A Monument in the Making

February 21 2017

washington 1Could you imagine our beloved arch any other way? Frederick MacMonnies sure did!

The Beaux-art sculptor created designs in 1890 for the two sculptures of Washington on the arch, called “Washington as Commander-in-Chief” and “Washington as President.” The background figures in MacMonnies designs are much more detailed and three-dimensional than the designs we see today. Although MacMonnies proposal was denied by the Committee and was never produced, he did design most of the ornamentation on the arch.

washington 2

The arch was officially dedicated in 1895, but it took another twenty years for Stanford White’s “spandrel panels” of War, Peace, Fame and Posterity to be accompanied by Hermon Atkins MacNeil and Alexander Stirling Calder’s Washington sculptures. Take a look at MacMonnies’ sketches and imagine how different the arch would look if his designs were chosen!

Visit our history page to learn more about how the Arch came to be.