FEATURE image: Brigadier General Gouverneur Kemble Warren, 1888, by Karl Gerhardt. Gettysburg National Military Park. Author’s photograph taken in April 2006 (65%).
One of Gettysburg’s most famous statues among the park’s many hundreds of monuments, markers and plaques, Gouverneur (his first name, not his title) Kemble Warren (1830-1882) was a civil engineer and U.S Army general from New York. The statue, by Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940) was dedicated in 1888 and is on Little Round Top. Karl Gerhardt was an American sculptor who is famous for the death mask of President U.S. Grant in 1885.
At this spot, on July 2, 1863, General Warren, commander of the Second Army Corps (part of the Army of the Potomac) and its chief engineer, detected Confederate General John Hood’s flanking movement and, recognizing the importance of the undefended position on the left flank of the U.S. Army, directed on his own initiative, the brigade of Colonel Strong Vincent (1837-1863) from Pennsylvania to occupy it minutes before it was attacked. While this action saved the key Union position on Cemetery Ridge, Col. Vincent was carried off the field mortally wounded and died at a nearby farm on July 7, 1863.
The statue was dedicated by veterans of the 5th New York Infantry Regiment (Duryee’s Zouaves). While Little Round Top is famous for the fighting on July 2, 1863, seven men were also killed around these rocks on the morning of July 3, 1863.
FEATURE Image: Cook/DuPage Cos., Willow Springs, IL. The Worker, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), Camp Chicago-Lemont, Company 612, est. June 4, 1933. Author’s photograph, 6/2018 6mb.
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a major program in President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Called “Mr. Roosevelt’s Tree Army,” there were over 50 such camps in Illinois alone and over 1000 special projects in the state between April 1933 and July 1942. The camp at Willow Springs was one of FDR’s first such camps established in spring 1933. The Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy indicates June 4, 1933 as the establishment date for Camp Chicago-Lemont, Company 612 in Willow Springs, Illinois.
The recent statue called The Worker was dedicated on June 3, 2001 to commemorate the dedication and spirit of the young men, aged 17 to 28 years old, who served in the CCC and specifically in Willow Springs, Illinois. The larger-than-life-sized bronze CCC Worker Statue stands at the intersection of Archer Avenue (Route 171) and Willow Boulevard in Willow Springs Woods, and is one of many such similar statues that stand on the American landscape in tribute to the men of the CCC.
The purpose of this government “alphabet” program, one of the New Deal’s most successful, was multi-faceted. The primary motivation was to address staggering unemployment numbers of up to 25% (and higher in certain pockets of the country) caused by the collapse of the private enterprise system in the Great Depression that started on Wall Street in October 1929. The CCC was specifically designed to give jobs to young men and so to relieve their families who had great difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression.
Camps proliferated all over the country in every state. In its nine years and 3 months duration the CCC employed upwards of 3 million young men between 17 and 28 years old. For their manual labor jobs related to conservation and the development of natural resources provided by the federal program, these men received their food, clothing, lodging, medical and dental attention, along with a paycheck of $30 a month (around $600 in today’s dollars), most of which ($25) had to be sent home to their struggling families. The popular program enjoyed wide bi-partisan and public support.
Each camp could house around 200 men and, while the lifestyle was quite simple, it beat panhandling on the streets in the mind of most of the CCC’s young enrollees.
The Emergency Conservation Work (EWC) Act, or CCC, was part of the Emergency Session of the 73rd Congress that FDR called on March 9, 1933, just days after his first inauguration. FDR promised if granted emergency powers he would have 250,000 men in camps by the end of July 1933. Senate Bill S. 598 was introduced on March 27, 1933, passed both houses of Congress and was signed by FDR on March 31, 1933, less than one month into his 4-year term. Though opposed at first by Big Labor who feared that jobs would be filled by this army of non-union workers, the Roosevelt Administration went ahead and mobilized the men, material, transportation and necessary bureaucracy to establish the CCC on a scale never seen before in the United States in peacetime. Dated April l5, 1933, Executive Order 6101 authorized the program, appointed Robert Fechner (1876-1939) as its first director and established an Advisory Council with representatives from the War, Labor, Agriculture and Interior Departments. It was part of “the 100 days” that marked the passage into law of a series of 15 major bills during FDR’s first 100 days as the 32nd U.S. president.
The Federal program provided that these work projects took place mostly on rural lands owned by government entities. CCC workers throughout the country were credited with renewing the nation’s decimated forests by planting an estimated three billion trees between 1933 and 1942. Their work also revived the nation’s crumbling or nonexistent infrastructure.
The CCC was immensely popular, but Pearl Harbor effectively ended it. With the establishment of the draft and industry involved in the war effort, the government no longer needed to subsidize work. In 1942, the last CCC camps were dismantled or repurposed for the army.
With the exception of Social Security and the Rural Electrification Act, no program of the New Deal era has ever had a greater influence on the country. In Illinois alone, the impact was remarkable. Over 92,000 men worked in the CCC in the state. An estimated 60 million trees were planted, 400 bridges built, 1,200 miles of trail made and nearly 5,000 flood-control apparati put in place.
FEATURE image: Capt. A. Lincoln, Illinois Volunteer Militia, Black Hawk War, 1832, bronze, 1930. by Leonard Crunelle (1872-1944), Dixon, Illinois. The large bronze statue was the first prominent public depiction of the 16th U.S. president as a young adult man. Author’s photograph, 6/2017 4.70mb.
Illinois in the early 1830s was the edge of the American frontier and virtually wilderness. The Native American tribes were being expelled from the northern tier of the state established in 1818 by ceding their lands to the U.S Federal Government. Most of the Native Americans were pushed out of the state by treaty by the end of the 1820s. This quickly changed the landscape of a rapidly growing Illinois by way of new arrivals of settlers from the East in the 1840s and 1850s. Settlers were accompanied by ambitious commercial projects such as transportation canals and, even more impressive, the railroads, all of which worked to open up the Middle West of the United States to global markets and industrial prosperity.
Abraham Lincoln, born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1809, was 21 years old when he arrived into Illinois in 1830 with his family from Indiana. During the 1832 Black Hawk War, the 23-year-old Abe Lincoln lived in New Salem, Illinois, and was elected captain in the Illinois National Guard. The bronze statue, cast in 1930, of Lincoln in Dixon, Illinois, depicts for the first time a yet untapped aspect of the 16th president’s life and career for his ever-expanding public iconology – that of the youthful adult Lincoln starting out in his career.
Lincoln enlisted in the Illinois Volunteers on April 21, 1832 near Richland Creek in Sangamon County which was located about halfway between New Salem and Springfield, Illinois. The next day, Lincoln mustered into state service at Beardstown, Illinois, about 40 miles to the west on the Illinois River.
The 6-foot-4-inch Lincoln was elected captain, a position he said he was both surprised and proud to receive.
Lincoln mustered into U.S. service near Janesville, Wisconsin on May 3, 1832. He mustered out on May 27, 1832 in Ottawa, Wisconsin. Lincoln never fired a shot.
On that same day of May 27, 1832 Lincoln re-enlisted as a private in Captain Iles’ company. When that enlistment expired, Lincoln re-enlisted again in Captain Early’s company.
Lincoln finally mustered out of military service on July 10, 1832 at Whitewater, Wisconsin.
Young Lincoln was stationed in Dixon, Illinois, at Fort Dixon on the Rock River where this statue — unveiled in late September 1930 — stands. The sculptor is French-born Leonard Crunelle (1872-1944).
Crunelle’s immigrant family arrived in Illinois in 1889 and settled in Decatur, about 40 miles east of Springfield, Lincoln’s hometown. When Crunelle worked in the local mines, he started making fired clay sculptures. His work was brought to the attention of prominent American sculptor and teacher Lorado Taft (1860-1936) who brought young Crunelle to Chicago to study at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At the same time, Crunelle began to do decorative work for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
The bronze sculpture of Lincoln – who later as a lawyer and politician expressed pride in his brief military service – is one of the first attempts to depict the Great Emancipator in his youth. Though Crunelle had made a statue called Lincoln the Debater for display in a park in Freeport, Illinois, in 1929 the slightly later Capt. A. Lincoln in Dixon, Illinois, depicted Lincoln more than half the great debater’s age.
FEATURE Image: The Pickwick Theatre Building, an Art Deco movie palace, opened in 1928. Its marquee is one of the most recognized structures in Park Ridge, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The marquee became famous nationwide when it was featured in the opening sequence of the nationally syndicated television show, Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert’s At the Movies. Author’s photograph.
The Pickwick Theatre Building was designed by architectural partners R. Harold Zook (1889-1949) and younger engineer and architect William F. McCaughey (pronounced McCoy). The complex includes a movie auditorium, restaurant, storefronts and offices. Both architects apprenticed under Howard Van Doren Shaw (1869-1926), a leading Arts and Crafts architect and early colleague to Frank Lloyd Wright. Zook and McCaughey did significant work in other affluent Chicago suburbs and out of state. Zook designed homes in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois, including his own quirky home in Hinsdale, Illinois, in 1924 where he resided until his death in 1949 (see –https://www.ourmidland.com/realestate/article/Designed-by-R-Harold-Zook-This-Quirky-Illinois-16056515.php – retrieved April 25, 2023). Zook’s public buildings included the St. Charles Municipal Building (1939) and the DuPage County Courthouse (1937). Zook and McCaughey had also partnered to design and build Maine East High School (1927). For a photograph of R. Harold Zook, see-http://www.zookhomeandstudio.org/r-harold-zook.html – retrieved April 25, 2023. McCaughey was born in Virginia and came to Illinois in 1916. He made his home in Park Ridge for many years and maintained an office in the new Pickwick Theater Building he designed.
Originally, the theater had a seating capacity of 1,450. The tower is 100 feet tall with a decorative limestone sunburst carving and capped by an ornamental 15-foot iron lantern. The sunburst is filled by stained glass while on each side of the central tower are two shorter matching pedestals capped with their own lanterns. The building faces both Northwest Highway and Prospect Avenue in nearly equal dimensions (the Prospect side is about 12 feet longer).The building is capped by a cornice with dentils as its second-floor window bays are separated by art deco piers. Each façade meets at a rounded corner. The base of the tower is met by its massive cast-iron theatre marquee.
The Pickwick Theater Building was erected at a major intersection not far from today’s Metra Union Pacific line commuter railroad station. By 1930, when the theater building was new, the population of Park Ridge had grown to 10,000 residents. (In 2020 there were almost 40,000 residents).
Classic Art Deco
In addition to being on the National Register of Historic Places, The Pickwick Theater Building is noted for its Art Deco style of architecture. Art Deco is defined by its emphasis on geometric designs, bright colors, and a range of ornament and motifs. Zook and McCaughey’s romantic style demonstrates that they were as much artists as architects evident in their distinctive designs, use of natural materials, and quality of craftsmanship.
Sculptor and designer Alfonso Iannelli (1888-1965), who maintained a studio and home in Park Ridge, contributed much to the Pickwick’s interior architecture and ornamentation. Iannelli ‘s decorative work for the building extended to the sculptures, murals, fire curtain, plaster panels, and even its Wurlitzer organ console as well as the cast-iron marquee outside. In 1990, the theater expanded the Pickwick’s screenings without altering the original auditorium while the marquee’s original 1928 red-and-gold color scheme and treatment was restored in 2012.
On December 6, 2022 it was announced the Pickwick Theatre would be closed in January 2023. At the time of this post’s publishing, the theatre was still open and showing a roster of new films. See – https://www.pickwicktheatre.com/ – retrieved April 25, 2023.
Alice Sinkevitch, AIA Guide to Chicago, 2nd Edition, Harcourt, Inc., Orlando, 2004, p. 417.
Yanul, Thomas G., and Paul E. Sprague, “Pickwick Theater Building,” Cook County, Illinois. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1974. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.