75th Anniversary of the George Rogers Clark National MonumentBy
Today June 14th, 75 years ago, MacNeil’s statue of George Rogers Clark was dedicated by President Roosevelt:
Timeline of the Monument:
- 1928 - May 23 — President Calvin Coolidge signs bill establishing the George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission.
- 1930 – February 14 — Frederick C. Hirons is selected as architect of the memorial.
- October 2 — Commission selects Erza Winter to paint the memorial murals.
- December 1 — Hermon MacNeil is selected to sculpt statuary.
- 1933 – May 26 — Contractor W R. Heath informs George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission that memorial is complete.
- 1934 – April — Heath Construction Company arranges to have workers make first in a series of repairs of structure to try and stop leakage.
- 1936 – June 14 — President Franklin D. Roosevelt participates in dedication of George Rogers Clark Memorial.
President and Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt En route to the dedication of the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes, IN, on June 14, 1936 (Knecht 4878)
- Click to view enlarged image.
- [Photo Credit: at http://www.willard.lib.in.us/online_resources/photography_gallery_detail.php?ID=22 ]
- Enansville (IN) Courier & Press article : http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/may/25/vincennes-memorials-restoration-is-75-years-in/
The Clark Memorial is more than 80 feet high and is 90 feet across at the base. The walls are two feet thick. The exterior is composed of granite from Vermont, Minnesota, and Alabama. Towering over the entrance is an eagle with outspread wings. Above the 16 Doric columns is an inscription which reads: “The Conquest of the West – George Rogers Clark and The Frontiersmen of the American Revolution.”
Inside the rotunda are seven murals, each created on a single piece of Belgium linen 16 feet by 28 feet. They were painted by Ezra Winter during a period of approximately two and a half years. Hermon Atkins MacNeil, designer of the Standing Liberty quarter, sculptured the bronze statue of Clark. Three of Clark’s quotations are inscribed in the memorial: “Great things have been effected by a few men well conducted;” “Our cause is just . . . our country will be grateful;” and “If a country is not worth protecting it is not worth claiming.” There are Roman numerals at three locations. Left of the steps are the numerals, 1931, the year construction of the memorial began.
Above the memorial’s entrance door are the Roman numerals for the years, 1779 and 1933. In 1779, Clark captured Fort Sackville from the British and in 1933, the memorial was completed. Clark’s birth and death years of 1752 and 1818 encircle the statue’s base. [ from: http://www.stateparks.com/george_rogers_clark.html ]
It is highly fitting that the nation honors the great individuals and deeds of the past. Certain things do not change. The virtues that Clark and his men exhibited transcend an era. A memorial such as this serves as a reminder that courage, fortitude, and valor do not go out of style. The truly great heroes of history age well and provide guidance for the future.