Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Illinois Centennial Monument

Illinois Centennial Monument, 1918
Henry Bacon and Evelyn Beatrice Longman
Logan Square
Intersection of Logan Boulevard and Milwaukee Avenue at North Kedzie

            This 68-foot tall monument commemorates the 100th anniversary of the entry of the State of Illinois into the Union and was commissioned by the B. F. Ferguson Monument Fund. It was designed by architect Henry Bacon (1866-1924), best known for his work with Daniel Chester French on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. The Doric-style fluted column, made of Tennessee pink marble, is topped by a large eagle with spread wings and rests upon a base carved with seven-foot high bas-reliefs.    
            Sculptor Evelyn Beatrice Longman (1874-1954) created the eagle perched upon a boulder and the relief figures on the drum of the column. One of the sculptural friezes features personifications of agriculture, labor, transportation, science, education and the fine arts, while the other includes an Indian family, the explorers Marquette and LaSalle, and William Clark, surveyor general of Illinois 1824-25. Between these historical and allegorical figures there is a seated female personification of “Illinois,” holding a scroll of law and a distaff, representing industry. Longman, who studied with Lorado Taft, became the only woman to work as an assistant in the studio of Daniel Chester French and was later the first woman sculptor to be elected a full member of the National Academy of Design. 

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