Congressman Frank Wolf Calls for Rejecting Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Design

The Associated Press reports great news for everyone trying to slow down the Eisenhower Memorial freight train:

 A Virginia congressman is asking a federal panel to reject an architect’s design for a memorial honoring President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Washington, noting that the World War II general’s family’s objections.In a letter Friday to the National Capital Planning Commission, Rep. Frank Wolf said he is worried the approval process is being rushed and won’t have public support.

Last month, The Associated Press reported the Eisenhower family was asking the commission to delay final approval so the memorial could be redesigned.

Architect Frank Gehry has proposed a memorial park framed by large metal tapestries depicting Eisenhower’s boyhood home in Kansas. Eisenhower as military hero and president would be represented in stone on a smaller scale.

The family says the design overemphasizes “Ike’s” humble roots and neglects his accomplishments.

Below is the full text of Congressman Wolf’s letter, a full scan of which can be found here. [bold emphasis added]:

The Hon. Preston Bryant
National Capital Planning Commission
401 9th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Chairman Bryant:

I write today to share my concerns with the planned memorial honoring President Dwight D. Eisenhower. I fear that the process is being rushed, that the design lacks the approval of key individuals and will not have necessary public support.

Enclosed are two articles, one from the New York Times and the other an interview with Susan Eisenhower in Washingtonian magazine. Based on these pieces, it seems clear that there is not the necessary level of support for the planning process up to now and that the design offered by Frank Gehry is unacceptable to Eisenhower historians and the Eisenhower family. When President Eisenhower’s granddaughter, speaking for the family says “We are calling for an indefinite delay in the approval process and an indefinite postponement for the groundbreaking for the memorial until there is a thorough review of the design,” I believe the National Capital Planning Commission should pause and address these important issues.

President Eisenhower was a towering figure of the 20th century, serving as a five-star general in World War II and as a two-term president. I agree with Susan Eisenhower that depicting her grandfather as a barefoot adolescent is inappropriate for a memorial on the National Mall and would not convey the importance of his achievements.

I know you take seriously your responsibility as a member of the NCPC to properly honor President Eisenhower. I ask that you reject the Gehry design, reopen the monument design to other submissions and ensure that there is broad public support for the final location and design of the monument.

Best wishes.

Sincerely,

Frank R. Wolf
Member of Congress

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