Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Louis Pasteur Monument

Louis Pasteur Monument, 1928
Leon Hermant
North Lawn of the Old Cook County Hospital
1901 West Harrison Street

Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French chemist and biologist best known for his remarkable breakthroughs in the causes and prevention of disease, including the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax. He pioneered the germ theory of disease and invented the process of pasteurization.
On October 27, 1928, amid impressive ceremonies in which U.S. Vice President Charles Dawes and French Ambassador Paul Claudel participated, Leon Hermant’s 28-foot Art Deco memorial statue was unveiled in Grant Park. Children who had been treated by Pasteur traveled from as far as New Jersey to lay a wreath at the foot of the monument. When, in 1946, the West Side Medical Commission arranged to move the memorial to the green space in from of Cook County Hospital, a rededication ceremony was attended by more than 100 people. The memorial also fit right in with the eight-story Beaux-Arts style hospital building directly to the south. In 1928, Hermant was awarded the prestigious L├ęgion d'honneur, the highest distinction that can be conferred by the French government on an individual, for his work on the monument.
With as much attention as the subject, artist and memorial once received, it is  sad to see the monument in such a cracked and weathered state. Sitting in front of the historic hospital  building (closed since 2002), the monument’s fate regarding restoration or demolition is unknown.

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