The WaPo looks at the discussions (and arguments) that marked the Lincoln Memorial planning. We forget that the now beloved monument was once an edgy and divisive design. Included in this article are some of the designs that were rejected. It’s interesting to wonder if they’d have been accepted as the Greek temple eventually was.
Bacon’s design drew wide praise, but also criticism. The Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects passed a resolution calling Bacon’s design “purely Greek and entirely un-American.” Sculptor Gutzon Borglum complained, “We are about to spend $2 million upon a … cold, classical meaningless temple” with no mark outside about the humble man it memorializes. “Into the middle of that,” he said, “we are going to drop a statue of Lincoln” and “upon the doormat we are going to put ‘Lincoln Memorial.’ ”