Tag Archives: Teddy Roosevelt

Architecture: Washington National Cathedral

When Teddy Roosevelt spoke at the laying of the foundation stone in 1907, most people wouldn't have dreamed the cathedral would take 83 years to complete. Uploaded by marius ostrowski.wordpress.com.

When many of us hear the word “cathedral,” we associate it with the great structures of the Roman Catholic faith. The National Cathedral however, whose official name is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, was commissioned by the Episcopal Church.

Architectural credit for the building’s design goes to George Frederick Bodley, a noted cathedral builder of the late 19th century. While he created the master plan, he didn’t live to see much of the actual construction. I don’t imagine anyone who saw Teddy Roosevelt speak at the laying of the foundation stone in 1907 saw the finished cathedral – since it took 83 years to complete.

Uploaded by meridianmagazine.com.

The cathedral’s is designed in the gothic revival style, and is constructed of 150,000 tons of Indiana limestone. Its central tower is 30 stories tall, and it features more than 200 stained glass windows. Located in the northwest quadrant of the District of Columbia, it occupies one of the highest vantage points in all of Washington.

Since it is the National Cathedral, it hosts an unusual mix of spiritual and civic activities. Among the historic events it has hosted include: the state funerals of four U.S. presidents (Wilson, Eisenhower, Ford, and Reagan) and a memorial service for another (Truman), a memorial service for victims of the September 11 attacks, a national prayer service on the day following the inauguration of every president since Ronald Reagan (except for Bill Clinton), and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last sermon.

The cathedral has been voted the third favorite building in American architecture in a public poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects.

Americana: Mount Rushmore

Washington, as the first president, Jefferson for the Louisiana Purchase, Lincoln for unifying the country, and Teddy Roosevelt for leading into the 20th century. Uploaded by surveying.mentablolism.org.

Okay, first the amazing scale of Mount Rushmore. The memorial covers 1,278 acres. The heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln are about 60 feet across. At that rate, the entire bodies would have been 465 feet tall. The carving took fourteen years to complete, and more than 800 million pounds of stone were removed during its creation.

Located near Keystone, South Dakota, Mount Rushmore was called “Six Grandfathers” by the nearby Lakota Indians. A local historian conceived of turning it into a monument to our presidents as a way of increasing tourism in South Dakota. It’s definitely accomplished that goal – more than two million people visit the monument each year.

Mount Rushmore was a giant prop in Hitchcock's North by Northwest. Uploaded by whatsontv.co.uk.

Chosen as the sculptor was Gutzon Borglun, a student of French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Borglun was the natural choice, having just completed the carving of Confederate generals on Stone Mountain, Georgia. Carving began in 1927, supervised alternately by Gutzon and his son, Lincoln. Sadly, Gutzon Borglun didn’t live to see the dedication, dying from an embolism just before the monument’s dedication in March, 1941.

Oh, and if you think Congress only recently started losing its senses, consider this: In 1937, a bill was introduced to add the head of Susan B. Anthony to the mountain. Really. You can’t make this stuff up.

Travel: Grand Canyon

The Skywalk, located on the Hualapai Tribe lands, opened in 2007. Uploaded by grandcanyonskywalk.com.

The Skywalk, located on the Hualapai Tribal lands, opened in 2007. Uploaded by grandcanyonskywalk.com.

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona encompasses more 1.2 million acres. That is some kind of hole in the ground.

“Scientific consensus” is that the Canyon was carved over a period of six million years by the Colorado River. Don’t get me started on “scientific consensus.” Let’s just say that the Grand Canyon is an amazing part of God’s creation that’s unmatched in beauty anywhere in the world.

Teddy Roosevelt, probably America’s greatest naturalist president (not “naturist”, at least as far as we know), visited the Canyon in 1903. He started the movement toward making the Grand Canyon a National Park, though Congress didn’t act until 1919.

Uploaded to Flickr by anadelmann.

Uploaded to Flickr by anadelmann.

Some five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. They come by car, airplane, helicopter, camper, train, and on foot. One of the latest ways to see the Canyon is the Skywalk, opened in 2007. It costs $70 for admission, and entails a 14-mile ride on unpaved, dusty roads. And you can’t even take your camera onto the Skywalk. But if you have the stomach for it, you’ll be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime view.

Of course, the Canyon can be viewed from several locations that are many miles apart. The South Rim, North Rim, and Grand Canyon West all have multiple viewing sites. This video is a condensed version of a helicopter tour offered daily from Las Vegas and other nearby locations: