Wednesday, November 28, 2007

November 28, 1866:

Henry Bacon's Birthday

Today is the birthday of Henry Bacon, architect of the Lincoln Memorial. He was one of the best-known architects of his day, known especially for designing settings for sculpture. The Lincoln Memorial was his final project, now known the world over. He died in 1924, two years after the memorial was dedicated.

The April 17, 1912 edition of The New York Times noted that "the Lincoln Memorial Commission by a close vote decided to-day to recommend to Congress the design for a memorial to Abraham Lincoln submitted by Henry Bacon, a New York architect.

"Mr. Bacon's design, already approved by the Commission of Fine Arts, calls for a rectangular marble structure surrounded by Doric columns, each forty feet high, not unlike the Treasury Building here except that there is to be only one story. The statue of Lincoln, designs for which are yet to be submitted, will stand on a pedestal at one end of the structure. On one wall will be Lincoln's Gettysburg address, probably in bronze, and on the opposite wall his second inaugurate address....

"Russell Pope, another New York architect, was the only other architect whose design was considered at to-day's meeting."

John Russell Pope might have lost that commission, but he too eventually designed a major presidential memorial: the Jefferson Memorial, dedicated in 1943, six years after he died.

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