Jun 17

The Smith Memorial Arch is located off of South Concourse Street/Lansdowne Drive in Philadelphia, providing a gateway to West Fairmount Park, part of the municipal parks system of the city of Philadelphia. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Today we will show you an impressive memorial which contains a number of Pennsylvania individuals who are connected to Gettysburg. The “Smith Memorial Arch” in Fairmount Park sits just west southwest of the Schuylkill River near downtown Philadelphia and was erected to honor Pennsylvania’s Civil War veterans and heroes.

The four most prominent statues, which are at the highest elevation on the memorial, are to John Fulton Reynolds, here on the right … This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

… and George Gordon Meade, on the left (south) side of the arch. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Below Meade on the south side of the monument is one of two equestrian statues on the memorial. This one is to George McClellan. This view was facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

The second equestrian statue on the right (north) side of the memorial is to Winfield Scott Hancock. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.
Unlike many monuments and memorials, whose funds for construction are provided by veterans groups, this memorial was constructed almost entirely from money left in the will of Richard Smith, a “Type Founder.” Type foundries at the time would have created/sold metal and wood typefaces for use in electroplate and other printing presses. Richard Smith left $500,000 for the construction of the memorial along with specific requests about the Pennsylvania Civil War heroes that would appear on the memorial. Richard Smith died in 1894, but construction on the monument was not undertaken until 1898 or 1899. This view was taken facing west at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

The text on this panel of the monument reads: “THIS MONUMENTAL MEMORIAL PRESENTED BY RICHARD SMITH, TYPE FOUNDER, OF PHILADELPHIA, IN MEMORY OF PENNSYLVANIANS WHO TOOK PART IN THE CIVIL WAR. THEIR STRIFE WAS NOT FOR AGGRANDIZEMENT, AND WHEN CONFLICT CEASED, THE NORTH WITH THE SOUTH UNITED AGAIN TO ENJOY THE COMMON HERITAGE LEFT BY THE FATHERS OF OUR COUNTRY, RESOLVING THAT THEREAFTER ALL OUR PEOPLE SHOULD DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY.” The eagles on each end of the arch were sculpted by John Massey Rhind. This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Because of the amount of busts and statues that Smith wanted to appear on the memorial, it took until 1912 for the last of these to be placed on the arch. This view was taken facing northwest in 1905. Notice the absence of the equestrian statues to McClellan and Hancock. It is likely that these took a longer time to produce, and perhaps this is part of the reason for the delay in their installation. For a list of the sculptors please click here to visit this Smithsonian page.

In the left background of this detail of the previous photograph is Memorial Hall, constructed for the Centennial Exposition of 1876, held on the grounds of today’s West Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Memorial Hall was the home of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when this photo was taken in 1905 and remained the home of the museum until 1929. This view was taken facing northwest in 1905.

Of the busts to appear on the arch, John B. Gest’s is perhaps the most out of place. Gest was not a Civil War hero to our knowledge, but simply the executor of Richard Smith’s will/estate. This view was facing west at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.
Each side of the archway also includes names of Pennsylvania Civil War and naval veterans, 84 in total. This view was taken facing west at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

The arch contains eight busts in all — this one is to James Addams Beaver, a United States General who would later become the 20th Governor of Pennsylvania. Beaver was the Colonel of the 148th Pennsylvania during the Battle of Chancellorsville, where he was wounded. His wounds made him too weak to participate with the regiment at Gettysburg in July of 1863. This view was taken facing west at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Like most of the Baroque-style architecture that we are familiar with on Civil War memorials, the Smith Arch also contains eight allegorical figures. This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Most of the arch was constructed out of limestone and granite. Here is a look at some of the detail work in the columns and arches. This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

The bust to Pennsylvania’s 15th Governor, Andrew Curtin. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

The bust to Samuel W. Crawford. This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

This view was taken facing west at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Yet another future Pennsylvania Governor who participated in the Civil War, and who is buried in Montgomery Cemetery, is John F. Hartranft. We will show you his grave-site in a future posting. This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Note the name “PARDEE” to Ario Pardee, Jr., from Hazelton, Pennsylvania. Click here to view Licensed Battlefield Guide Charlie Fennel’s post on Pardee’s actions at Gettysburg. This view was taken facing west at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Our special thanks to Gettysburg Daily reader Andre Mammino for providing pictures and information for this posting on the Smith Memorial Arch in Fairmount Park. This view was taken facing north at approximately 1:30 PM on Monday, May 30, 2011, by Andre Mammino.


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