Monday, June 22, 2009

The original Roosevelt Memorial.

Visitors to Washington, DC always stop at the amazing Roosevelt Memorial of water features, pictured above, completed in 1997. However, most people aren't familiar with the original Roosevelt Memorial which is largely forgotten.Located across from the National Archives at 9th St NW & Pennsylvania Avenue in a little grassy plot, a simple piece of square marble simply says: "In memory of: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1882 - 1945" as seen above.
This plaque bears the story of how this strange monument came to be. Roosevelt told the Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfuter
"If any memorial is to be erected to me, I know exactly what I should like it to be. I should like it to consist of a block about the size of this desk and placed in the center of that green plot in front of the Archives Building. I don't care what it is made of, whether limestone or granite or whatnot, but I want it to be plain without any ornamentation , with the simple carving, In memory of.."
I have to agree - simple is stronger.

8 comments:

Style Redux 2 said...

Stefan-So interesting the contrast between the first simple memorial and the newer one. But DC is a city of monuments to greatness, and I'm sure it did not seem fitting to have such a small tribute to one of our greatest Presidents who led this country through so much.

VictoriaArt said...

Most monuments are to pompous for my tast and I can see that Roosevelt was afraid it would end up like that...
I am not loving the new one, I can see the idea, water and wildness and feel of nature but it is artificial and I am not sure how to connect that with Roosevelt.
It feels a bit like some of those "back to nature pools", with waterfalls and wrough edges gone wong ...
Maybe I need an explanation...
I like the idea of that stone in the ground!

Blue said...

Simple is stronger, as you say, and certainly more moving for all that. Whereas I like the water monument the block of stone placed where the President wanted it is on my list of places to visit when I next come to DC.

Renee Finberg said...

well, i do like the 'water feature' memorial better.
he was so loved, and more will be reminded of him with this beautiful fountain.
xx

ArchitectDesign™ said...

While I love the main monument of fountains, I thought it was so interesting to see his humility and what he wished for. The history of the memorial is fascinating!

home before dark said...

I like the simplicity of the stone. I don't think the water feature looks FDR at all. That said, this post created a fear in me I didn't know I had: what will a Bush memorial look like?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

HBD, I'm afraid he already left his legacy and a 'memorial' would be redundant.....

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Very interesting. I am in agreement simple is stronger and in my opinion always more beautiful.