Friday, November 23, 2012

Soldiers Monument, Lownsdale Square

A photoset of the 1906 Soldiers Monument in Lownsdale Square, one of the city's surprising number of Spanish-American War memorials. A post over at Dave Knows PDX gives a little history of the monument.

The memorial was designed by the famous San Francisco sculptor Douglas Tilden (1860-1935). Tilden was deaf since the age of 4 and had a very successful career in what's thought of today as a not very accommodating era. Tilden was also rumored to have been gay, which (true or not) is bound to infuriate the sort of person who usually loves war and war memorials, even in this enlightened post-DADT era. These would likely be the same people who freaked out when someone used a little temporary chalk on and around the monument's base during the Occupy Portland protests last year, which you'll see in a few photos in this set. They shrieked on and on about how the memorial had been permanently defiled or destroyed or something, when in reality no damage, either permanent or temporary, was actually done to it. I imagine their heads would explode if they heard the rumors about the sculptor. Maybe they'd sue, or invite Fred Phelps to come protest the statue, or something.

More about Tilden and his Bay Area works at Found SF and SF City Guides.

A 1951 Oregonian article "Portland's Outdoor Statues" (July 8th, 1951) lists it among the city's "important" public art pieces. The others included the Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt statues on the Park Blocks, and the Thompson Elk between Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, as well as the Thomas Jefferson statue at Jefferson High School, and a religious statue out at the Grotto. While I'm linking to old blog posts, I should point out that two previous subjects are right at the Soldiers Monument: The Ft. Sumter Cannons, and Benchmark Zero. So if you go to Lownsdale Square to look at the statue, you might as well look down and see those as well.

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