Dear Ms. Mendelson-Ielmini:
In its meeting of 20 November, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the site selection study for a memorial to Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War general from South Carolina. The Commission provided the following comments for consideration as the site selection process is completed.
The Commission members supported the focus on sites along South Carolina Avenue, noting that this would fulfill an intention of the L’Enfant Plan for associating public spaces for each state with its heroes. They encouraged siting the memorial in Marion Park, named for General Marion in the late 19th century; aside from the obvious appropriateness of placing the memorial within the open space named for him, they said that this location would provide an appropriate connection along 5th Street to the memorial statue of another Revolutionary War general, Nathanael Greene, to the north. Acknowledging the concerns expressed by neighborhood residents, they noted that some competition between commemorative and neighborhood uses may arise from the established policy of locating memorials throughout the city; however, they anticipated that the impact of this memorial should be relatively modest. For any site selected, the Commission members suggested that the siting of the memorial be linked to improved maintenance in order to ensure a dignified setting for the memorial and to make a more attractive neighborhood park.
The Commission members commented that the alternative sites at Garfield Park and at Pennsylvania Avenue may be less suitable for this memorial and might instead be considered for larger memorial proposals in the future. They added that master plans for some of these locations, such as Garfield Park, would be beneficial for assessing their suitability and for coordinating the siting of memorials with other park features; they encouraged such planning by the National Park Service, the D.C. government, or other agencies having jurisdiction.
The Commission appreciates the opportunity to provide comments and looks forward to the review of a formal site proposal. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Lisa Mendelson-Ielmini, Acting Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: John McCabe, Palmetto Conservation Foundation