Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cleveland Rocks

Three weeks ago my wife Wendy and I set out from the Chicago area towards our ultimate destination of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Every year for the past four years I have taken a week's worth of vacation time and I have attended the Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg. The Lincoln Forum is held annually during the three days prior to Gettsyburg Remebrance Day.

On the way, I decided to make a slight detour and to stop in Cleveland to visit the Soldier's and Sailor's Monument right in the middle of downtown Cleveland. I became familiar with the Cleveland monument from reading Donald Charles Durman's 1951 book on Lincoln sculptures, He Belongs to the Ages - The Statues of Abraham Lincoln. This work has been long out of print but is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in learning more about Lincoln statuary. Ocassionally a copy comes up for sale on the Web. I have attempted to visit and photograph the Monument several times but something always came up. I was determined that I would check this one off my list on this trip.
The imposing S&S Monument was opened in 1894 .The column in the center rises 125 feet above Public Square in downtown Cleveland. Atop the stone column is the statue of the Goddess of Freedom. Directly underneath the column, is the memorial or "tablet" room which contains a series a four deep relief bronze sculpture groups designed and executed by the sculptor and architect of the entire project Levi Tucker Scofield. The memorial room also includes bronze busts of Civil War heroes from Cuyahoga County and the walls are covered with 9000 names of county residents that served in the Civil War.

The four relief sculptures are the center piece of the room. Each of the panels measures seven by ten feet and are solid bronze. Two of the four feature Abraham Lincoln. The panel on the north side of the room features President Lincoln lifting high the shackles of slavery and offering the now freed slave a musket. The portrait of Lincoln is joined by the figures of Chase, Sherman, Wade and Giddings.

The second panel on the east side of the room, represents Lincoln meeting with his generals at City Point, Virginia in March of 1865. Lincoln is seen with many of his generals incuding Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Custer, Meade and Legett. There is one figuring peering over President Lincoln's left shoulder. This soldier is Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln. Robert Todd was a captain and served on General Grant's staff. As far as I can determine there is only one other group that shows Lincoln together with his eldest son. The work is in Springfield, Illinois near the old state capital building. The artist is Larry Andersen.

The building has now been fully restored and it is glorius. If you are going through Cleveland it would be worth your time to stop and visit the Cleveland Soldier's and Sailors Monument.
More photos of the Cleveland Soldier's and Sailor's Monument can be found on my photography website located at http://dbwiegers.zenfolio.com/

1 comment:

  1. Dave: I've never before had a reason to visit Cleveland. Now I guess I've got to come up with an excuse to give my wife. The monument looks fascinating. Keep up the good blog work.