Liberty Memorial
The Liberty Memorial, located in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, is a memorial to the fallen soldiers of World War I and houses the The National World War I Museum, as designated by the United States Congress in 2004. . Groundbreaking commenced November 1, 1921, and the city held a site dedication. The memorial was completed and dedicated on November 11, 1926. On September 21, 2006, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne declared Liberty Memorial a National Historic Landmark.

History
The memorial in Penn Valley Park was designed by Harold Van Buren Magonigle who won a design competition. The approaches were designed by Wight and Wight. Among the sculptors involved were Robert Aikten, Edmond Amateis and John Donnelly.

Memorial Association
By the time World War I came to a close on November 11, 1918, 418 Kansas citizens had died and a movement to build a monument for their sacrifices and the surviving veterans arose. A group of 40 prominent citizens formed a Memorial Association and chose Lumber baron and philanthropist Robert A. Long, who had personally given a large sum of money, as president . Others included:
  • James Madison Kemper was treasurer of the association. For a short time in 1919 he was President of City Center Bank that was founded by his father William T. Kemper. His brother, Rufus Crosby Kemper Sr. became president when he left to take over as president of Commerce Bancshares, also controlled by his father.
  • Jesse Clyde Nichols (J.C.), a real estate developer, was a lead proponent of the Liberty Monument.
  • William Volker, businessman and philantropist, helped the city acquire the land for the memorial.
  • George Kessler designed the landscaping at the memorial. .
The city council appointed the association to look into the possibility of a monument and funding. In less than a year the association had spearheaded a fund drive that included 83,000 contributors and collected more than 2.5 million dollars. There would not be the monetary problems that plagued the Bunker Hill Monument. It was dedicated on November 11, 1926, by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge. In attendance at the groundbreaking ceremony on November 1, 1921, were Lieutenant General Baron Jacques of Belgium, Admiral Earl Beatty of Great Britain, General Armando Diaz of Italy, Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France, and General John Pershing of the United States. In 1935, bas reliefs by Walker Hancock of Jacques, Beatty, Diaz, Foch and Pershing were unveiled.

World War I museum
The Liberty Memorial houses the official World War I museum of the United States. Among other landscaping, its grounds include two large sphinx sculptures, the centerpiece 217-foot (66 m) tower, and the museums around and under the tower. Commensurate with the memorial's congressional designation as the "national" memorial and museum, a new, much larger museum opened in 2006 beneath the main memorial to form a huge museum complex (see below). The Memorial and Monument are managed by a non-profit organization in cooperation with the Kansas City Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners.

Design
The design of the building is designed in a classical "Beaux-Arts monumentalism" style of architecture with a limestone exterior. The foundation was constructed using sawed granite, and the exterior ground level walls are made of Bedford stone. The main doors at the top of a large set of stairs are made from ornamental bronze, and the walls of the first floor lobby are finished in Kasota stone, which was quarried in Kasota, Minnesota. The first floor corridor and the grand stairway are finished in travertine that was imported from Italy. The floors of the corridors and stairway treads are made from terrazzo and Kasota marble, and the balusters and railing are made from Italian travertine and Italian tavernelle clairemarble. At night, the top of the memorial tower emits steam illuminated by bright orange lights. This effect creates the illusion of a burning pyre and can be seen for some distance. However, due to budget cuts in the city, the "Eternal Flame" has been shut down. It will be used during specific holiday weekends such as Memorial Day weekend when the "flame" will function from Friday through Monday. In 1981, the building underwent a major renovation which updated existing systems to modern code specifications. The grounds were designed by George Kessler who had rocketed to fame on the strength of his City Beautiful design for the Kansas City park and boulevard system. . The road on the west side of the Memorial is Kessler Road.

The National World War One Museum
America's official museum dedicated to World War I, as designated by the United States Congress, opened December 2006. The new subterranean facility greatly expands the previous facilities that are still housed on the main deck of the Liberty Memorial. The National World War I Museum tells the story of the war and related global events from their origins before 1914 through the 1918 Armistice and 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Visitors enter the facility across a glass bridge above a field of 9,000 poppies, each one representing 1,000 war combatant deaths. The museum holds two theaters, exhibitions with period artifacts (including a tank, uniforms, guns, maps, photographs of major forces) in state-of-the-art interactive displays, a 20,000 sq. ft. research center and library, multi-purpose conference room, and museum store. The last group of museum galleries focuses on the United States' military and civilian involvement in the war and President Woodrow Wilson's efforts for peace. The museum also hosts eminent guest lecturers, authors, and films related to the events of World War I.

Sources

Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference and removed a media
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com