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Sedgwick County Memorial Hall and Soldiers and Sailors Monument -- Wichita KS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 37° 41.620 W 097° 20.252
14S E 646570 N 4173128
Quick Description: The Classical Greek Revivial Civil War monument and Memorial Hall by Viquesney (more famed for his Spirit of the Doughboy bronzes) has been restored recently to its former glory. These 2 structures were placed on the National Register in 1998.
Location: Kansas, United States
Date Posted: 5/6/2013 11:35:31 AM
Waymark Code: WMH1F0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 2

Long Description:
From the National Register nomination form: (visit link)

"The Sedgwick County Memorial Hall and Soldiers and Sailors Monument, built in 1912-13 and known as the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument, is dedicated to the Union Soldiers and Sailors who fought and died in the Civil War. The monument is located on the south lawn of the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse, itself on the National Register of Historic Places, and faces south onto Central Avenue, then as now a major downtown Wichita thoroughfare. . . .

Sedgwick County's Civil War monument is a simple, elegant ashlar building of Vermont granite . . . which includes four bronze military figures.3 The monument was designed by Ernest Monroe Viquesney (1876-1946) of Marietta, Georgia. Viquesney was an architect, but he is best known as the sculptor of Doughboy statues that proliferated throughout the country after the First World War.

The monument is an eighteen-foot-square building, measuring fifty feet in height from its base to the apex of the pedestal that crowns it. . . . The building sits upon a series of three granite steps approached from all four sides, in the manner of a Greek temple. It has three parts: the Memorial Hall, a square drum, and cupola that tapers toward its apex and is surmounted by a granite plinth.

Sedgwick County's Civil War Monument is like a miniature Greek temple, dedicated to those who fought and died for the Union cause in the Civil War. It is in the tradition of classical temples dedicated to victory, such as the diminutive fifth-century B. C. Temple of Athena Nike (Victory) on the Athenian acropolis. Memorial Hall is an example of Greek Revival architecture, a popular style for war monuments and civic buildings during the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century.

The free-standing Greek Doric columns, finely cut and mortared granite blocks and the crisp, sharp carving of the military insignia and lettering of Memorial Hall are hallmarks of Greek Revival architecture. The selection of the Greek Doric style was undoubtedly intended to associate Sedgwick County's Civil War monument and the Union cause with Athens as the cradle of democracy in the western world.

The south elevation, which is the ceremonial entrance to Memorial Hall, as an aedicular entrance leading into what was referred to as the"trophy room." Flanking the entrance are fluted Greek Doric columns on pedestals supporting a tall entablature carrying the carved inscription: "Grand Army of the Republic/Fraternity Charity Loyalty." To either side of the entrance on a frieze that encircles Memorial Hall are carved names of Civil War battles placed within the shield of the Union and alternating with laurel wreaths. To the left of the entrance is Vicksburg, followed by a wreath, and to the right of the entrance is Appomatox, followed by a wreath.

The north elevation of the monument, which faces the Historic Sedgwick County Courthouse, also has an aedicular entrance into the interior of Memorial Hall. Above the entrance on an entablature held aloft by a pair of Greek Doric columns is carved the inscription: "Erected A. D. 1912 By The/People Of Sedgwick County, Kansas/In Memory Of The Union Soldiers And Sailors/Of The Civil War."

On the frieze to the left of the entrance is Gettysburg in a shield of the Union, followed by a laurel wreath, and on the right is Shiloh in a shield of the Union, followed by a laurel wreath.

The east elevation consists of an ashlar granite surface and on the frieze at the top are carved names of Civil War battles in a shield of the Union alternating with laurel wreaths. They are from left to right: Spotsylvania, the battle in which John Sedgwick, for whom Sedgwick County is named, died; Cedar Creek; Monitor/ Merrimac [Merrimack]; Antietam; and Petersburg.

At the center of the east elevation is a raised frame. At the top is a festoon followed by the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic membership medal. In the bar of the medal are the initials "F C L" [Fraternity Charity Loyalty] and below is a ten-star flag representing the ten armies of the Republic and from it hangs a five-pointed medal.

In the center of the medal are five weathered figures, a tall central figure flanked by a soldier and sailor with two kneeling children. Encircling this scene is the inscription: "Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic 1886." Below the medal is the inscription: "If Any Man Attempts To/Haul Down The Flag/Shoot Him On The Spot/John. A. Dix".

The west elevation has the same configuration as its counterpart on the east. Carved on the frieze at the top of the elevation are names of Civil War battles in the shield of the Union alternating with laurel wreaths. They are from left to right: Ft. Donaldson, Stone River, Mobile, Chicamauga , and Nashville. At the center of the west elevation is a raised frame and at the top is a festoon followed by the Woman's Relief Corps membership medal, patterned after the Grand Army of the Republic's medal. On the bar of the medal superimposed upon each other are the initials "F C L" (Fraternity Charity Loyalty). Below is a ribbon from which hangs the medal. In the four arms of the medal are clockwise from nine o'clock: "Woman's/ Relief/Corps/1883." In the center is a weathered scene of a tall central figure flanked by soldiers with two kneeling children. At the bottom is carved the inscription: "The Union Is Perpetual/Abraham Lincoln/Let Us Have Peace/Gen. Grant" Situated on the roof of each elevation of Memorial Hall are four fulllength bronze statues, representing the four branches of the Union military in the Civil War: the artillery, cavalry, infantry, and navy. These bronze statues were designed and cast by Frederick Cleveland Hibbard (1881-1950) of Chicago, a noted sculptor of his day, who specialized in Civil War sculpture.

A statue of an artilleryman stands on a granite plinth on the roof of the south elevation. Carved on the plinth are crossed cannon barrels and a stack of cannon balls. The artilleryman holds a ram rod in his left hand and a pistol in his right hand and wears a kepi. On his belt buckle are carved the initials "U S".

A sailor stands on a granite plinth on the roof of the east elevation. Carved on the plinth is a fouled anchor and below it the initials: "U S N." The sailor holds an oar in his left hand and a rope in his right hand.

An infantryman stands on a granite plinth on the north elevation. Carved on the plinth are crossed rifles and a canteen. He wears a kepi, holds a rifle in both hands and has a sheathed bayonet at his side and carries a canteen and ammunition case with "U S" carved on it.

The statue of a cavalryman stands on a granite plinth on the west elevation of Memorial Hall. Carved on the plinth are crossed sabers intertwined with a rope. He wears a slouch hat, holds a saber in his right hand and in his left hand a sheathed saber. On his belt buckle are carved the initials "U S".

On top of the cupola is a granite pedestal decorated on each side with an American eagle and "U S A" carved on each side of its plinth. Situated on top of the pedestal is the fourteen-foot statue of Liberty with her left foot firmly placed on a semi-circular orb. . . . "[end]
Date Installed or Dedicated: 1/1/1912

Name of Government Entity or Private Organization that built the monument: Sedgewick County KS

Union, Confederate or Other Monument: Union

Related Website: [Web Link]

Photo or photos will be uploaded.: yes

Rating (1-5): Not listed

Visit Instructions:

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Benchmark Blasterz visited Sedgwick County Memorial Hall and Soldiers and Sailors Monument -- Wichita KS 3/16/2013 Benchmark Blasterz visited it