoln’s likeness, note how each of his hands is situated. It is said that Lincoln’s left hand is making the sign language symbol for the letter “A” while the right is signifying the letter “L.” Put the two together and you have Abraham Lincoln’s initials, “A.L.” While the National Park Service, who provides the official tours for this attraction dismisses this theory, it is intriguing to note that one of Daniel Chester French’s sons was deaf and thus he would have known sign language himself.
As to the unveiling of the Lincoln Memorial, it was formally dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1922. The dedication was led by Supreme Court Chief Justice (and former 27th President of the United States) William Howard Taft. Ironically during the dedication of a memorial to the man who fought so hard versus racial segregation, blacks were separated from whites via a rope enclosure.
Surrounding the sculpture of you will find a series of murals and quotes from Lincoln. The two existing murals measure sixty by twelve feet each and entail a six hundred pound oil canvas that was painted by Jules Guerin. Along the south wall is the mural titled Emancipation. Here we see an angel with wings spread offering freedom to a slave by breaking its bonds or chains. Fitting with this theme, and just below the mural is a copy of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. On the opposite wall (on the north side of the memorial) is Guerin’s Unification mural. Here we see the unity of the North and South as joined by the Angel of Truth. Below this painting is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, complete with spelling error. If you bear witness to the line, “With high hope for the future,” you may note that letter “f” in future was inadvertently carved into an “e.”
The Lincoln Monument has been site to multiple famous rallies and protests but none more famous than the “March on Washington” as led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963. It was here that he delivered his famous “I Have A Dream Speech” to an estimated 200,000 listeners. King was awarded the Nobel Peace prize the following year for his efforts on the civil rights cause. Sadly he would be assassinated just a few years later in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. The site of Dr. King’s speech, however, was forever immortalized in 2003 (the 40th anniversary of the speech). The marker, is a bit inconspicuous though and easy to miss. Engraved within a landing that is eighteen steps from the top of the monument, is a marker where King supposedly stood to deliver his famous words of peace.

Website: http://www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm
Address: Intersection of 23rd Street, SW and Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC
Cost: Free
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Washington D.C’s The National Mall. (Coming Summer 2012.)

IWALKED WASHINGTON D.C.’S LINCOLN MEMORIAL

The Lincoln Memorial pays tribute to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It features a thirty foot tall monument of President Lincoln seated with a somber look on his face and his frock coat draped over the sides. The sculpture resides within a massive Greek temple constructed of a Colorado-Yule marble on the exterior and Indiana limestone for the columns. The front façade features thirty-six fluted Doric columns (one for each state at the time of Lincoln’s death in 1865). The name of each of these states resides above the individual columns. If you look for the state of “Wisconsin” you may notice a chip missing from its name. This chipping was a result of the lone shot fired by a soldier in Washington D.C. during World War II. The shot was actually an accidental fire by an individual situated atop the nearby Department of Interior Building.

Similar to the monument dedicated to our nation’s first president, the construction of the Lincoln Memorial was not without controversy or debate. Shortly after Lincoln’s assassination on April 15, 1865, plans were already being discussed to create an appropriate memorial to the leader who held together the United States during the Civil War. A tributary statue had already been erected in front of the District of Columbia City Hall (intersection of 4th and E Streets, NW) in 1868; however, a more expansive monument was desired. Congress formally authorized funds for development of a new memorial on December 13, 1910. Now all that remained was determining a design and site.

Multiple proposals were considered before the existing Greek Temple design was selected. Many felt the temple did not align with Lincoln’s “simple” roots and personality. Those individuals thought a log cabin similar to the one in which Lincoln was raised, would serve as a better representation. Then there were the automobile manufacturers who lobbied for a seventy-two mile highway that would stretch from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to the U.S. Capitol. Along the way there would be statues interspersed that depicted various figures of significance in U.S. history. Ultimately the Greek Temple design reigned supreme though and ground was broken on this selected site on February 12, 1914.

When architect Henry Bacon began work on his massive temple (a project that would sadly be the final one before his death in 1924) he quickly realized that the planned ten foot statue to reside within would appear insignificant to the structure he was creating. After having discussions with planned sculptor Daniel Chester French, the two agreed to double the size of the statue. Work began on the statue in 1920. Twenty-eight separate marble carved pieces would need to be subsequently assembled for completion of the monument. Each of the pieces was actually carved by the famed Piccirilli Brother family who worked under the supervisor of Daniel Chester French.

The Piccirilli Brothers were a family of renowned marble sculptors that consisted of the father Giuseppe and his six sons. Together they had worked on numerous famous sculptures throughout the United States. Their most famous individual effort was the USS Maine Monument in Central Park. Other collaborative works on which the Piccirilli Brothers contributed include the likes of the New York Stock Exchange pediment (1903), the Four Continent statues outside of the U.S. Custom House in New York City (1907), the Patience and Fortitude lions outside of the New York Public Library (1916) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. (1931).

French held an equally impressive resume of public works prior to his involvement with the Lincoln Memorial. French received his first commission in 1875 at the age of twenty-three after having worked in the studio of famed sculptor Thomas Ball (who had designed the George Washington Equestrian statue in Boston’s Public Gardens). French’s commission was for the creation of The Minute Man statue located in Concord, Massachusetts. In the ensuing years French would continue to deliver numerous works, each of which would equally impress admirers. Just a few of his most noted works include the likes of the John Harvard Monument (Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA, 1884), Abraham Lincoln (Nebraska State Capitol, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1912), George Robert White Memorial (Boston Public Garden, Boston, MA) and the Samuel Francis du Pont Memorial Fountain (Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 1921).

The resulting statue of Lincoln would tower nineteen feet high and weigh some one hundred seventy-five tons. It rests upon a pedestal of Tennessee marble that adds an additional ten feet to the sculpture. If the seated Lincoln were to rise from his perch it is said he would stand at a height of approximately twenty-eight feet tall.

Two legends or possible urban myths have long surrounded the resulting Daniel Chester French sculpture. One urban legend claims that if you look at the back of Lincoln’s head, the face of General Robert E. Lee may be seen peering out towards his former home in Arlington, Virginia. While this one is a bit difficult to ascertain, the second legend actually hold a bit more of a plausible basis. If you glance upwards towards the hands of Lincoln’s likeness, note how each of his hands is situated. It is said that Lincoln’s left hand is making the sign language symbol for the letter “A” while the right is signifying the letter “L.” Put the two together and you have Abraham Lincoln’s initials, “A.L.” While the National Park Service, who provides the official tours for this attraction dismisses this theory, it is intriguing to note that one of Daniel Chester French’s sons was deaf and thus he would have known sign language himself.

As to the unveiling of the Lincoln Memorial, it was formally dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 1922. The dedication was led by Supreme Court Chief Justice (and former 27th President of the United States) William Howard Taft. Ironically during the dedication of a memorial to the man who fought so hard versus racial segregation, blacks were separated from whites via a rope enclosure.

Surrounding the sculpture of you will find a series of murals and quotes from Lincoln. The two existing murals measure sixty by twelve feet each and entail a six hundred pound oil canvas that was painted by Jules Guerin. Along the south wall is the mural titled Emancipation. Here we see an angel with wings spread offering freedom to a slave by breaking its bonds or chains. Fitting with this theme, and just below the mural is a copy of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. On the opposite wall (on the north side of the memorial) is Guerin’s Unification mural. Here we see the unity of the North and South as joined by the Angel of Truth. Below this painting is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, complete with spelling error. If you bear witness to the line, “With high hope for the future,” you may note that letter “f” in future was inadvertently carved into an “e.”

The Lincoln Monument has been site to multiple famous rallies and protests but none more famous than the “March on Washington” as led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on August 28, 1963. It was here that he delivered his famous “I Have A Dream Speech” to an estimated 200,000 listeners. King was awarded the Nobel Peace prize the following year for his efforts on the civil rights cause. Sadly he would be assassinated just a few years later in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. The site of Dr. King’s speech, however, was forever immortalized in 2003 (the 40th anniversary of the speech). The marker, is a bit inconspicuous though and easy to miss. Engraved within a landing that is eighteen steps from the top of the monument, is a marker where King supposedly stood to deliver his famous words of peace.

Website: http://www.nps.gov/linc/index.htm

Address: Intersection of 23rd Street, SW and Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC

Cost: Free

IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Washington D.C’s The National Mall. (Coming Summer 2012.)

IWALKED BOSTON’S SAVING PRIVATE RYAN TRIBUTE
Attached to a brick wall outside of 110 Charles Street is a plaque which declares this address as the former site of the home of John Albion Andrew. Who was Mr. Andrew? To local historians he is best remembered as the 25th Governor of the state of Massachusetts, a term which he served during a period of the Civil War.
What is perhaps more intriguing regarding Mr. Andrew, however, is that he was actually the impetus for one of the most famous letters ever written in American History. Andrew’s letter to his cousin in 1864 about a mother that had lost five children during the war spurred a heart-felt response from its recipient. You may best recall having heard this letter in the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan, as General George Marshall reads the letter from President Abraham Lincoln to his troops inspiring the premise for the remainder of the film.

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Albion_Andrew
Address: 110 Charles Street, Boston, MA
Cost: Free.
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Boston’s Beacon Hill. Purchase the MP3 tour here. iPhone application tour is available here. Please note, all Boston tours are now available as in-app purchases upon download of our FREEBoston Lite application, which includes a free 1 hour tour of a portion of Downtown.)

IWALKED BOSTON’S SAVING PRIVATE RYAN TRIBUTE

Attached to a brick wall outside of 110 Charles Street is a plaque which declares this address as the former site of the home of John Albion Andrew. Who was Mr. Andrew? To local historians he is best remembered as the 25th Governor of the state of Massachusetts, a term which he served during a period of the Civil War.

What is perhaps more intriguing regarding Mr. Andrew, however, is that he was actually the impetus for one of the most famous letters ever written in American History. Andrew’s letter to his cousin in 1864 about a mother that had lost five children during the war spurred a heart-felt response from its recipient. You may best recall having heard this letter in the 1998 movie, Saving Private Ryan, as General George Marshall reads the letter from President Abraham Lincoln to his troops inspiring the premise for the remainder of the film.

Websitehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Albion_Andrew

Address110 Charles Street, Boston, MA

Cost: Free.

IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Boston’s Beacon Hill. Purchase the MP3 tour here. iPhone application tour is available here. Please note, all Boston tours are now available as in-app purchases upon download of our FREEBoston Lite application, which includes a free 1 hour tour of a portion of Downtown.)

IWALKED NEW YORK CITY’S LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS (HISTORY)
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 15-acre complex of buildings home to New York’s Opera, Ballet, Philharmonic Orchestra and much more. In the 1950s and 1960s this area was a seventeen block neighborhood of brick tenements home to many Puerto Rican immigrants and known as San Juan Hill. Their tale became largely famous through the 1957 Broadway hit, West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. Just four years later when filming began for the Hollywood interpretation of the musical, directors would have to find new locales to replicate San Juan Hill as it had been completely razed for redevelopment.
Efforts had already begun in the 1950s to replace the dreary tenements with a new center for culture. The first significant barrier however was in obtaining rights to the proposed site. This was accomplished via eminent domain when the city seized the properties as part its urban renewal plans. These plans called for relocation of the existing 7,000 residents within the neighborhood, a large portion of which never saw these promises come to fruition.
Lincoln Center was officially approved for construction in 1956 and President Eisenhower broke ground for the facility in May 1959. To help fund the $184.5 million project, John D. Rockefeller III actually contributed one-half of the funds from his own pocket.
As to the derivation of the name Lincoln Center, no one is really certain as to where it came from. It is largely believed to be a tribute to Abraham Lincoln but no validation of this exists within city records. The name for the area can actually be traced back to 1906 via records from the New York City Board of Alderman (equivalent to the city council). It is believed by some that this apparent omission may be partly driven by the fact that then New York mayor, George B. McClellan Jr., refused acknowledgement of the former President. McClellan Jr’s father had been a major general for the Union Army during the Civil War who had had numerous disputes with Lincoln. McClellan’s disdain for Lincoln even went so far as to run versus him for the Presidency in 1864.
In regards to the current complex, the Avery Fisher Hall was completed in 1962 and followed by the David H. Koch Theatre in 1964 and then the Metropolitan Opera House. The center-piece of the plaza consists of a fountain by Philip Johnson and a sculpture titled The Reclining Figure by Henry Moore.
To learn more about some of the buildings of interest within Lincoln Center you may select from one of the links below:
Metropolitan Opera House
Avery Fisher Hall
David H. Koch Theater
Vivian Beaumont Theater & Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater
Website: http://new.lincolncenter.org/live/
Address: 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City, NY
Cost: Free to enjoy the plaza. For ticket information please see website above.
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: New York City’s Upper West Side. (Purchase/download the MP3 tour here. iPhone application tour is available here. Please note, all NYC tours are now available as in-app purchases upon download of our FREE NYC Lite application, which includes a free 1.5 hour tour of a portion of the Upper West Side.)

IWALKED NEW YORK CITY’S LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS (HISTORY)

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is a 15-acre complex of buildings home to New York’s Opera, Ballet, Philharmonic Orchestra and much more. In the 1950s and 1960s this area was a seventeen block neighborhood of brick tenements home to many Puerto Rican immigrants and known as San Juan Hill. Their tale became largely famous through the 1957 Broadway hit, West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. Just four years later when filming began for the Hollywood interpretation of the musical, directors would have to find new locales to replicate San Juan Hill as it had been completely razed for redevelopment.

Efforts had already begun in the 1950s to replace the dreary tenements with a new center for culture. The first significant barrier however was in obtaining rights to the proposed site. This was accomplished via eminent domain when the city seized the properties as part its urban renewal plans. These plans called for relocation of the existing 7,000 residents within the neighborhood, a large portion of which never saw these promises come to fruition.

Lincoln Center was officially approved for construction in 1956 and President Eisenhower broke ground for the facility in May 1959. To help fund the $184.5 million project, John D. Rockefeller III actually contributed one-half of the funds from his own pocket.

As to the derivation of the name Lincoln Center, no one is really certain as to where it came from. It is largely believed to be a tribute to Abraham Lincoln but no validation of this exists within city records. The name for the area can actually be traced back to 1906 via records from the New York City Board of Alderman (equivalent to the city council). It is believed by some that this apparent omission may be partly driven by the fact that then New York mayor, George B. McClellan Jr., refused acknowledgement of the former President. McClellan Jr’s father had been a major general for the Union Army during the Civil War who had had numerous disputes with Lincoln. McClellan’s disdain for Lincoln even went so far as to run versus him for the Presidency in 1864.

In regards to the current complex, the Avery Fisher Hall was completed in 1962 and followed by the David H. Koch Theatre in 1964 and then the Metropolitan Opera House. The center-piece of the plaza consists of a fountain by Philip Johnson and a sculpture titled The Reclining Figure by Henry Moore.

To learn more about some of the buildings of interest within Lincoln Center you may select from one of the links below:

  1. Metropolitan Opera House
  2. Avery Fisher Hall
  3. David H. Koch Theater
  4. Vivian Beaumont Theater & Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater

Website: http://new.lincolncenter.org/live/

Address: 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York City, NY

Cost: Free to enjoy the plaza. For ticket information please see website above.

IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: New York City’s Upper West Side. (Purchase/download the MP3 tour here. iPhone application tour is available here. Please note, all NYC tours are now available as in-app purchases upon download of our FREE NYC Lite application, which includes a free 1.5 hour tour of a portion of the Upper West Side.)


IWALKED BOSTON’S TREMONT TEMPLE
The Tremont Temple opened in 1827 and became the first integrated church in all of Boston. This occurred when a white man by the name of Timothy Gilbert invited some black friends to mass at the nearby Charles Street Meeting House in Beacon Hill. Despite being well known as a building where abolitionist speakers often provided public speeches, it was a shock when Mr. Gilbert and “guests” attempted to attend mass together. Upon being expelled, Mr. Gilbert and a handful of followers relocated to the Tremont Temple.
Tremont Temple was also known as the first local church to not charge a pew rent to individuals whom attended mass here. Instead it decided to subsidize its costs by renting out the lower floors to retail shops, the upper floors for commercial official space and the popular theater for public use.
The theater when it opened was the second in all of Boston and presented audiences with an alternative to the nearby Federal Street Theatre. Unfortunately the Tremont Temple Theater never proved as successful as its predecessor and never actually achieved a profit in its entire sixteen years of existence.
The theater did provide home though for some significant speakers in its time such as President Lincoln whom once spoke here. This theater was also the site of Charles Dickens public readings of a Christmas Carol during one of his tours.
From 1910 until the late 1920s the theater also served as a movie theater. All commercial leasing was eventually expired by the church in 1956. Today the church serves as a Baptist church for its followers.
In reference to the building itself, the current one is actually the 4th incarnation after the prior three all burned down. This latest edifice dates back to May 1896 and was designed by Clarence Blackall who is said to have designed approximately 300 theaters in his lifetime.

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremont_Temple     
Address: 88 Tremont Street
Cost: Free
IWalked Audio Tours To See This Site: Boston’s North Downtown

IWALKED BOSTON’S TREMONT TEMPLE

The Tremont Temple opened in 1827 and became the first integrated church in all of Boston. This occurred when a white man by the name of Timothy Gilbert invited some black friends to mass at the nearby Charles Street Meeting House in Beacon Hill. Despite being well known as a building where abolitionist speakers often provided public speeches, it was a shock when Mr. Gilbert and “guests” attempted to attend mass together. Upon being expelled, Mr. Gilbert and a handful of followers relocated to the Tremont Temple.

Tremont Temple was also known as the first local church to not charge a pew rent to individuals whom attended mass here. Instead it decided to subsidize its costs by renting out the lower floors to retail shops, the upper floors for commercial official space and the popular theater for public use.

The theater when it opened was the second in all of Boston and presented audiences with an alternative to the nearby Federal Street Theatre. Unfortunately the Tremont Temple Theater never proved as successful as its predecessor and never actually achieved a profit in its entire sixteen years of existence.

The theater did provide home though for some significant speakers in its time such as President Lincoln whom once spoke here. This theater was also the site of Charles Dickens public readings of a Christmas Carol during one of his tours.

From 1910 until the late 1920s the theater also served as a movie theater. All commercial leasing was eventually expired by the church in 1956. Today the church serves as a Baptist church for its followers.

In reference to the building itself, the current one is actually the 4th incarnation after the prior three all burned down. This latest edifice dates back to May 1896 and was designed by Clarence Blackall who is said to have designed approximately 300 theaters in his lifetime.

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tremont_Temple     

Address: 88 Tremont Street

Cost: Free

IWalked Audio Tours To See This SiteBoston’s North Downtown