Hidden away from the Reflecting Pool stands a Doric-columned white marble dome, inscribed with the names of 499 men and women from the District of Columbia who never made it home from fields of Ypres and the end of The Great War. The monument, dedicated on Armistice Day, 1931, by President Hoover, was built to fit The President’s Own, and John Philip Sousa lead the band on the occasion. Playing The Stars and Strips Forever, the Band dedicated the memorial to those lost in combat abroad.
The memorial, granted by Act of Congress in 1924, was built with $200,000 in private donations, given by citizens of the District. Architect Frederick H. Brooke designed the edifice to be built using Vermont Marble from the Danby quarry, and the committee planted a grove of hardwood trees to surround the memorial.
More fascinating than its construction was its patronage. The Memorial was one of two contemporaneous projects by the Noyes family (owners of The Evening Star), the other project being a Constitutional Amendment to provide representation for citizens of the District of Columbia. That project concluded in 1961 in the amendment which granted the District’s 3 electors in the Electoral College.
When my friends come to visit from out of town, this is a perfect stop between the gaudy World War II Memorial and the pleasantly understated Lincoln. It’s the only memorial on the Mall that commemorates the citizens of this City on the whole of the Mall.
Monumental is a bi-weekly feature covering the various monuments and decorations of Washington DC. If you’d like to suggest a monument for exploration, please email tom at welovedc dot com.