WBEZ | public monuments http://www.wbez.org/tags/public-monuments Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Sheridan Statue http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/sheridan-statue-104405 <p><p>The statue on Sheridan Road near Belmont has always been one of my favorites. I often passed it when I was a child, in the days when the Addison bus went downtown. It reminded me of those Frederick Remington illustrations in books about the Old West.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/12-21--Philip%20Sheridan.jpg" style="width: 270px; height: 360px; float: right;" title="Sheridan the Statue" />The man on horseback is Philip Sheridan, Civil War general and namesake for Sheridan Road, Fort Sheridan, and the city of Sheridan, Wyoming. He&rsquo;s seen rallying his retreating Union troops at the Battle of Cedar Creek. The general is shouting, &ldquo;Back to the front, boys&mdash;you&rsquo;ll sleep in your tents tonight, or you&rsquo;ll sleep in Hell!&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Born in 1831, Sheridan&nbsp;grew up in small-town Ohio.&nbsp;As a teenager he clerked in a store, then won appointment to West Point. His graduation was delayed a year when he was suspended for fighting with another cadet.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">He was a lieutenant when&nbsp;Fort Sumter was attacked&nbsp;in 1861. During the&nbsp;war Sheridan proved to be an aggressive&nbsp;but effective commander, like his friend Grant. At the end of the war he was a general.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sheridan&#39;s next assignments were in the West. Among his jobs was making sure the native tribes got onto reservations and stayed there. Today his ruthless actions are condemned by many historians. At the time, most Americans considered him a hero.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/12-21--General Sheridan (LofC).jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 329px; float: left;" title="Sheridan the Man (Library of Congress)" /></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">He was one of those celebrities whom reporters love to quote. One account has him remarking &ldquo;The only good Indian I ever knew was dead&rdquo;&mdash;something Sheridan always denied he&rsquo;d said. But he did confirm another famous quip: &ldquo;If I owned Texas and Hell, I&rsquo;d rent out Texas and live in Hell.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sheridan&#39;s Chicago connection came during the Great Fire of 1871. With martial law declared, the general took charge of the situation, and kept the city reasonably peaceful. Some years later Sheridan was married in Chicago. When the couple resettled in Washington, a group of wealthy Chicagoans bought them a house there.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Like many Civil War generals, Sheridan had presidential ambitions. But he died of a heart attack in 1888, only 57 years old. He was then General-in-Chief of the U.S. Army.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Sheridan statue is the work of Gutzon Borglum, completed in 1923, a few years before the artist started carving the faces on Mount Rushmore. Borglum had earlier done a Sheridan statue in Washington.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Sheridan&#39;s local monument&nbsp;has recently endured a bizarre form of vandalism. From time to time the horse&rsquo;s private parts have been painted over in loud colors. Various culprits have been blamed, ranging from fraternity pledges to the San Francisco Giants baseball team. The Chicago police reportedly have the horse under surveillance, so consider yourself warned.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 21 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-12/sheridan-statue-104405 The Oglesby statue http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/oglesby-statue-103496 <p><p>Lincoln Park is Chicago&rsquo;s outdoor Statuary Hall. There are monuments all over the grounds. It&rsquo;s a good place to relearn your history, because some of the statues are dedicated to forgotten notables.</p><p>For instance, take a look at the man in the rumpled suit on a hill near 2700 North Cannon Drive: That&rsquo;s Richard Oglesby.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-08--Oglesby%20Statue_0.JPG" style="float: left; height: 345px; width: 275px;" title="Oglesby statue in Lincoln Park" /></div><p><em>Say, wasn&rsquo;t he governor back in the 1960s?</em></p><p>No, you&#39;re thinking of Richard <em>Ogilvie</em>. The metal man gazing out at Diversey Harbor was one of our governors, but many years earlier.</p><p>Richard James Oglesby was born in Kentucky in 1824. Orphaned as a young boy, he came to Illinois to live with an uncle in Decatur.</p><p>Oglesby worked at a variety of jobs, studied law, and moved into Republican politics. In 1860 he was elected to the Illinois Senate. When the Civil War broke out, he was appointed a colonel of infantry volunteers.</p><p>Oglesby rose in the ranks to larger commands, eventually becoming a major general. He was wounded in battle, and was a genuine war hero. In 1864 he resigned his commission to run for Governor of Illinois. He was easily elected.</p><p>As governor, Oglesby prodded the legislature to ratify the 13<sup>th</sup> Amendment &mdash; abolishing slavery &mdash; and supported the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. He returned to Decatur to practice law when his term ended. &nbsp;After a four year break, he was elected governor again in 1872.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-08--Oglesby%20as%20General%20%28LofC%29.jpg" style="float: right; height: 345px; width: 275px;" title="Oglesby as a Civil War general (Library of Congress)" /></div><p>This time he served only ten days. Having won the governorship for his party, Oglesby resigned so that the legislature could elect him United States Senator. He served a single six-year term, then retired.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Oglesby returned to politics in 1884. He was elected governor for a third time, the first three-peat in that office. During this final term he commuted the death sentences of two Haymarket defendants, but allowed the other executions to proceed.</p><p>Richard Oglesby died in 1899.</p><p>The Oglesby statue in Lincoln Park is the work of sculptor Leonard Crunelle. A gift to the city from five admirers, it was dedicated in 1919. Oglesby&rsquo;s Decatur home is a museum open to the public, and the town of Oglesby in La Salle County is name after him. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-10/oglesby-statue-103496 The missing monument http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/missing-monument-101580 <p><p>In 1893 George Pullman lived in a mansion among his fellow magnates at 1729 South Prairie Avenue. This was near the site of what was then called the Fort Dearborn Massacre. Pullman decided to erect a monument to the event on his property.</p><p>The finished bronze sculpture was the work of Carl Rohl-Smith. Set upon a stage-like base, it measured 8 feet by 9 feet and was 5 feet deep. A famous incident in the battle is portrayed &mdash; the Potawatomi chief Black Partridge is raising a hand to rescue Margaret Helm from another, tomahawk-wielding Potawatomi.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-16--monument%20in%201911.jpg" title="The monument at its original site, 1911 (Library of Congress/Chicago Daily News)" /></div><p>&ldquo;The Fort Dearborn Massacre&rdquo; remained in place until 1931. By then the neighborhood had become a run-down industrial district. The monument itself was neglected and vandalized.</p><p>Pullman&rsquo;s will had left the public art to the Chicago Historical Society, in trust for the City of Chicago. The Society now took over. The monument was refurbished and moved to the lobby of its headquarters. There it stayed for decades.</p><p>&ldquo;Massacre&rdquo; is a loaded word. In 1972 the subtitle &ldquo;The Potawatomi Rescue&rdquo; was added to the monument. Still, some critics objected to the work itself, saying it presented a biased viewpoint.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/08-16--closeup02.jpg" title="Detail of the rescue (Library of Congress/Chicago Daily News)" /></div></div><p>During the 1980s Prairie Avenue was restored as a historic district. The monument was then returned to its old neighborhood, being displayed on the grounds of the Clarke mansion.</p><p>Today Rohl-Smith&#39;s sculpture is nowhere to be seen. It was removed from the Clarke grounds around 1997, and is stored in a warehouse, supposedly awaiting another restoration. A proposal to locate the monument in The Battle of Fort Dearborn Park has been opposed by native groups. &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 16 Aug 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-08/missing-monument-101580 Are those swastikas? Deconstructing a Chicago monument http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/are-those-swastikas-deconstructing-chicago-monument-100913 <p><p>The monument at 2701 South Damen Avenue honors Father Jacques Marquette, the first European to reside in Chicago. I&rsquo;ve talked about Marquette in an earlier post. Now let&rsquo;s look at what the plaque on the monument tells us about a different time &mdash; the time in which the monument itself was built.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Marquette-a.JPG" title="Marquette Monument--2701 S. Damen Ave." /></div><p>That would be the year 1930. On the plaque, this date is rendered at the bottom left as &ldquo;Anno Domini MCMXXX.&rdquo; Of course, using Roman numerals on our public structures was once common. Perhaps the builders thought the numerals had some magic power, guaranteeing that their own efforts would last as long as the Colosseum or the Arch of Constantine.</p><p>Just above the date are the names of two people. Here we have a politician &mdash; the mayor &mdash; and one of his appointees, the head of the commission that actually built the monument. Nothing unusual about that.</p><p>But look at the first line, the name of the man being honored. &ldquo;<em>James</em> Marquette.&rdquo; For some reason, they&rsquo;ve Anglicized the good father&#39;s personal name. If you&rsquo;re going to translate &quot;Jacques&quot; into our local language, why bother with the Roman numerals further down the plaque?</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Marquette-b.JPG" title="Plaque on the Marquette Monument" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The text of the plaque tells us of Marquette&rsquo;s historic importance, of how his journals touted our region. I can appreciate the advantages of our soil and transportation facilities. Yet I don&rsquo;t think our climate is a major selling point.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Oh, and there&rsquo;s one more thing that always seems to catch the viewer&rsquo;s eye. The swastikas.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">No, Marquette wasn&rsquo;t a Nazi, nor was Mayor Thompson, nor Mr. Faherty. The swastika was an ancient Aryan symbol of good luck that Hitler appropriated. Until the Nazis made them notorious, you&rsquo;d see swastikas in many innocent places.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/A%20Central%20avenue%20two-flat%2C%201974.JPG" title="A Central Avenue two-flat, 1974" /></div><p>When I was growing up on the Northwest Side, a certain two-flat on Central Avenue had a swastika prominently displayed in the brickwork. The building dated from 1920, when Hitler was still an unknown thug. But by 1974, the bad vibes evidently became too much, and the owner tore it down.</p><p>Back on Damen Avenue, I suppose the city could do something about those to little swastikas on the Marquette plaque. What do you think?</p></p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-07/are-those-swastikas-deconstructing-chicago-monument-100913 The 1893 World's Fair and the golden statue of Jackson Park http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-12-23/1893-worlds-fair-and-golden-statue-jackson-park-94861 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/6051310167_e0cc11bb1d.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left; ">I first stumbled on her in 1965, the night of my Senior Prom. The prom was at a downtown hotel. Afterward my date and I, along with two other couples, decided to go for a drive south on Lake Shore Drive.</p><p>We got to Jackson Park and turned down a side road, preparing to head back north. And there, in front of us in the darkness, illuminated by floodlights, was a towering golden statue of a Greek goddess. "What the hell is that?" we gasped.</p><p>If we'd been South Siders, we might have known. The statue is called <em>The Republic</em>, and is a souvenir of the 1893 World's Fair.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-13/12-23--The Republic statue.JPG" title="The Republic (Hayes Dr at Richards Dr, Jackson Park)" height="367" width="490"></p><p>The 24-foot tall statue in the park is a replica. The original was nearly three times larger, a 65-foot colossa atop a 35-foot base. That version was made of plaster covered in gold leaf. Daniel Chester French, today best-known for his seated Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, was the designer.</p><p>When the Fair was over, <em>The Republic</em> was scrapped. A smaller plaster model was retained.</p><p>The story resumes in 1918, the centennial year of Illinois statehood. By coincidence it was also the 25th anniversary of the Fair. Someone got the idea of restoring <em>The Republic</em> in Jackson Park. There was still some money left over from the Fair, and the B.F. Ferguson Monument Fund also chipped in.</p><p>The current statue was dedicated on May 11, 1918. Unlike its predecessor, this one is made of bronze. Every few years the gold covering wears thin, and the surface has to be regilded.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-13/12-23--Original.jpg" title="The original statue at the 1893 World's Fair" height="326" width="490"></p><p>Park District employees created their own urban legend about the gold covering. Each summer, when a new group of temps came on the job, the veterans would tell the rookies how they made sure the statue weathered evenly--they simply turned the thing 180-degrees. If the statue was facing east now, next year it would be facing west.</p><p><em>The Republic</em> weighs about 100 tons. But many of the summer temps accepted the outrageous tale of annual rotation. Hey, it's Chicago!</p><p>I see the Golden Lady looming over the clubhouse whenever I play golf at Jackson Park. The neighborhood has gotten a lot rougher since 1965, and I don't venture back at night. I imagine she still looks spectacular.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-12-23/1893-worlds-fair-and-golden-statue-jackson-park-94861 The story behind the Humboldt statue in Humboldt Park http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-11-16/story-behind-humboldt-statue-humboldt-park-93933 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-16/11-16--Humboldt statue_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago has a major park called Humboldt Park, an official community area called Humboldt Park, and a dignified old avenue called Humboldt Boulevard. But ask the first thousand Chicagoans you meet to tell you who "Humboldt" was, and chances are they won't have the slightest idea.</p><p>Humboldt has become even more obscure than William McKinley--remember him? So let's go out to the community, drive down the boulevard, and go into the park to his statue.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="425" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-10/11-16--Humboldt statue.jpg" title="1301 N. Humboldt Blvd." width="276"></p><p>Alexander von Humboldt was born into minor Prussian nobility in 1769. He seemed destined for a career in politics or finance. But by the time he became a young man, he decided to follow his first passion, natural science.</p><p>In 1799 Humboldt and a friend traveled to the Spanish colonies in South Amerca. The trip evolved into a five-year-long expedition. Humboldt explored new lands, studied plant and animal life, made scientific measurements, and would boldly go where few Europeans had gone before.</p><p>Returning to Europe, he published his field research and became famous. Now Humboldt used his celebrity to promote science. Charles Darwin, for one, said that Humboldt had been his early inspiration.</p><p>In 1829 Humboldt headed an expedition into Asiatic Russia. In his later years he wrote a multi-volume synthesis of various sciences titled <em>Kosmos</em>. He died in 1859.</p><p>Humboldt never visited Chicago. His statue, and all the other Humboldt-names around town, can be credited to ethnic politics.</p><p>When Humboldt died the Germans were just becoming a major Chicago voting bloc. Picture a group of aldermen gathered around. You can just imagine one of them saying--"We need to name something for a German. Who've they got? Humboldt, a scientist everybody loves? Yeah, that's perfect!"</p><p>The park was laid out in 1869. The statue arrived in 1892, the work of Felix Gorling. It was paid for by German-born brewer Francis Dewes, who was also responsible for a flamboyant mansion on Wrightwood Avenue.</p><p>When the statue was erected, the neighborhood around it was heavily German. The Poles later settled in, and for many years Humboldt Park was the site of the Polish Constitution Day Parade. Then the Poles moved on and were succeeded by the Puerto Ricans.</p><p>And ethnic politics still operates. One of the park's roadways is now named for Luis Munoz Marin--the first elected governor of Puerto Rico.</p></p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 12:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-11-16/story-behind-humboldt-statue-humboldt-park-93933 The story of the statue atop La Salle Street http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-09-05/story-statue-atop-la-salle-street-91154 <p><p>If you're in Lincoln Park this Labor Day, you might pass him on your way to the zoo or North Avenue Beach. Look for him a few hundred feet north of the Chicago History Museum.</p><p>There he stands, gazing down the street that carries his name. He is one of Chicago's most visible statues. He is - to give him his full name -Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-28/09-05--La Salle statue.jpg" style="margin-left: 8px; margin-right: 8px; margin-top: 8px; margin-bottom: 8px; float: left; width: 254px; height: 425px; " title="NE corner, Clark and La Salle"></p><p>Much of the material about La Salle is incomplete or contradictory. He seems to have been born of minor French nobility in 1643. As a youth he studied with the Jesuits, and may have thought about becoming a priest. But in 1666 he moved to France's North American outpost at Montreal.</p><p>La Salle was ambitious and well-connected. He received a series of royal patents to explore the interior of the continent. The idea was to set up forts and trading posts, and eventually attract settlers from the mother country.</p><p>Beginning in 1669, La Salle mounted a series of expeditions. He explored the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, then moved onto the Illinois River and the Mississippi Valley. He probably portaged through the area that became Chicago. But if he did, he didn't think it important enough to mention.</p><p>Every so often he returned to France to get his patents renewed, or otherwise engage in court intrigue. He was always on the go, and never found time to get married.</p><p>And though La Salle was intelligent and brave, he wasn't always popular. During a 1687 expedition into Texas, his men mutinied and killed him.</p><p>La Salle's name has been immortalized in streets and parks and hotels and towns and counties. And as anyone who ever watched <em>All in the Family </em>knows, there was once a La Salle car. ("Gee, our old La Salle ran great . . .")</p><p>The La Salle statue is among the city's older monuments. Designed by Jacques de La Laing, it was cast in Belgium, shipped to Chicago and formally dedicated in 1889. The money for the project was provided by art patron Lambert Tree.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 05 Sep 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-09-05/story-statue-atop-la-salle-street-91154