Monday, September 30, 2013

Darius and Girenas Memorial

Darius and Girenas Memorial, 1935
Raoul Josset and Charles Koncevec
Marquette Park
West of South California Avenue and south of West 67th Street

            One of the few Art Deco style monuments located in the Chicago park system, this memorial was dedicated by the Lithuanian community to two Lithuanian-American pilots who attempted to establish a record by flying from New York to Kaunas, Lithuania in July, 1933. Captain Stephen Darius and Lieutenant Stanley Girenas served in the United States military in the fight against Germany during World War I and, upon their return, they began planning for their trans-Atlantic attempt. Unfortunately, their plane crashed in northern Germany, only 400 miles short of their destination, and both died upon impact.
            The Lithuanian consul chose sculptor Raoul Josset, a French immigrant living on Chicago’s North side, to create the bronze relief portraits of the two pilots as well as the modernistic globe above that outlines their flight path. Chicago architect Charles Koncevec designed the polished granite structure that frames the globe, portraits and curved railing with the dedication in sleek lettering. At the dedication ceremony in July of 1935, 40,000 people were gathered in Marquette Park.

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