History Podcasts

National Women’s Memorial Bloemfontein

National Women’s Memorial Bloemfontein

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The National Women’s Memorial in Bloemfontein in South Africa commemorates the 27,000 women and children who perished in concentration camps set up by the British during the Second Anglo-Boer War.

Depicting an Afrikaner woman holding her child seeing her husband off to war, the National Women’s Memorial is flanked by a large obelisk and is located near the Anglo-Boer War Museum.

National Women’s Memorial history

In the South African War 1899-1902, Great Britain fought the two Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, for control of what is now South Africa. During the war, the British army captured more than 100,000 Boer civilians.

Most of the people held captive by the British were women and children. They were taken from their farms to about 50 prison camps, which were the first places in history to be called concentration camps. Conditions in the camps were terrible and more than 27,000 women and children died, along with around 1,500 men. The British held black African prisoners in separate camps, where about 15,000 people died.

During the darkest days of the Anglo-Boer War, President M.T. Steyn felt strongly that building a memorial dedicated to the women and children who suffered during the war was important. President chaired a conference would be called of all the Dutch churches and political organizations in the four colonies in Bloemfontein to discuss the issue. It was decided that the a monument would be built to the memory of the mothers, women and children who has suffered in the conflict.

The monument was partially funded through donations from the public.

During the unveiling of the memorial President Steyn could justly declare: “The erection of this memorial was made possible not only by the wealth of the wealthy but especially by the poverty of the poor.”

National Women’s Memorial today

Today, the monument also includes the grave of Emily Hobhouse, a British woman who campaigned for human rights during the war. The moment is near the Anglo-Boar War Museum which gives a comprehensive account of the conflict.

Getting to the National Women’s Memorial

Bloemfontein can be reached from Johannesburg in a drive of 400km or by air in a flight that lasts under an hour. There are also long-distance bus and train services. Flights, train and bus services are also available from the Cape. Most visitors choose to drive around the area.

National Women's Monument

The National Women’s Monument (also called the National Women’s Memorial) is located in Bloemfontein, South Africa. It was built in 1913 as a tribute to the women and children who suffered and died in British concentration camps during the South African War of 1899–1902.

The monument is a sandstone obelisk, 121 feet (37 meters) in height, designed by architect Frans Soff and sculptor Anton van Wouw. At the base of the obelisk is a sculpture of two women and a dying child. Panels on either side of the base show historical images. A crescent-shaped wall surrounds the memorial. The monument also includes the grave of Emily Hobhouse, a British woman who campaigned for human rights during the war.

In the South African War, Great Britain fought the two Boer republics—the South African Republic and the Orange Free State—for control of what is now South Africa. The Boers (also called Afrikaners) were mostly descendants of settlers from the Netherlands. During the war, the British army detained more than 100,000 Boer civilians.

Most of the people held captive by the British were women and children. They were taken from their farms to about 50 prison camps. The camps were the first places in history to be called concentration camps. Conditions in the camps were terrible. Detainees were crowded together in buildings, in tents, or in the open air. Food supplies and sanitation facilities were inadequate. In such conditions, diseases spread rapidly, killing more than 26,000 women and children. About 1,500 men, most of them elderly, also died in the camps. The British held black African prisoners in separate camps, where about 15,000 people died.

M.T. Steyn was the president of the Orange Free State, a Boer republic, during the war. After the war, he asked for the monument to be built.


Design and construction Edit

The memorial is located in the Hemicycle, the ceremonial entrance to the Arlington National Cemetery. [3] Originally, the cemetery had three gates: The Treasury Gate at the intersection of Porter Avenue and Patton Drive (now Eisenhower Drive) the McClellan Gate at the intersection of McClellan Drive and Patton Drive and the Sheridan Gate, where Custis Walk intersected Sherman Avenue south of what is now L'Enfant Drive. Although the McClellan and Sheridan gates had columns topped by a pediment, these were not much different from a gate found in any large cemetery.

The Hemicycle was built to create a ceremonial gate, and to honor the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington (the first President of the United States and American Revolutionary War hero). A number of public improvements and memorials were planned for construction in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to celebrate the bicentennial of Washington's birth. [4] Among these were Arlington Memorial Bridge and the Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway (now known as the George Washington Memorial Parkway). [5] To link the Virginia landing of the bridge with Arlington National Cemetery, a wide avenue known as Memorial Avenue was constructed and a new entrance to the cemetery planned to replace the old entrances at the McClellan Gate and Sheridan Gate. [6] (Expansion of the cemetery toward the Potomac River in 1971 left the McClellan Gate deep inside Arlington, and no longer functional as a ceremonial gateway. [7] The Sheridan Gate was dismantled and placed in outdoor storage. [8] )

In 1924, Congress appropriated $1 million to construct Memorial Avenue and the Hemicycle. [9] The architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White won the competition to build Arlington Memorial Bridge as well as the new ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery. William Mitchell Kendall, an associate in the firm, designed the Hemicycle. [10] In May 1927, Kendall presented designs for the Hemicycle and "Avenue of Heroes" connecting the west terminus of the Arlington Memorial Bridge to the main gate of Arlington. [11] He proposed the following:

This abrupt change of grade suggests the creating here of the chief memorial entrance to the Arlington National Cemetery. A plaza has been shown here in part excavated out of the hill, whence lead to the north and to the south roads respectively to and from the Mansion. The western end of the plaza is bounded by a semicircular retaining wall 30 feet in height and 225 feet in diameter. This retaining wall will be decorated with niches, pilasters, and tablets bearing inscriptions. Access is provided to the terrace surmounting the retaining wall, whence an all-embracing view of the parkway may be obtained. [12]

The United States Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), which has statutory authority to approve the design of structures on federal property in the D.C. metro area, approved the Hemicycle's design in May 1928. [13]

To connect the Hemicycle to Arlington Memorial Bridge, a new ceremonial avenue was also approved. Originally called the "Avenue of Heroes," but later and officially named "Memorial Avenue". [14] the roadway was designed by Commission of Fine Arts member Ferruccio Vitale and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. [15] Work began on Memorial Avenue in early January 1930. [16]

The CFA reviewed and approved the plans for the Hemicycle in September 1930. [17] Bids for the Hemicycle's granite were advertised in February 1931, [18] and awarded on March 4. The North Carolina Granite Co. supplied the granite for the facing, the New England Granite Works provided the granite for the balustrades, and the granite for the pylons and gate houses came from the John Swenson Granite Co. The New England Granite Co. constructed the curbs in the plaza and the concrete stairs. Work on the Hemicycle began on July 1, 1931. [19] By April 1932, Memorial Avenue was largely complete but there were delays in paving it. There were also delays in completing the Boundary Channel Bridge, the short structure that bridged the narrow channel of the Potomac River between Columbia Island and the Virginia shoreline. The tracks of the Rosslyn Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad were to be moved and lowered into a 20-foot (6.1 m) trench to avoid an at-grade crossing with Memorial Avenue. [20] But this project was delayed as well. [21]

The new ceremonial entry to Arlington was carved from the hillside that culminates in Arlington House. [22] The Hemicycle was constructed of reinforced concrete, [23] and faced with granite quarried at Mount Airy, North Carolina. [24] [25]

The Hemicycle was informally dedicated by President Herbert Hoover on January 16, 1932. [26] [27] Its total cost was $900,000, [19] of which $500,000 went toward the purchase of granite. [18] The formal dedication occurred on April 9. Colonel Ulysses S. Grant III, executive director of the Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission and an officer in the Corps of Engineers, formally opened Memorial Avenue and the Boundary Channel Bridge. (Memorial Avenue was only 30 feet (9.1 m) wide and unpaved, but the Corps was working to have it widened to 60 feet (18 m) and have it paved by July 1.) [28]

The Hemicycle almost did not get finished. With the Great Depression worsening, the United States House of Representatives deleted all fiscal year 1933 funding for the project. This put the Hemicycle's completion and the paving of Memorial Avenue on hold. [29] Ten months later, the CFA met to discuss what to do about the Hemicycle should no more funds be forthcoming. [30]

Franklin D. Roosevelt took office as President of the United States in March 1933. Convinced that massive federal spending on public works was essential not only to "prime the pump" of the economy but also to cut unemployment, Roosevelt proposed passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The act contained $6 billion in public works spending. The act passed on June 13, 1933, and Roosevelt signed it into law on June 16. The Public Works Administration (PWA) was immediately established to disburse the funds appropriated by the act. The District of Columbia received a $3 million grant for road and bridge construction, and the city said on July 14 it would use a portion of these funds to finish the Hemicycle and Memorial Avenue. [31]

Work continued even after the Hemicycle was considered complete. In November 1934, 178 white oaks were planted in an informal alignment along Memorial Avenue. [32] It was not until September 1936 that the Washington Post reported that federal officials considered the Hemicycle "finished". The structure's fountain was in place, and the Hemicycle was now lit at night. Lighting had also been installed along Memorial Avenue, and holly trees and additional oaks had been planted along road. [33]

Description of the Hemicycle Edit

The Hemicycle is a Neoclassical [34] semicircle 30 feet (9.1 m) high and 226 feet (69 m) in diameter. [25] [26] As planned, it served as a retaining wall for the hill behind it. [35] In the center is an apse 20 feet (6.1 m) across and 30 feet (9.1 m) high. [3] [26] In total, the Hemicycle covers 4.2 acres (1.7 ha). [36] The walls ranged from 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) thick at the base to 2 feet 6 inches (0.76 m) at the top. [37] The accent panels and coffers in the apse were inlaid with red granite from Texas. [37] The Great Seal of the United States was carved in granite in the center of the apse arch, while on either side were seals of the United States Department of the Army (south) and the United States Department of the Navy (north). [25] [38] Along the facade of the Hemicycle were 10 false doors or niches which were intended to house sculptures, memorial reliefs, and other artworks (which would act as memorials). [12] The outer, middle, and inner niche on each side was circular and 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) deep, while the other two niches between them were 2 feet (0.61 m) deep, rectangular, and had an oak leaf carved into the rear wall. All the niches were 9 feet (2.7 m) wide and 19 feet (5.8 m) high. [25] [39] The apse originally held a fountain, [40] although by the 1990s it had not been used in many years. [39] A circle of unkempt grass filled the central plaza embraced by the Hemicycle's wings. [41]

On top of the Hemicycle was a terrace 24 feet (7.3 m) wide. Originally, access to the terrace was granted only by going to the either end of the Hemicycle, through a pedestrian gate, and up some stairs. Above each arched entrance to the pedestrian stairs was a granite eagle. But these entrances were never opened, and remained locked for more than 50 years. [39]

Memorial Avenue diverged north and south at the Hemicycle, passing through wrought iron gates into Arlington National Cemetery. [3] [25] The north gate was named the Schley Gate after Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, [42] son of American Civil War Commanding General Winfield Scott and hero of the Battle of Santiago Bay during the Spanish–American War. [43] The south gate was named the Roosevelt Gate for President Theodore Roosevelt. [42] In the center of each gate, front and back, is a gold wreath 30 inches (76 cm) in diameter. Each wreath cradles the shield of one of the armed services that existed in 1932: The United States Marine Corps and United States Army on Roosevelt Gate, and the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard on Schley Gate. [42] (The United States Air Force did not exist until 1947.) [44] The iron portion of each gate was divided into 13 sections by wrought iron fasces, and above six of the sections were iron spikes topped by gold stars. [39] Each gate weighed 4 stone (0.025 t). [25]

The 50-foot (15 m) [45] tall granite pylons at either end of the Hemicycle and on the eastern side of each gate were topped by decorative granite funeral urns. Each pylon was also adorned with a gold-gilded lamp. [39] The pylons did not have deep foundations, but were set about 3 feet (0.91 m) into the soil. They were not anchored to the soil in any way, but used their own weight for stability. [45]

History of the Hemicycle Edit

The Hemicycle was never completed. Plans called for a large statuary figure to be placed in the central apse. On December 20, 1935, the CFA approved a preliminary design submitted by sculptor Adolph Alexander Weinman of a warrior youth, head bowed, supported by clouds beneath his feet. His left hand would hold a sheathed sword (symbol of duty performed), and his right hand would be raised in salute. Behind him a flying cherub would hold his helmet, as if carrying it into the realm of immortality. [46] A revised model was approved on May 2, 1936. [47] But the apse and niches were not filled with memorials as planned. [48] No parking was available near its entrance, and pedestrians were forced to walk across Arlington Memorial Bridge and down Memorial Avenue or take the streetcar to reach the site. Few people visited the site. [49] In 1938, the Commission of Fine Arts came to the conclusion that the Hemicycle was blocking the view of the Lincoln Memorial from Arlington House. Ivy was planted around the Hemicycle and over the next few years gardeners encouraged it to grow over the structure. [50]

By the 1980s, the Hemicycle was in serious disrepair. It had never been used for any ceremonial purpose, and Arlington National Cemetery officials largely ignored it since it was technically not part of the cemetery grounds. [35] The National Park Service, which had jurisdiction over the Hemicycle, never provided much maintenance for the structure because it seemed too connected to Arlington National Cemetery. [51] By 1986, many of the stone blocks and the concrete urns comprising the memorial were damaged, the landscaping was seriously overgrown, and moss was growing on the carvings. [49] [52] Weeds grew throughout the Hemicycle, and the sidewalk was cracked and broken in numerous places. [53] The Hemicycle also leaked, and many of the stones were discolored from water. The mortar between the stones was also damaged in many spots by calcified salts. [49]

Approval of the memorial Edit

In the early 1980s, women veterans began pressing for a memorial to women in the U.S. armed services. They won the formal support of the American Veterans Committee (AVC), a liberal veterans' group, in 1982. [54] Representative Mary Rose Oakar, chair of the Subcommittee on Library and Memorials of the Committee on House Administration, introduced legislation (H.R. 4378) to establish a memorial. However, Secretary of the Interior Donald P. Hodel and the National Park Service both opposed the legislation, arguing that the existing Vietnam Women's Memorial and the planned United States Navy Memorial already incorporated and honored women. Despite this opposition, the legislation passed the House of Representatives in November 1985. [55] In March 1986, the Subcommittee on Public Lands of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee tabled identical legislation introduced by Senator Frank Murkowski. Committee chair Malcolm Wallop was concerned that too many memorials and monuments were being placed on the National Mall, and wanted a statutory scheme that contained approval criteria enacted first. [56] But United States Air Force Brigadier General Wilma Vaught argued that a statue or monument was not enough what was needed was a memorial with exhibits about the contributions of women in the armed forces. [57] Subsequently, in late 1985 the AVC established the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation to raise funds and lobby Congress for a memorial. [50] [58]

The Foundation began building support outside Congress for the memorial legislation. The Foundation turned first to the larger veterans groups, and won the support of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. It then sought approval from the Department of Defense. Although no federal law yet established criteria for the approval or siting of memorials in Washington, D.C., Congress was considering the Commemorative Works Act of 1986 which would restrict military monuments in such a way as to bar a women's memorial. When DOD said it had no objections, this removed most grounds for opposing H.R. 4378. This support (and lack of opposition) persuaded the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission to approve the memorial. Since the National Park Service (a unit of the Department of the Interior) sat on the commission, and the vote was unanimous, [58] Hodel dropped his objections as well. [59]

Passage of legislation in mid-October 1986 establishing the Korean War Veterans Memorial gave momentum to women's memorial bill. [60] On October 16, the Senate adopted via unanimous consent agreement House Joint Resolution 36 ("Memorial to Honor Women Who Have Served In Or With The Armed Forces"), which incorporated the provisions of H.R. 4378. [61] The House passed the H.J. Res. 36 by voice vote on October 17. [62] President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law on November 6, 1986. [63] The bill required that all fund-raising for the Memorial and groundbreaking for construction occur by November 1991. [64]

Locating the memorial Edit

After her retirement in 1985, Brigadier General Vaught became the primary spokesperson for the WMSAMF. [59] According to Vaught, she was elected president of the memorial foundation because she missed the first meeting and was not there to turn down the honor. [65]

Site selection needed to occur before the memorial's design. Vaught was convinced that the memorial had to have some association with an existing military facility or memorial. The site search began in the spring of 1988. At first, site reviews focused on the National Mall, but WMSAMF quickly determined that no site was large enough to accommodate the building the foundation had in mind. Sites which were large enough were too far from existing memorials and attractions to draw the attention and tourists the foundation wanted. [66] Toward the end of the site search process, Vaught and her National Park Service guide drove past the Hemicyle. After learning that the Hemicycle served no specific purpose and was in disrepair, Vaught sought the Hemicycle for the memorial site. [67] Vaught also correctly guessed that it would be easier to win approval of the Hemicycle site for the memorial than a National Mall space. With federal law allowing the foundation only five years to raise the funds for and construct the memorial, Vaught wished to move ahead with the less-than-perfect site rather than risk the memorial altogether battling for a mall spot. [68]

The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) had statutory authority to approve the siting of the memorial. National Park Service officials testified that the memorial would help restore and enhance the Hemicycle, while United States Army personnel stated that it would help correct the impression that only men had contributed to war-fighting efforts. Vaught testified that it was the intent of the Foundation to build an educational memorial, one which would incorporate a computer room, exhibits, and a theater. She pledged that no memorial would be built which detracted from the dignity of Arlington National Cemetery. CFA chair J. Carter Brown responded very positively during the hearing, noting how the memorial would preserve and restore a decrepit landmark and that the location was very apropos. [52] However, Brown and other members of the CFA emphasized that any memorial design would have to be subtle so as not to radically disturb the architecture of the Hemicycle or the existing gateway to the cemetery. [52] [69] Vaught had suggested a memorial design competition open to the public (similar to the competition which generated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial), but Brown cautioned that open competitions tended to generate grandiose schemes which would be inappropriate for the Hemicycle. [52] Vaught agreed with Brown's concerns. [70]

On June 28, 1988, the CFA unanimously approved the Hemicycle as the site for the Women In Military Service For America Memorial. However, in its approval, the commission once more cautioned WMSAMF that it must not radically alter the design and feel of the Hemicycle and Arlington gateway. [71]

The design competition Edit

To prepare for the memorial's design, WMSAMF commissioned an engineering survey of the site in August 1988. [72]

Vaught estimated that the design process would begin before the end of 1988. However, the Chicago Tribune reported that WMSAMF had already proposed an underground visitors' center and using the niches in the Hemicycle for statues. [72] [73] The entire cost of the memorial was estimated at $5 million. [72] (The idea for statues was later dropped by the memorial's board of directors. According to Vaught, "It goes back to the choice we made at the beginning to keep the exterior so that it represents all." The lack of statuary also meant that people would not interpret Arlington National Cemetery as a cemetery just for women.) [74]

The design competition was announced on December 7, 1988. Anyone 18 years of age or older was eligible to submit a design. The only requirements were that the design incorporate the existing Hemicycle and that it include a visitors' center, auditorium, and room for computers for public use. [34] [75] Although entrants were told the Hemicycle was on the National Register of Historic Places, they were free to change it, build the memorial anywhere on or under the site (behind, buried beneath, in front, on top, to either side). [41] A judging panel (led by Jaan Holt, professor of architecture at Virginia Tech) would select three designs and give each of the short-listed designers $10,000 for further development. One of the revised designs would be chosen as the memorial's design. The deadline for the memorial, now estimated to cost $15 million to $20 million, was May 15, 1989. [34] [75] A late 1990 date for groundbreaking was anticipated. [34]

The judging process Edit

The judging process proved to be more complex than anticipated. The judging panel consisted of the following individuals: [76]

    Margaret A. Brewer, United States Marine Corps (ret.) , architect and architecture critic for The Boston Globe , architect who designed the Parliament House in AustraliaJeanne M. Holm, United States Air Force (ret.)
  • Mary Miss, American sculptor
  • Joseph Passonneau, Washington, D.C. architect
  • Peter G. Rolland, a New York Citylandscape architect Connie L. Slewitzke, U.S. Army Nurse Corps (ret.)
  • LaBarbara Wingfall, professor of landscape architecture at Kansas State University

Campbell was chosen to chair the jury. Before the judging began, the jury visited the Hemicycle and viewed the structure from the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame site in order to get an understanding of the vista to be protected. The competition received 139 entries, which were anonymously displayed for the private judging event at the National Building Museum in early June 1989. Each entry consisted of two or three 30 by 40 inches (76 by 102 cm) paperboard panels. On the first day, judges were asked to include or exclude each design. About half the entries were eliminated after this round. After discussion, the judges voted to include or exclude again — although two "include" votes were required to retain an entry during the second round. At the end of this round, only 30 designs were left. During evening discussions, the jury noted that there were really only about four or five basic designs. Additionally, the military judges tended to vote for certain designs, while the architects and artists tended to vote for different designs. These judging patterns were also discussed (although it remained unclear why the differences occurred). On the second day, the judges reviewed the remaining entries and determined that only three created a truly outstanding memorial. By noon on the second day, the finalists had been chosen. A jury report was then drafted for the finalists to use in revising their designs. [41] The judging panel also identified an alternate in case one of the three finalists dropped out. [64] [77]

Before the short-list was announced, WMSAMF officials noted that the alternate was considered by the judging panel to be very close to making the cut. [41] The foundation made the alternate a finalist because it was the only design that located the memorial behind the Hemicycle. The foundation agreed to include this submission as a fourth candidate in the revision round, although the team would not receive one of the $10,000 prizes. [64] [77] The three top finalists and their designs were:

  • Teresa Norton, et al., for their design for a cluster of 49 bronze trees in a rectilinear pattern on the Hemicycle plaza and a visitors' center beneath the plaza. [64][78]
  • Gregory Galford and Maria Antonis for their design for a visitors' center on top of the Hemicycle, a viewing platform behind it, and a 7-foot (2.1 m) depression in the Hemicycle plaza with a continuous spiral design. [64][78] , and associates for a hemicycle of 10 illuminated 18-foot (5.5 m) high glass pylons behind the Hemicycle, accessed by stairs piercing the existing niches. [64][78][79]

The fourth entry was by Stephen D. Siegle and Margaret Derwent of Chicago, which restored the Hemicycle in a Beaux-Arts style [80] and put the visitor's center behind the Hemicycle. [77] [78] Nine teams received an "honorable mention". [64] [77] The four finalists and nine honorable mentions were put on public display during the summer at the National Building Museum. [78]

In the revision round, WMSAMF asked the finalists to focus on the computerized visitors' center, the auditorium, and the restoration of the Hemicycle. None of the finalists, the foundation said, successfully addressed all three issues. [78] WMSAMF asked the finalists to consider placing the visitors' center behind the Hemicycle. [64] [77] As the revision round began, WMSAMF estimated that the memorial would cost $25 million to build. However, it only had $500,000 available for construction. [78]

Revision round and selection of final design Edit

Selection of the final design occurred in November 1989. Campbell and one of the retired generals comprised the selection panel. [41] The winning design, by Manfredi and Weiss, was unveiled on November 8, 1989. [81] The winning design featured 10 triangular 39-foot (12 m) high illuminated glass pyramids on top of the Hemicycle. The design was intended to represent the barriers women had to pass through in their military careers. It was illuminated because tall or high monuments (Arlington House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument) were also illuminated at night. Behind the Hemicycle, underground, was the computer room and visitors' center. [81] It contained a 225-seat auditorium, a bank of computer terminals, and niches for displays. The visitors' center was accessed by piercing the Hemicycle in four places and creating stairs that led inside. Transparent bridges criss-crossed the interior of the visitors' center, allowing patrons to look down on the memorial. The Hemicycle itself would be refurbished by planting a new plaza of grass and adding small clusters of trees on either side. [80] Judging panel chair Robert Campbell said the design was "extraordinarily rich and provocative". [81] The Norton et al. design for a plaza of bronze trees was the alternate winner. [80]

Foundation officials said construction of the memorial would begin in November 1991. The cost of the memorial alone (without Hemicycle restoration) was estimated at just $15 million, another $10 million was required by law to endow the memorial with maintenance and operational funds. Unfortunately, the foundation had raised only $700,000 to $750,000. [80] [81]

Design controversy Edit

The design required the approval of the Commission of Fine Arts, National Capital Planning Commission, National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, National Park Service, and Virginia Commission for Historic Preservation. [82]

Unfortunately, the final design was leaked to the Washington Post, which printed it before the design was submitted to the CFA, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), or other agencies for approval. J. Carter Brown was enraged, and he asked the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission to stop the design approval process immediately. The CFA, NCPC, National Park Service, Virginia Commission for Historic Preservation, and other agencies with approval over the design let the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation know informally that the Weiss/Manfredi design was not acceptable. [83] Senator John Warner, J. Carter Brown, and the superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery all publicly voiced their opposition to the design. Opposition centered on the glass prisms. It was felt they were too tall and would interfere with the vista between Arlington House and the Kennedy grave site toward the Lincoln Memorial, and that their light would detract from the existing monuments. [84] The Union Leader newspaper quoted an unnamed official with an approval agency, "There's just no way those prisms aren't going to get lopped off. They are just too much." [84] Marion Weiss defended the memorial, arguing that the visit from Arlington House was preserved and the lighting would be very soft. [84] Robert Campbell also defended the design, arguing that a memorial to women was long overdue, the illuminated prisms would not be disruptive, and the Hemicycle was doomed to deterioration and irrelevancy without it. [82]

Vaught was deeply upset by the incident, and later said she believed the design never received a fair hearing. [49]

First fund-raising effort and congressional extension Edit

With the design process stalled, Vaught focused on fundraising in 1990 and 1991 while a new design could be completed. [83]

Six months after the design controversy broke, the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation had raised just $1 million. [85] The Foundatin announced a program in which state legislatures were asked to donate a dollar for every woman veteran in their state. Florida became the first state to do so, and donated $20,000. In July 1990, WMSAMF announced it was raffling off a home worth $1 million in an attempt to raise $1 million for the $25 million memorial. [86] Real estate developer Landmark Communities agreed to build a 6,000 square feet (560 m 2 ) luxury home in Centreville, Virginia, and transfer title to the memorial foundation in exchange for a share of the profits from the raffle. The foundation hoped to sell 250,000 tickets at $25 each. But by November 1990, just 24,000 tickets had been sold, forcing the foundation to extend the deadline for ticket sales to February 1991. [87] WMSAMF blamed the slow ticket sales on competition for another news event (secret footage of D.C. Mayor Marion Barry smoking crack cocaine was made public), which made it difficult to get word about the raffle out to the public. By mid-January, just 27,000 tickets had been sold, and WMSA had raised a grand total of $2 million toward the memorial's cost. [88] Additionally, the legality of a raffle varied from state to state, with some states imposing restrictions on legal raffles and others not. The also hampered raffle efforts the foundation said. Ten days before the raffle, just 28,000 tickets had been sold. Organizers now said they hoped to sell just 100,000 tickets by the mid-February deadline. [89] A third problem, the foundation claimed, was a downturn in the real estate market. Since few people would want to pay the high property taxes on the home, the foundation assumed the winner would want to sell it. But with housing sales slow, ticket sales were affected, too. In the end, the foundation sold only 50,000 tickets, and barely covered their expenses. [90]

By November 1991, the five-year deadline for fund-raising and groundbreaking, the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation had raised $4 million but spent $3 million, leaving it with just $1 million to build its memorial. [91] [92] Congressional authorization for the memorial actually expired, leaving the memorial in limbo. But after memorial advocates assured Congress that they were back on track with fund-raising, Congress voted the foundation a two-year extension to complete its fund-raising efforts and get construction started. [91] [93]

Design approval Edit

Much of Vaught's time between November 1989 and early 1992 was spent working with Weiss/Manfredi to modify the design of the memorial. [83] The architects were, according to The Washington Post, "distraught" over the reaction to their design. But Vaught encouraged them to implement their ideas in an alternative manner. [10]

In March 1992, the Memorial announced it was ready to offer its design to the CFA, NCPC, and other approval agencies. The new design modified the Hemicycle by restoring a low water feature to the central niche and removing the grass circle, replacing it with a circular reflecting pool and paved plaza. The center of the plaza was slightly lowered, and very low terraces led from the edge of the pool to the edge of the plaza. Four niches were still pierced to create stairs leading up to the terrace, but now an elevator was added as well to make the memorial handicap-accessible. The tall illuminated pylons were removed, and in their place were 108 horizontal thick glass panels forming an arc in the back of the Hemicycle's terrace. These panels formed the skylight for the memorial below, and Weiss and Manfredi said they would contain quotations from women who served in the military. A thin stream of water was intended to flow over the panels, as if "carrying" women's voices to the water feature and reflecting pool. [93] [94] Trees still framed the reflecting pool, but underground, behind the Hemicycle, the architects added a curved gallery and placed the rooms — the 250-seat auditorium, the computer room, the exhibition hall, the offices — in sequence. [49] The redesign won high praise from The Washington Post architecture critic Benjamin Forgey. He called it "a significant addition" to the city's memorials, and said it was "a perfect gesture in a proper place at a fitting moment". He also found the design sensitive, consistent, and poetic. The revisions, he said, had not harmed the memorial as they had so many other structures in the city. ". [S]omething definitely was gained. . The second design is safer than the first, in some particulars more unified, and, in all respects save one, as evocative." [49]

The National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission approved the revised plan on May 30, 1992. At that time, only $4.5 million of the $25 million needed for construction had been raised, even though groundbreaking was not anticipated for November 1993. [95] Passing this first step in the approval process helped with fund-raising. The governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait both donated $850,000 toward the memorials' construction. [94]

The CFA received the memorial redesign in July 1992. [69] Both the CFA and NCPC were much more in favor of this design. The National Capital Planning Commission gave its approval on July 22, and the Commission of Fine Arts on July 23. [49] [94]

Second fund-raising round Edit

By August 1992, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation still had only $1 million with which to build the memorial. [96] To boost the memorial's visibility, First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Barbara Bush both agreed to be honorary chairs of the foundation. [97] [98]

In June 1993, the Foundation began a second fund-raising campaign, this one involving the sale of commemorative coins. Since 1982, the United States Mint had been authorized to manufacture these coins, but congressional authorization was needed first. Senator Arlen Specter and Senator Harris Wofford and Representative Patrick J. Kennedy introduced legislation to authorize the coin in June. [97] [99] The legislation authorized a $1 silver and $5 gold coin, with the Mint to be repaid for the cost of producing the coins. [100] This legislation (Public Law 103-186) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in mid-December 1993. [101] The coins sold for $31 each, of which $10 went to the Memorial Foundation. [102] More than half the 500,000 coins were sold by March 1995. [103] Although the Mint had agreed to stop selling the coins on April 30, 1995, the agency agreed to allow sales to continue until July 15, since sales for all 1994 commemorative coins were the lowest since the program began in 1982. [104] By June 1996, coin sales raised $2.7 million for the Memorial. [99]

The Memorial's authorization ran out again on November 6, 1993. [105] The Memorial Foundation asked Congress to give it a three-year extension. By now, the Memorial had raised $1.5 million for construction, but spent $2 million on building its computerized database of the names of women who served in the U.S. military, on site work, and memorial design. [98] [100] The National Park Service supported the extension, arguing that the women veterans' memorial made an important contribution to the nation and that the recession made fund-raising difficult. [105] The extension legislation was passed, and signed into law. [106]

To boost the Memorial's chances, Vaught split the project in two. Vaught realized that rehabilitation of the Hemicycle was a different project from memorial construction. Fund-raising for the preservation project might be avoided, she argued, if preservation grants were sought from federal agencies. So in November 1993, grant-seeking by WMSAMF began. [100] By February 1994, the Foundation had secured a $9.5 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to repair and restore the Hemicycle. [98] [106] [107]

In July 1994, the Foundation established a goal of raising $2 million by April 1995. This would give the Memorial $4 million, so that groundbreaking could occur even if the total amount of funds needed for the Memorial had not yet been collected. Another half million dollars had been raised since February, including $10,000 to $20,000 donations from the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, and Tennessee. [102]

With reauthorization of the Memorial complete and fundraising moving again, the Foundation, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Department of the Army signed a memorandum of understanding setting out procedures and rules for the Memorial Foundation and its contractors to follow as construction moved forward. This agreement was finalized in late 1994. [106]

WMSAMF presented the memorial design to the CFA and NCPC again in October 1994. In response to previous CFA concerns, the steps in the niches were slightly recessed to help retain the appearance that the niches still existed. [108] Although the lighting for the illuminated skylights had been softened as well, J. Carter Brown still claimed they would overwhelm the Hemicycle and upstage Arlington House and the Lincoln Memorial (both of which were also illuminated at night). With the CFA apparently convinced that the lighting was out of the question, Weiss and Manfredi introduced lighting expert Howard Brandston, a fellow of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. Brandston testified that no lighting was intended for the skylights themselves lighting would only come from below, in the illuminated memorial galleries. Furthermore, he said, only a "soft glow" would be visible through the balustrade at the front of the Hemicycle. This convinced the CFA, which withdrew its objections. [109] CFA members also expressed concern about the visibility of the glass doors on the north and south sides of the memorial, so Weiss and Manfredi agreed to recess these even further. [110] But most of the CFA's discussion regarded the Hemicycle itself and how much disruption there could be to its existing architecture. Weiss and Manfredi continued to retain two rows of American linden trees on either side of the plaza. These had been moved back from the centerline but continued to screen the cemetery main gates. The CFA wanted these moved back even more, and the pleaching removed so that almost nothing was screened. [108] [111] The trees were intended to form a sort of entrance to the memorial, but the CFA did not like that approach. [111] Weiss and Manfredi also had given more detail to the water feature. Now they planned for the water feature in the central niche to flow outward into the reflecting pool. [108] Almost none of the commissioners liked the rill from the water feature to the pool, calling it a "Middle Eastern" design that did not fit with the Neoclassical Hemicycle. [111] [112] Brown commented that he had no aesthetic problems with the rill, and that it added a "memorial" quality to the design. [113] At the end of the meeting, the CFA approved the memorial design, but asked that their concerns about the plaza be addressed further. [112]

The revised plaza design was brought before the CFA in March 1995. [112] There were fewer trees and they were no longer pleached or formally pruned, and more grass was added to the edges of the plaza. Minor changes were also made to the edges of the rill and pool. [112] The low water feature in the central niche was now gone, replaced with a ring of jets which would send water about 4 feet (1.2 m) into the air. [114] The CFA was now satisfied with the Hemicycle, although it still had reservations about the trees in front of the cemetery gates. Weiss and Manfredi agreed to create a full-scale mock-up of the gates and show them to the CFA so that the issue could be resolved. [112]

With these revisions, the CFA gave its final approval to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial on March 16, 1995. The National Capital Planning Commission gave its final on April 6. [104]

In fact, no additional meetings with the CFA were held. The mock-ups were not created, the CFA never asked again for them, and Weiss and Manfredi quietly dropped the linden trees in favor of the existing trees in front of the gates. [114]

Ground-breaking for the memorial Edit

With the April 6 approval for the memorial, General Vaught and her staff of 15 were ready to break ground on the memorial. [115]

Ground-breaking for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial occurred on June 22, 1995. In order for ground-breaking to occur, the $15 million required for construction of the memorial had to be deposited with the U.S. Treasury. [104] Major donations from the American Legion women's auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars women's auxiliary, and Paralyzed Veterans of America were received. [116] A half million dollars came in from the General Federation of Women's Clubs. [117] However, only $6.5 million was on hand. [118] Because not all the funds were raised, the memorial foundation asked for and received a line of credit from NationsBank to make up the difference. AT&T's Business Communications unit donated $1 million as a partial underwriter for the ground-breaking ceremony, [116] and provided assistance to the memorial foundation in developing advertising and temporary exhibits for the memorial. General Motors donated $300,000, [117] and Government Markets (a division of Dutko Grayling) also provided financial assistance for the ceremony. [104] President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense William Perry, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili, retired general Colin Powell, and other dignitaries attended the noon event, [99] [115] [119] as did an estimated 6,000 women veterans and their families. [117] [120]

Even though $6 million remained to be raised, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation planned on an October 1997 dedication for the memorial. [116]

Construction of the memorial Edit

Clark Construction of Bethesda, Maryland, was hired to be the general contractor for the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. The New York firm Lehrer, McGovern Bovis oversaw construction management. [121] Clark subcontracted excavation work to Kalos Construction Co. [122] Clark had recently renovated Arlington National Cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater, and had experience working under the restrictions required by the cemetery. A construction manager was required because the site was small, there was little room for construction equipment or offices, and access to the site was highly limited. Because both pile driving and excavation would be conducted, extreme care was needed to avoid disturbing any of the graves near the memorial site. [121]

Construction began in January 1996. Almost 3,500 truckloads of soil were removed, [120] [123] and piles driven in the earth for the foundation. [121] Workers then constructed the walls, and placed more than 25 stone (0.16 t) of Yule marble on the 12,000 square feet (1,100 m 2 ) of interior walls. [120] [123] (This was the same type of marble used for the Tomb of the Unknowns memorial and Lincoln Memorial.) [25] Nine hundred slabs of marble from Vermont were used to line the rear wall. [124] The terrace was then reconstructed. By February 1997, construction of the memorial reached the halfway point. The terrace was almost complete, and frames to hold the glass panels in place were being mounted. [123]

The last element in the construction process was the restoration of the Hemicycle. This included abrasive blasting of the wall. Installation of the fountain, rill, reflecting pool, and landscaping elements came last. [123] The construction project lasted nearly two years, and cost $21.5 million. [124]

By October 1, the glass panels in the skylight were in place. However, the auditorium seats and the sod in the plaza remained uninstalled. [125]

Nearly all of the construction managers were women. These included the on-site project manager, Margaret Van Voast the assistant on-site project manager, Michelle Stuckey the project manager, Joan Gerner and historic preservationist Beth Leahy. [124]

Dedication of the memorial Edit

As the October 17, 1997, dedication date drew near, the memorial was short $1.2 million for exhibits and auditorium equipment for its theater, and $3 million to pay for the dedication ceremonies themselves. The foundation decided to borrow the money to pay for these critical needs. Money woes also meant the memorial also had yet to produce the two films which it planned to show in the auditorium, and had not yet brought its database of veterans online. [126] The lack of funds meant that, on dedication day, only three exhibits (focusing almost exclusively on women in World War II) were ready. [120] Four other exhibits showcased the memorial design process, including those finalists which were not chosen. [127] John D. Carr, director of the memorial's architectural and construction program, told the press that permanent exhibits would take another six months to install. Exhibits about servicewomen in World War I, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Desert Shield would open in late 1998. [127]

On October 11, 1997, the United States Postal Service announced it was releasing a commemorative stamp in honor of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. The stamp, to be released on October 17, featured five women representing the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. [128] Vaught contacted Postmaster General Anthony M. Frank in 1991 and won his approval for a stamp. Vaught requested that the stamp feature profiles of five servicewomen rather than the memorial itself because the entire project was about veterans and not the building. Dennis Lyall painted the image, and graphic designer Derry Noyes added the legend. The stamp was not initially part of the Postal Service's 1997 release schedule due to the uncertain date of the memorial dedication. [129] [130] Vaught encountered Postmaster General Marvin T. Runyon and reminded him that the stamp was needed by October 17. Runyon quickly had the stamp manufactured and added to the release schedule. The 37 million run of the stamp was printed by Banknote Corp. of America. [129] [130] Release of the stamp on-site at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial on October 17 was marred after the National Park Service, citing rules against vending on park service property, barred sales of the stamps. Memorial organizers quickly obtained two vans, parked them in a nearby government parking lot, and sold the stamps out of the back of the vans. Stamps were also sold in the memorial gift shop. [131]

The dedication ceremonies began at 6:30 p.m. on October 16 with a candlelight march across Arlington Memorial Bridge from the Lincoln Memorial to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Dedication ceremonies continued on October 17 at 9:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. This was followed by a dedication ceremony for 5,000 people in Memorial Amphitheater, at which Bob Dole, the former senator and partially disabled World War II veteran, spoke. [120] [132] The ceremonies then moved the memorial, where the plaza and much of Memorial Avenue had been blocked off for seating. The memorial ceremonies began with a fly-over of military aircraft, all of which were piloted by women — the first time an all-female fly-over had occurred in U.S. history. Speakers at the event included Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Vice President Al Gore and Tipper Gore, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Sandra Day O'Connor, retired general John Shalikashvili, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton. [133] [134] President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton addressed the audience via taped message, as they were on a state visit to South Africa. [135] Singers Kenny Rogers and Patti Austin serenaded the crowd. [136]

The highlight of the dedication ceremony was 101-year-old Frieda Mae Greene Hardin, a veteran of World War I. [136] She was escorted to the speaker's podium by her 73-year-old son, and wore her World War I Navy yeoman's uniform. [137]

An estimated 30,000 people attended the ceremony. [137] [138]

The vast majority of critics highly lauded the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said it "breaks new conceptual ground in paying tribute to U.S. military personnel, much like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial did in 1982". [139] Gail Russell Chaddock, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, said it was nothing like any other memorial or monument in the city, and singled out the computerized database of women veterans as its greatest strength. [140] Benjamin Forgey of The Washington Post called it a "resounding success" that "enhances an already splendid setting in a number of ways". Its greatest strength, he said, was the way in which it was "insistently respectful" of the Hemicycle and Arlington National Cemetery. He also singled out the "serious", "uncomplicated and unostentatious" interiors. His lengthy review concluded that the memorial was "a brilliant, sensitive design" and "a memorable public place". [10] University of Maryland architecture professor Roger K. Lewis was equally fulsome in his praise. he called the memorial a "definite success", "memorable", and "an artful, sensitive work of architecture woven skillfully and poetically into a sacred landscape". He particularly applauded the way the design met the needs of the memorial foundation and the design competition jury, and singled out the terrace with its glass panels as one of the best elements of the design. He also strongly praised the way Weiss and Manfredi rejected Neoclassicism for the interior, and instead used contemporary materials, lines, and design elements. There was no clash of style, he concluded, because the interior was hidden from the Neoclassical facade. [141]

There were, however, some criticisms. The Los Angeles Times called the memorial's name "ungainly". [142] Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Kilian felt that some veterans might be disappointed because the Hemicycle and its plaza contained no statues, symbols, or inscriptions that make the memorial identifiable as one for military women. [74] Forgey, too, had some criticisms. He identified two flaws: First, the combination of memorial with museum, and second the lack of "distinctive imprint from afar" forced on the memorial by the Commission of Fine Arts. [10] Mary Dejevsky, writing for The Independent in the United Kingdom, was distinctly critical of the memorial. She called it a "sprawling hacienda, something. of a huge mosque", and dated. Her strongest criticism was that the memorial commemorated only the service of women in the past, who were segregated into non-combatant jobs. Wars of the future, she said, would not see such segregation, and women would be included alongside men in any war memorial. [143]

The computer database of the names of women veterans was quickly embraced by the public. On opening day, lines extended throughout the memorial for people to have only a few moments at a terminal. [144] In the first two weeks after its opening, Arlington National Cemetery officials said the Women in Military Service for America Memorial had substantially boosted attendance at the cemetery. [127]

Overall, however, WMSAMF was only able to raise $2 million of the $3 million the dedication ceremonies cost. Income from the gift shop and other revenues allowed the memorial foundation to pay off all $30,000 of these costs by July 1998. [145] [146]

The Women in Military Service for America Memorial is located on a 4.2 acres (17,000 m 2 ) [147] site at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery (although it is technically on National Park Service land). The main approach to the memorial is from Memorial Avenue. The visitor first encounters the Hemicycle, a ceremonial gateway to Arlington National Cemetery constructed in 1932. The Hemicycle is 30 feet (9.1 m) high and 226 feet (69 m) in diameter. In the center of the Hemicycle is an apse 20 feet (6.1 m) across and 30 feet (9.1 m) high. The Great Seal of the United States is carved in granite in the center of the apse arch, while to the south is seal of the U.S. Department of the Army and to the north is the seal of the U.S. Department of the Navy. Six circular niches (three to the south and three to the north) 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) deep are distributed along the facade. These niches, and the apse, are inlaid with red granite from Texas. The rear wall of these niches is carved with either oak leaves or laurel leaves, symbols of bravery and victory.

Between these niches are rectangular doorways which pierce the wall of the Hemicycle and provide access to the stairways leading into the interior.

A fountain with 200 jets of water is placed in the center of the apse. [74] The fountain empties down a stone-lined channel into a circular reflecting pool. [120] The pool is either 78 feet (24 m) [148] or 80 feet (24 m) [147] in diameter (sources vary), and can hold 60,000 US gallons (230 kl) of water. [25] [149] The fountain is lined with black granite cobblestones quarried in Culpeper, Virginia. [120] A plaza of light grey granite surrounds the fountain and extends toward Memorial Avenue. Wide panels of close-cut grass are distributed along the wall of the Hemicycle. Sidewalks of black granite flagstone run through these panels, giving access to the light grey granite sidewalk immediately next to the Hemicycle wall.

The stairs in the Hemicycle wall lead up into the interior of the memorial. Halfway up the stairs, the patron may pause and look down into the main gallery of the memorial. Continuing up the stairs leads the individual to the Hemicycle's terrace.

On top of the Hemicycle is a terrace of light gray granite 24 feet (7.3 m) wide. A granite balustrade, original to the Hemicycle, frames the eastern side of the terrace. In an arc along the west side of the terrace are 108 glass panels, [120] [147] each 5 inches (13 cm) thick, which form a skylight for the main memorial gallery below. [147] On most of these panels are etched quotations from various servicewomen throughout American history. [147] Some panels have been left blank, to allow future inscriptions to be made. Four staircases lead down from the terrace to the rear of the memorial, where staircases lead down into the interior and the main gallery. The main gallery and terrace may also be accessed by doors in the north and south sides of the Hemicycle, or via an elevator in the north side of the Hemicycle. [127]

The 35,000 square feet (3,300 m 2 ) [120] [124] [149] memorial (some sources claim 33,000 square feet (3,100 m 2 )) [25] [148] is partly below-grade. The western wall of the gallery is lined with delicately veing marble. [141] The memorial contains a curving main gallery lined with 14 niches, [124] [148] which contain permanent and temporary displays about women in the U.S. armed forces. Overhead and on the walls, eleven large glass tablets are inscribed with quotes about and from women veterans. [120] [148] Each glass tablet weighs approximately 400 pounds (180 kg). [149] Twelve computer terminals [147] [148] provide access to a database of names and some pictures of women who served in the U.S. armed forces from the American Revolutionary War through the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan. Search results are displayed on three large screens overhead. [147] The metal canopies and display cases in the main gallery were by Staples & Charles of Alexandria, Virginia. [10]

Through the rear of the main gallery, the visitor may access the Hall of Honor. This room contains a block of Yule marble taken from the same quarry that the Tomb of the Unknowns came from. [120] [147] In this room are displays and panels which honor women servicemembers taken as prisoners of war, killed in the line of duty, or who earned high honors for bravery or service. [147] [148] Beyond the Hall of Honor is a 196-seat theater [124] [147] where patrons may watch one of two films which document the roles women have played and continue to play in the U.S. armed forces. This auditorium is also used for lectures and presentations. Each of the seats in the auditorium has a small brass plaque which honors a U.S. servicewoman. [124] Further back is a gift and book shop, [120] a conference room, and offices for the memorial. [150]

On October 17, 2020, a bronze monument titled "The Pledge", designed to honor "all women of the U.S. military", was unveiled in the center of the memorial's lobby. [151] [152]

Vaught later admitted that the memorial foundation had been naive about how difficult it would be to raise the funds needed to construct the Women in Military Service for America Memorial and endow its operation and maintenance fund. [126]

To raise additional funds, the foundation signed a first-of-its-kind agreement with the U.S. Mint in November 1995. [153] About 38,000 of the coins remained unsold. [153] [154] Using a line of credit from a major bank, WMSAMF purchased the outstanding 38,000 coins and began selling them for $35 for proof coins and $32 for uncirculated coins — the same price for which the Mint sold them. This would generate $380,000 in revenues. However, WMSAMF added a $6 processing fee, intended to raise another $250,000 for the memorial. [154] By October 15, 1997, total coin sales had generated $3 million for the memorial. [150]

By September 1997, however, the foundation still needed $12 million to complete the memorial and endow its operating and maintenance fund. [124] That included a $2.5 million shortfall in construction funds. Foundation officials blamed a lack of interest from the defense industry, lack of access to military records (which would have enabled it to reach out to the estimated 1.2 million living women veterans), procrastination by donors, a lack of nationwide press attention, and indifference to the contributions of women for the lack of donations. Corporate support was especially lacking: Aside from the $1 million donation from AT&T and the $300,000 donation by General Motors, the next largest corporate donation was $50,000 (and only two companies gave at that level). [126] [155] The inability to reach out to female veterans was a major issue. The foundation had hoped that 500,000 veterans would contribute $25 each to the memorial's construction, but lack of outreach meant that only 200,000 had done so. [125] Vaught also blamed lack of interest from the 230,000 women currently serving in the active duty and reserve armed forces. [126] State donations were also low. Eight states (Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) did not donate to the memorial by dedication day. Contribution levels from the states were relatively low, ranging from $60,000 from New York to just $1,750 from Colorado. [133]

To pay the memorial's outstanding debt, WMSAMF relied heavily on gift shop sales and other revenue. Arlington National Cemetery draws an estimated 4.5 million visitors each year. [125] Visitation numbers were not meeting expectations, however. Memorial officials said attendance would be about 250,000 to 300,000 visitors in the first year of operation, rather than the 500,000 projected. Only about 22,000 of the 375,000 people who visit Arlington National Cemetery each month visited the memorial. By July 1998, annual revenues from gift shop sales and other sources reached $5 million, about what was expected. [145] The memorial also began selling biographical data and a photograph of the individuals in the veterans' database, which generated $14,500 in June 1998 from $2,500 in January. The memorial also began charging $4,000 for use of its space. [145]

The memorial was still unable to pay about $2 million in construction costs in January 1998. [145] [146] WMSAMF had raised $19 million of the $21.5 million in total costs (construction and operation/maintenance endowment), [145] but by September 1997 could not pay Clark Construction the outstanding construction bill. [146] Clark Construction said it paid its subcontractors out-of-pocket, rather than wait for payment from the memorial foundation. [146] The firm also said it was not yet taking legal action, because it had faith in the memorial and expected to be paid. [156] Memorial president Wilma Vaught said the financial situation was not serious. Nonetheless, fund-raising experts told her that few donors wished to give money to "women's projects" [145] and that so many memorials were asking for funds that corporations simply stopped giving. [146] Vaught said three major donations had been received since the October 1997 dedication. These included a $500,000 donation from Eastman Kodak (payable over four years), a $250,000 donation from Merck Laboratories (payable over five years), and a $250,000 donation from a private foundation (payable immediately). [145]

Memorial finances continued to be unsteady as of 2010. The memorial had so little revenue to pay its $2.7 million annual budget that it nearly closed in 2009. Congress, however, provided a $1.6 million grant to keep it open, and a fund-raising drive brought in $250,000. [157] Although the memorial had about 241,000 women veterans listed in its database in 2010, about 75 percent of all World War II women servicemembers (who might have been counted on to donate) had already died, and many others were ill and on limited incomes. A sharp drop in gift shop sales after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the onset of the Great Recession in 2007 also significantly hurt the memorial's finances. [158]

On October 17, 2012, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial celebrated its 15th anniversary. [159] Raising funds to cover the memorial's $3 million for operating budget was still a struggle. [160]

In November 2016, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial said its financial situation was so poor, it may have to close. [161]

An online fundraiser begun in 2016 with a goal of $1.5 million raised just $110,000 as of October 2017. [1]

Construction of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial also generated a precedent-setting lawsuit.

Kalos Construction was digging a trench on the south side of Memorial Avenue. In this trench, utility lines would be laid which would serve the memorial. On July 10, 1996, one of the 50-foot (15 m) tall granite pylons next to the cemetery gate toppled over. The pylon landed on top of a mound of soft earth, which left it largely undamaged. But the granite urn on top of the pylon fell onto the asphalt, and was destroyed. Engineering officials were surprised to discover that the pylon had no foundation, and no anchor in the soil. Although Kalos workers had taken due care to not disturb the pylon, the lack of a foundation (which they assumed was there) caused the accident. [45] Damage was estimated at $1 million. [122]

A dispute broke out over whose insurance company would pay to repair the pylon. Clark Construction was insured by The Hartford Fire Insurance Co. and Kalos Construction by Montgomery Mutual Insurance Co. The Hartford argued that the pylons were not mentioned in the insurance policy and it never agreed to insure them. Montgomery Mutual paid the claim, reserving its right to litigate the issue. It then sued to recover damages from the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled in favor of The Hartford's argument. The memorial foundation appealed, arguing that the pylons were part of the Hemicycle structure. In 2000, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned the district court. The court of appeals concluded that the district court erred in failing to determine whether the pylons were part of the existing structure and failed to address language in The Hartford's policy which offered limited coverage of the pylons. The case was remanded back to the district court for further proceedings. [122] [162]

On remand, the district court ruled in favor of Montgomery Mutual. Again The Hartford appealed, arguing that Montgomery Mutual's payment constituted "other insurance" which The Hartford was not obligated to pay. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected The Hartford's claim, noting that Montgomery Mutual had only paid because The Hartford had refused. Under either Maryland or Virginia law, the court said, Montgomery Mutual would prevail. The court of appeals upheld the district court. [163]

National Women's Memorial And War Museum

The National Women's Memorial and War Museum commemorates some 27,000 Boer women (mothers, wives, and children) who died in British concentration camps during the Anglo Boer war. This is also the burial site of Emily Hobhouse, a British campaigner against the horrific conditions in which Afrikaans and Black women were held captive. The monument is a provincial heritage site in the Free State.


Designed by a Pretoria architect, Frans Soff, and the sculpting done by Anton van Wouw, the monument consists of an obelisk about 35m in height and low semi-circular walls on two sides. The graves of Christiaan de Wet, Rev. J.D Kestell, as well as the president of the Orange Free State, Martinus Steyn and his wife are buried beside the monument.

War Museum

The War Museum gives visitors insight into the Boer War through its unique art collection, dioramas, and exhibits. It brings the visitor closer to understanding the background and reasons for why the war took place. They are also given a glimpse into concentration. There are hundreds of antiques and artefacts from the war on display, as well as paintings depicting the war, and bronze sculptures from some of the most significant figures in the war.

National Womens Memorial & War Museum

User (24/12/2017 03:00)
Would recommend it to any true South African.

User (14/09/2017 01:32)
The best day was spent at this lovely musuem. friendly staff and very organised

User (20/07/2017 23:38)
Great history lessons

User (09/07/2017 13:06)
Very informative.

User (18/06/2017 21:07)
Use to go here 2 to 3 times a week. Was told today that no dogs are allowed any more and that kids are not allowed to play on the grounds any longer.

User (27/04/2017 15:19)
Safe and relaxed place to visit. Family friendly

User (12/01/2017 02:57)
Beautiful grounds to take the dogs for n walk

User (05/09/2016 14:52)
A great history experience

User (09/01/2016 00:48)
Know your History ☺

User (03/03/2015 20:37)
It is pure magic .

Similar Places:

1. Relekane Guest House
14 De Waal Rd, Ehrlich Park, Bloemfontein, 9312, South Africa
Coordinate: -29.14565, 26.21407
Phone: +27 51 435 7169

2. Bonolo Guest House
12 York Rd, Waverley, Bloemfontein, 9301, South Africa
Coordinate: -29.09458, 26.2282699
Phone: +27 51 436 9472

3. Free State Rugby Stadium
Att Horak St, Willows, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa
Coordinate: -29.117616, 26.208747
Phone: +27 51 407 1743 (www.fscheetahs.co.za)

4. Mayo Lodge
1 Mayo St, Hospitaalpark, Bloemfontein, 9301, South Africa
Coordinate: -29.1414952, 26.1969359
Phone: +27 51 522 1098

Monuments of South Africa

Historical (and other monuments) are found throughout South Africa - often in small towns where the visitor least expect it. A number of the historical important and well known momuments are listed below:

1820 Settlers National Monument
The 1820 Settlers National Monument, which honours the contribution to South African society made by the first big influx of English settlers, overlooks Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape.

Afrikaans Language Monument
The Afrikaans Language Monument (Paarl, Western Cape) was erected to honour the Afrikaans Language, a language unique to South Africa.

Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. Built between 1666 and 1679, this pentagonal fortification was built by Commander Jan van Riebeeck upon establishing a maritime replenishment station at the Cape.

Freedom Park
Comprising a memorial, interactive museum and garden of remembrance, the park will strive to accommodate all of the country's unfolding experiences and symbols to tell one coherent story of the struggle of humanity for freedom in South Africa. Located in Pretoria.

Huguenot Monument
The Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek (Western Cape) is dedicated to the cultural influences that French Huguenots have brought to the Cape Colony (and ultimately the whole of South Africa) after their immigration during the 17th and 18th centuries.

National Women's Monument
The National Women's Monument in Bloemfontein (Free State) commemorates the death of 26,000 Boer women and children who died in the Bloemfontein concentration camp during the Anglo-Boer War.

Owl House
The Owl House is a national monument in Nieu-Bethesda, Eastern Cape. According to sources, Martins became bored with her "dull" life and resolved to transform the environment around her. She began an obsessive project around 1945 to decorate her home and garden.

Port Elizabeth
The city of Port Elizabeth has an interesting array of monuments. A monument to Prester John, the mythical prince who inspired the 15th Century Portuguese explorers, is believed to be the only one in the world. Above the harbour, on a grassy hill stands a small pyramid, a tribute to Elizabeth Donkin, the late wife of Sir Rufane Donkin, the first administrator of the small settlement.

Probably the most poignant, is the Horse Memorial, a statue depicting a soldier giving his horse water from his hat. This monument commemorates the nearly half a million horses that died in the South African War, mostly from malnutrition, overwork and disease.

Cape Town
Cape Town has a fascinating history spanning back to the mid-17th century and offers a myriad museums, monuments and places of cultural interest scattered across the Peninsula. A wander through the inner city along Adderley street to the Company Gardens and Parliament Buildings will take you pass various statues, buildings like the Slave Lodge, Koopmans-De Wet House and other fine examples of 18th century urban architecture.

Visit the Castle of Good Hope or take the ferry to Robben Island, stroll or drive to Signal Hill and watch the Noon Gun been fired.

The Union Buildings in Pretoria
Perhaps not your ordinary monument, but The Union Buildings have come to symbolize the seat of power in South Africa. Found in Tshwane / Pretoria, the Union Buildings were designed by the famous architect Sir Herbert Baker. The Union Buildings incorporate the Delville Wood memorial and the Pretoria War memorial.

Voortrekker Monument
Situated in Pretoria, the massive granite structure, built to honour the Voortrekkers (Pioneers) who left the Cape Colony in their thousands between 1835 and 1854, was designed by the architect Gerard Moerdijk who had the ideal to design a "monument that would stand a thousands of years to describe the history and the meaning of the Great Trek to its descendants"

How to Apply

Applicants submitted the following:

  • Resume/CV (no more than three pages)
  • Project Proposal (no more than 3 pages, single-spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins) that describes the project, why this topic is important to you or is a continuation of previous work on this subject, what research you seek to perform at the National Archives to inform your writing, and where/when you hope to publish the final work.
  • Three (3) samples of your work which can be newspaper or magazine clips, blog posts, or unpublished pieces (if applicant is co-authoring, please submit at least one from each author and a minimum of three total)
  • One (1) letter of recommendation (supporting your application/project)


This early document from the Caucus archives (circa 1979), has been re-typed from original hard copy. It provides important historical information about the founding of the organization:

Founded in 1971, the National Women’s Political Caucus is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to increasing women’s participation in all areas of political and public life — as elected and appointed officials, as delegates to national party conventions, as judges in the state and federal courts, and as lobbyists, voters and campaign organizers. With state and local affiliates, our membership today spans across the nation.

Our founders include prominent women such as Gloria Steinem, author, lecturer and founding editor of Ms. magazine former Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm former Congresswoman and current president of Women USA Bella Abzug Dorothy Height, president of the National Council of Negro Women Jill Ruckelshaus, U.S. Civil Rights Commissioner Ann Lewis, Political Director of the Democratic National Committee Elly Peterson, former vice-chair of the Republican National Committee LaDonna Harris, Native American rights leader Liz Carpenter, author, lecturer and former press secretary to Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, former chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Fannie Lou Hammer, community organizer and leader in the women’s rights and civil rights movements.

Spurred by Congress’ failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in 1970, these women believed legal, economic and social equity would come about only when women were equally represented among the nation’s political decision-makers. Their faith that women’s interests would best be served by women lawmakers has been confirmed time and time again, as women in Congress, state legislatures and city halls across the country have introduced, fought for and won legislation to eliminate sex discrimination and meet women’s changing needs.

Significant increases in the numbers of women elected officials since the Caucus’ founding speak to our success. In 1971, women numbered just 363, or 4.7 percent, of state legislators today, they are 1,738, or 23.5 percent.
In 1971, there were only 7 women mayors of cities over 30,000, or 1 percent of the total today, there are 76 women mayors, or 16,7 percent. And while there were only 15 women members of Congress in 1971, there are now 89, or 16.5 percent.

Equally important has been the Caucus’ role in moving women and women’s concerns to the forefront of American politics — an achievement best marked in terms of the low priority status accorded these issues at the time of our founding. In an essay in Women Organizing: An Anthology, author Rona Feit observes that “at the time the Caucus was born, women as a group were not a political factor of any importance. The issue of how many women were serving in political leadership roles had not scratched the public consciousness. No one, in fact, monitored or knew how many there were in public office nationwide. The representation of women at national party conventions was of interest only to a small group of reformers, and the concept of women’s issues as a sub-group of political issues did not exist. There were no national campaign funds for women candidates and no one was lobbying for the appointment of women to public office. The Caucus was the leader in changing all of this.”

While much work remains, the Caucus is proud of the great changes that have already been won. Below is a year-by-year account of major activities and achievements since our founding.

• National Women’s Political Caucus is founded at July 10-11 organizing conference attended by more than 320 women from 26 states. Statement of purpose calls for action “against sexism, racism, institutional violence and poverty” and contains pledges to recruit and train feminist women candidates for public office reform party structure and rules to ensure women equal decision-making power work for equality in the delegate selection process register new women voters and raise women’s issues in all elections lobby and testify for legislation to meet women’s needs and create a strong national network through state and local caucuses.

• Caucus leaders meet with 1972 presidential candidates, including George McGovern, Eugene McCarthy, Edmund Muskie, Hubert Humphrey and Shirley Chisholm, to press for fair representation of women in state delegations to the Democratic national convention.

• NWPC launches Women’s Education for Delegate Selection, a nationwide campaign to assist women in becoming delegates to the 1972 national party conventions. Conferences to educate women on the rules and procedures for becoming delegates are conducted in selected states across the country.

• Major organizing effort by Caucus founders results in the formation of affiliate caucuses in 30 states by December 1971, with groups organizing in all the rest.

• Caucus leaders meet with heads of the Democratic and Republican national committees, gaining their pledges to work toward 50 percent representation for women delegates at 1972 national conventions.

• NWPC members across the nation organize massive grassroots ratification campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment following congressional passage in March.

• NWPC delegate selection efforts succeed in doubling the number of women at the Republican national convention (from 17 percent in 1968 to 30 percent in 1972) and tripling the number at the Democratic convention (from 13 percent in 1968 to 40 percent in 1972).

• Under Caucus leadership, women delegates to the Democratic national convention mount credentials fights challenging state delegations with unacceptable percentages of women battle for inclusion of reproductive freedom and other women’s issues in the platform organize an unexpectedly strong campaign for the nomination of Frances “Sissy” Farenthold for vice president, resulting in 404 votes on her behalf and bringing her in second to Senator Thomas Eagleton.

• Caucus-backed delegates to the Republican convention win planks stating party support for the Equal Rights Amendment and federally sponsored child care centers. Republican women delegates also succeed in passing Rule 32, stating that each state should “endeavor” to have equal representation of men and women in its national convention delegations.

• Caucus holds its first biennial convention in Houston, Texas — the first national political convention of women in over 100 years. Delegates decide on formal structure for the organization, and Sissy Farenthold, former Texas state legislator and 1972 Democratic candidate for vice president, is elected NWPC’s first national chair.

• Caucus leaders testify in Congress in support of pension reform, family planning health care, public financing of campaigns, and educational equity.

• NWPC Chair Sissy Farenthold meets with Barbara Mikulski, then chair of the Democratic Party’s Committee on Delegate Selection and Party Structure, to discuss guidelines for the delegate selection process for the 1976 Democratic national convention.

• Caucus conducts first Win With Women campaign to recruit, train and support feminist women candidates for local, state and Congressional office. In November, the number of women state legislators jumps 26 percent, the number of women statewide officeholders, 36 percent.

• On election night, NWPC runs its first Women’s Election Central to gather information on the outcomes of women’s races across the country and disseminate it to the press.

• Caucus Democrats argue case for affirmative action and other women’s interests at the August 1974 meeting of the Democrats’ Charter Commission and at the Democratic mini-convention in Kansas City.

• NWPC Republicans and Democrats form permanent task forces to work for continued reforms in the two national parties.

• Second national Caucus convention is held in Boston, Massachusetts. Election of pro-ERA women candidates in unratified states is established as top priority, and black Republican Audrey Rowe is elected national chair.

• NWPC Campaign Support Committee is established to provide funds for feminist women candidates — the first political action committee of its kind.

• NWPC lobbies successfully against amendment to prohibit the use of Medicaid funds for abortion.

• NWPC Democratic Task Force meets with presidential candidate Jimmy Carter, winning support for proposals concerning the appointment of women to the Cabinet and the Supreme Court and equal division of women delegates at the 1978 mid-term and 1980 national conventions.

• NWPC Democratic Task Force conducts major campaign for women’s rights at the Democratic national convention in New York City, securing platform support for the Equal Rights Amendment, equal pay and federally funded child care.

• NWPC Republican Women’s Task Force (now called “NWPC Republicans”) wages victorious battle to retain endorsement of the Equal Rights Amendment in the Republican platform. Individual Task Force members lead successful effort to prevent party endorsement of a constitutional ban on abortions.

• NWPC organizes Coalition for Women’s Appointments to increase the number of women in governmental policy-making positions. Comprising 50 women’s organizations with a combined membership of over one million, the Coalition is chaired and staffed by NWPC. Within three years, the number of women in full-time appointed positions increases 10%.

• At President Carter’s request, NWPC leaders meet with Cabinet appointees from each department to discuss women’s employment status in the government agencies.

• NWPC launches Judicial Appointment Project to push for women’s appointments to state and federal courts. Aided by passage of the Omnibus Judgeship Act, a law adding 152 seats to the federal judiciary, the number of women on the federal bench jumps from 5 to 41 by 1980.

• Caucus holds third national convention in San Jose, California. Mildred Jeffrey, a veteran union organizer and Democratic Committeewoman from Michigan, is elected third national chair.

• NWPC Democratic Task Force is rewarded for three years of work when Democratic National Committee passes measure requiring equal division of men and women delegates at the 1978 mid-term and 1980 national conventions.

• NWPC-ERA Fund is established to provide direct financial and technical assistance to state legislative candidates in unratified states. Of 143 pro-ERA candidates given support, 75 percent are victorious.

• Intensive lobbying effort by NWPC and other women’s organizations results in extension of ERA ratification deadline to June 1982.

• NWPC organizes nationwide campaign to defeat anti-abortion amendments in the House and Senate.

• NWPC Delegate Selection and Training Program sponsors 22 workshops in 18 states to train women in becoming delegates to the national party conventions, resulting in record numbers of women delegates in 1980.

• Fourth Caucus convention is held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Democrat Iris Mitgang, a California attorney, is elected national chair.

Women in the Military

Nevertheless She Persisted , the 2018 women’s history theme could easily be the mantra of American women in the military. Because of social ideas about the female experience, women have often been written out of military history. Yet, women’s patriotic duty, no less than men’s have inspired hundreds of thousands of women to support their country during our times of need. Whether playing a supportive role as water bearers, cooks, laundresses, nurses or as active military (often having to pass as men).

In our recent history women not only continue in vital support roles as nurses, but also in combat as field commanders and as officers. The bravery of countless women since the establishment of our great country gives us a legacy of strength and persistence.

As greater numbers of women chose a military career and expand the diversity of the Armed Forces their stories expand our wn sense of possibility and opportunity.

Deborah Sampson who disguised herself as a man was as a hero of the American Revolution. She was given the dangerous task of scouting British territory. She is the only woman to receive a pension from the Civil War.

Harriet Tubman served as an armed scout and spy scout Union Army. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, which liberated 700 enslaved people.

Dr. Mary Walker was an abolitionist, prisoner of war and Civil War surgeon she is the only women to receive the Medal of Honor for courage during the Civil War.

Jacqueline Cochran was a pioneer in the field of aviation who was an essential contributor to establishing The Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) who worked as civil service pilots, test pilots and anti-aircraft artillery trainers

Diane Carlson Evans is a former Army nurse who served in Vietnam, founded the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation to spearhead a campaign to place a national monument in Washington, DC recognizing the contributions of military women to their country, as well as civilian women’s patriotic service.

Delphine Netcalf-Foster injured while serving as support for the Grave Registration Company Mission in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm/ Desert Shield. In 2017 she was elected as the first female African American national commander for the one million members of the Disable American Veterans of America (DAVA).

Tammie Jo Schults currently is in the news because of her successful landing on April 17, 2018 of a disabled Southwest Flight 1380. From her earliest memories, she always knew that she was destined to fly and challenged the countless barriers to keep women from earning their wings. In 1999 she became a military aviator, paving the way for female flight pilots.

The women noted here are but a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of women who represent the female experience in the military. Please join the National Women’s History Project in honoring all women who have served our great country. Each and every service woman is the embodiment of the idea that Nevertheless She Persisted .

Colonial history of Bloemfontein

The area between the Orange and Vaal rivers, originally known as Transoranje, with its abundance of permanent water sources, was the hunting grounds of the San at the beginning of the 19th century. However, other groups began to infiltrate the area in the early 19th century.

Self-Government, the Orange Free State

In August 1855, JN Boshoff succeeded Hoffman as President of the OFS. Despite all the problems experienced by the young Republic, Boshoff still managed to place state affairs on a strong foothold and made the administration more efficient.

During President Boshoff's period in office, Bloemfontein grew slowly but steadily. By 1858, the need for a municipality or town council became stronger and in April 1859 five municipal commissioners were chosen, with James Cameroon becoming the first Town Clerk, tax collector and market-master. With the establishment of a municipality, plans were now made for a regular market and in April 1859 the market began, which quickly became a profitable venture and served as an important source of income.

MW Pretorius succeeded Boshoff in 1860, chosen mainly because Free State residents hoped it would strengthen their bond with the South African Republic. Economically, the OFS started developing and more towns were established due to the many foreigners that were coming in to settle in the young Republic. During Pretorius' period in office, priority was given to the development of Bloemfontein and in 1862, a bigger improved President's residency was built around Warden's former official residence, which served as official residence until 1861.

In 1860, the first market buildings were established, and in 1861 plans for the first hotel, The Free State Hotel, were laid out opposite the market on the eastern side, next to the government offices. Three banks were also established The Bloemfontein Bank, Standard Bank and the London South African Bank. In 1862, De Tijd, a German newspaper, was printed in the OFS.

JH Brand succeeded Pretorius in 1864 as President and was re-elected to office for five consecutive periods until his death in 1888. During his period in office, President Brand re-organized the administration and government affairs of the Republic, thus Bloemfontein experienced unparalleled progress in almost every sector. Due to President Brand's leadership, a sense of unity and national pride developed among the Free State residents and the Republic developed into a model state. The Second Basotho War took place during this period but peace was eventually agreed to by the Basothos. In 1868, Basotholand (today Lesotho) became a British Protectorate.

The discovery of diamonds between 1867 and 1871, and the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886 led to a general boom in trade and gave stimulus to Bloemfontein's growth. The discovery of diamonds near Hopetown in 1867, in Jagersfontein and next to the banks of the Vaal River around the Du Toit's Pan area in 1869, led to an immense number of fortune seekers rushing to the area between the Vaal and Orange Rivers. In 1871, diamonds were also discovered in Kimberly.

After the discovery of diamonds in the OFS the Griqua Chief Nicolas Waterboer claimed that the area between the Vaal and Orange Rivers rightfully belonged to the Griquas. After some deliberation between Sir Henry Barkly and President Brand, Sir Henry Barkly issued a proclamation that the area known as Griqualand West was now declared a British territory. In March 1876, President Brand undertook a deputation to Britain to discuss compensation for Bloemfontein's loss of the diamond fields. It was decided that Britain would pay a sum of 90 000 pounds as damages to the OFS. Although the amount awarded did not make up for the loss of the area, it served as recognition that the OFS was wronged and would help in the development of the Republic.

During President Brand's long period of office, Bloemfontein became the leading town in the Republic, mainly because the diamond fields created new markets and brought in new trade. In 1866, the new Anglican Cathedral was opened in St George's Street and in 1875 both the Wesleyan and Lutheran church buildings were completed.

In 1875, the Basotho monument, on the hill near the Fort, was unveiled in memory of the Burghers that lost their lives during the Basotho war of 1865-1866. Between 1874 and 1876 great progress was made in Bloemfontein, especially in the education sector, largely due to the appointment of John Brebner as First Superintendent of Education, and the establishment of many new and different schools.

Britain’s withdrawal from Bloemfontein

The population grew fast, but conflict in the surrounding areas continued for a long time. It then became evident that Britain no longer wanted to carry the cost of having an armed garrison in the Orange River Sovereignty. In August 1853, Sir George Russell Clark, former Governor to Bombay, was sent as a special commissioner to Bloemfontein to make the necessary arrangements for Britain's withdrawal from the area.

On 15 February 1854, a meeting was held between Clark and the residents in the school building on St Georges Street to discuss the conditions of withdrawal. On 23 February 1854 the Bloemfontein Convention was signed, which gave the Orange River Sovereignty self governing status. Soon after, a provisional election was held where Josias Philippus Hoffman was chosen as President and William Collins as Secretary of the Orange River Sovereignty. The new administration was to receive an amount of 10 000 pounds from the British government to assist them through their first year of administration.

On 11 March 1854, Clark, together with staff and troops, left the Orange River Sovereignty and the area became an independent Republic. The name was changed to the Orange Free State and Bloemfontein became the official capital. The temporary government chose to purchase the Warden residence to be used as the official residence for the President of the OFS. An election was held to choose a new Volksraad and a new constitution was drawn up. In May 1854, JP Hoffman was elected as first State President, his advantage being his personal relationship with Chief Mosheshwe.

With the withdrawal of the British troops, Bloemfontein lost half of its population, and only about 1000 residents remained, leaving the mainly English speaking community in dismay. For a short while after the withdrawal of Britain, the progress of the town slowed down. However, the British were gradually replaced by other foreigners like the Dutch, Germans, Jews and Afrikaners. At this time the town only consisted of simple single-storey houses with face brick walls and straw roofs, and a few shops that were centred on the market place.

Development of Bloemfontein

Birds eye view of Bloemfontein when it was still the Orange River Colony, pre 1910. Source: Franco Frescura collection

The town was surveyed and pegged out by Andrew Hudson Bain, whose layout took the form of long streets that were parallel to the stream running in a north and south direction. The shorter streets were at right angles to the long ones and the town continued to expand northwards of the stream. Bain's plans went only as far north as St Andrews Street.

In 1849, the First Raadsaal was built in St George's Street, initially as a school and hall, but it was also used as a church and meeting place. In 1848, the first NG congregation was formed and in May 1852 they moved into their new church, built at the top end of Kerk Street. The Roman Catholic, Anglican and Wesleyan churches also formed congregations at this time in Bloemfontein and they held their services at the First Raadsaal. The Wesleyan priest who arrived in Bloemfontein in 1850 held service in a hut, mainly for the Black and Coloured population. In 1852, the first Roman Catholic Church was built in St Georges Street near the Government Building.

Several businesses were then established and the town grew larger. In June 1850 the first municipal commissioner was appointed, although Bloemfontein did not have full municipal status at the time. The Commissioner could now have greater control over the affairs of the town and officials, such as the Town Clerk, market-master, and water fiscal.

Postal services at this stage were relatively primitive. The first postal route between Bloemfontein and Colesberg was established soon after the settlement was started in 1846 by Major Warden. Other routes followed very soon after.

In 1875, the first official Post Office was accommodated in the Old Parliament Building on Market Square. A new Post Office was built on the same site when this building became too small, and was opened on 22 June 1892.

All supplies came by transport riders with ox drawn wagons from the harbours of Port Elizabeth and East London which made the delivery of things like building material, clothes, household goods and furniture difficult to obtain. Therefore, living in Bloemfontein was quite expensive. On 10 June 1850 the first newspaper, The Friend of the Sovereignty and Bloemfontein Gazette, was printed.

During this period relations between the different groups were still strained and British authority in the region did not have the desired effect. As a result, Major Warden was dismissed and replaced by Henry Green on 23 July 1852.

During Green's residency Bloemfontein grew and in 1853 Church Square and Market Square (today Hoffmann Square) was laid out. During the 1850s, Bloemfontein remained a small town, relatively isolated from the rest of South Africa. The borders of the town grew until Church Street in the north and to Market Street (today Markgraaf Street) in the west. By 1851, the population was about 300 people with about 60 houses.

Early background 1889-1895

The area between the Orange and Vaal rivers, originally known as Transoranje, with its abundance of permanent water sources, was the hunting grounds of the San. at the beginning of the 19th century. However, other groups began to infiltrate the area in the early 19th century.

The Griquas under Adam Kok came from the west and settled themselves near the area later known as Philippolis. As a result of the Difaqane, many groups came to the Transoranje area in the 1820s from the east, fleeing from Shaka, King of the Zulus, and later Mzilikazi, first King of the Matabele. In 1824, Chief Mzilikazi established himself on ThabaBosiu and began building a strong nation from people previously scattered in the area.

In 1833, the Barolong under the chieftaincy of Moroka II established themselves at what was later known as Thaba Nchu. Around 1821, White stock farmers crossed the Orange River in search of grazing land, after drought and locust infestations ravaged the Cape Colony. Sometime between 1820 and 1826, trek Boer farmer Johan Nicolaas Brits settled in the Transoranje area. The area was convenient as it had a small stream and a fountain provided him with a good water supply.

Apparently the place Brits chose was originally a meeting place for hunters, and the Black people called it Mangaung (place of the cheetahs), but it became known as Bloemfontein in later years. There is some controversy surrounding the name, but one theory is that when Brits settled here, the fountain was surrounded by flowers and thus the Brits family named it Bloemfontein, literally meaning 'fountain of flowers'. Another theory is that the name was put forward by one of Brits' neighbours, a Mr. Griesel, who referenced it to Mrs. Brits' garden.

Johan Nicolaas Brits built a pioneer's home close to the fountain. During the Great Trek many other Voortrekkers also settled in the area. Because these Boers were from the Cape Colony, they were still considered British subjects.

Over a period of time, conflict grew between the different population groups in the Transoranje area, resulting in British intervention. Therefore, in 1846, Major Henry Douglas Warden was appointed to set up a British residency in the area. Warden was tasked with the difficult job of maintaining peace between the different population groups and to set up an administration. His immediate orders were to set up a residency as soon as possible in a centrally situated place, between the areas occupied by Adam Kok and Mosheshwe.

Warden accidentally came across the fountain area between the Riet and Modder rivers. From a military point of view, Warden found the area suitable because it was situated in a small valley surrounded by hills on all sides and was free of horse sickness. The centrality of the site would also make it easy for transport riders to bring necessary commodities to the settlement.

Warden's troops, known as the Cape Riflemen, arrived in Bloemfontein on 26 March 1846 and Warden followed shortly after. He was charmed by the position of the new residency, and took over the farm 'Bloemfontein' from Brits, and paid him 500 rijksdaalders for the layout and improvements that he made. At the time the farm consisted of a small mud house with a garden in the front and an orchard which was watered through a furrow.

One division of Warden's soldiers began building a fort to the north of the fountain which was named Fort Drury, after Sergeant Drury who served the dual function of garrison's doctor and teacher to the children of the soldiers. The second division began building the official residency at the top end of the present St George Street. While this was being done, Warden moved temporarily into the Brits' house. The third division of the regiment concentrated on building clay huts for the soldiers and stables for the horses, which was the beginning of the settlement.

However, relations between the different groups in the area were still strained, with the biggest problem being land. To put an end to this problem, Sir Henry Smith, Governor of the Cape Colony, annexed the area and renamed it the Orange River Sovereignty. This led to the Battle of Boomplaats between the British and Boers who were unhappy with the annexation, which resulted in the British increasing their garrison to 400 men to defend the Bloemfontein area. In addition, a more strategically situated fort called Queen's Fort, was built to replace Fort Drury. Fort Queen was situated at the top end of what was later known as Monument Road. At the foot of the fort were the officers' houses, barracks for the soldiers, the horses' stables and the Commissioner's depot.

The community of Bloemfontein initially consisted only of English speaking people. Almost all the houses and buildings were south of the stream on the so called 'water plots'. The town grew with the building of churches and schools and attracted many other groups like Germans, the Dutch, Jews and Afrikaners who were the first pioneers to settler there. The fast growing pace of the town also attracted many Black and Coloured people in search of work. The Blacks and Coloureds originated from the Bechuana, Hottentot, and Fingo groups, many of them emancipated slaves. Other mixed groups in the area included the Griqua, the San, the Khoikhoi and BaSotho.

Parts of this Colonial history section was translated from Afrikaans by Varushka Jardine for the SAHO website, with the kind permission of the author Marianna Botes. The original title of the unpublished text is Bloemfontein Gedurende die bewind van President F.W Reitz, 1889-1895: 'n Kultuurhistoriese Studie.

City Development

Industrial growth

Industry in Bloemfontein remained relatively small until the railway system was introduced. The lack of effective transport together with the absence of electricity and proper water supply hampered the progress of industry in this city.

One of the earliest industries in Bloemfontein was a tannery on the farm called Tempe in 1865. Other industries that developed were a wool washery, a steam mill and sweet factories in St. George Street, known as the Bloemfontein Sweet Manufactory. There was also a vinegar brewery and a lemonade factory in St. Georges Street.

In the 1880's, brick making became a profitable industry as building activity increased. The wagon and cart manufacturing industry became the strongest industry due to the absence of railways, but at the same time the demand for transport increased. Even after the advent of railways, the wagon and cart industry still remained strong due to the need for wagons and carts by the mining industry.

Other industries that also became prominent in the early days of Bloemfontein were a sand-stone yard to the north of Waaihoek, the OFS Brewery Company in Fountain Street, The OFS Distillery Company Limited at Bishop's Glen outside the town, the Kruidfontein Soutwerke as well as the Shoe and Boot factory in Maitland Street.

There was no real town planning that was intended to cater for the early industries, and most proliferated along the edge of the town next to the railway line.

Water supply

The original water source was the main fountain, Bloemfontein Fountain, complimented by other fountains in the south.

The so-called water erven benefited from the fountains by means of a canal which was later replaced by a pipe line with water points at intervals. Over a period of 25 years, the water was to be carried from these water points to the houses of White residents.

However, with the expansion of the residential area to the north, the so-called droe erven demanded additional water supply which resulted in a dam being built behind the Ladies Institute. The fact that both humans and animals shared the water supply, made the conditions very unhygienic.

Public and private wells were also sunk in order to meet the increased demand for water. The first public well was situated in the Market Square in 1877, shortly followed by a well in Waaihoek. Other wells were later sunk on Baumann Square, Warden Square and on the corner of St Georges and Monument Streets, as well as the corner of President Brand and St Johns Streets.

The increased demand for additional water supply led to the approval of a proposed water supply from the Modder River, with a dam at Sannaspos. In the meantime a pipe network was introduced which allowed for distribution of water to all households in Bloemfontein.

On 20 April 1899, the first water from Sannaspos reached Bloemfontein and from May 1899, the system came into full use.

Communication services

In 1874, a telegraph service was started which eventually connected Bloemfontein to other Free State towns and the rest of South Africa.

The first telephone service, which dates back to 1891, was limited locally between the railway office and the municipality buildings. In 1905, the telephone service was expanded.

Sanitation services

During the 19th century, three factors contributed to poor hygienic conditions in Bloemfontein. Firstly, there was a lack of sufficient and hygienic water supply and during times of drought, water in wells often stagnated and became contaminated. Drinking water was also not purified.

Secondly, the large number of animals on plots, contributed greatly to the unhygienic conditions. In some cases up to 40 cows could be found on a single plot. To control this problem, the municipality introduced regulations which restricted the number of large animals per household that were allowed in town and provision was made for a municipal grazing ground where any extra cattle could be kept.

Thirdly, household refuse was a problem as it was simply dumped on the streets or outside of town. In 1880, a system of refuse removal was introduced and dumping outside the town was prohibited.

Sanitary services in the Black locations were also upgraded, six public ablution blocks were erected, namely two in Waaihoek, one in the vicinity of the present day Eunice, one by the fort, one on the East End and one along the road to the diamond fields.

In 1867, the first hospital, St George's Cottage Hospital, was opened in Bloemfontein, under the auspices of the St Michael Sisterhood. The first government hospital, the Volkshospitaal, was opened on 31 October 1893. This hospital was largely intended for Whites only, and a separate building was provided for Non-Whites.

The mental hospital, Krankzinnige Gesticht, was built in 1883 and was located outside of town on the way to Fauresmith.

A leprosy hospital was opened in January 1899 and this was located on the farm Sydenham to the south east of Bloemfontein.

Museums, libraries and other buildings

In 1867, a travelling library was established, and was later transferred to Bloemfontein's public library and reading room which was housed behind the Town Hall. In 1877, the National Museum was established in the former First Raadsaal.

The Government's building (which included the Third Raadsaal) was also built in 1877 at the top end of Maitland Street and the National Bank was also established. A few more banks and hotels were also opened in the 1870s.

Discovery of gold

During the 1880s, trade in Bloemfontein declined due to the long drought and depression that devastated the OFS. However, trade improved drastically when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand in 1886. In 1880, Bloemfontein received municipal status with a population of about 2567, and Robert Innes was chosen as the first Town Mayor.

Due to the discovery of diamonds, the population increased at such a fast pace that there was talk of a housing shortage in the town. Between 1880 and 1886 many new buildings like the Two Towers Church (NG church, 1880), The Church of the Sacred Heart (new Roman Catholic building, 1881), the new market building (1882) and a new Town Hall in Maitland Street (1883) were erected in Bloemfontein. In 1885, the Anglican Cathedral was extended and in 1886 a smarter, more elegant President's residency replaced the structure of the Second Presidency, which dated back to 1862.

Establishment of graveyards, streets and a railway system

The original graveyard was situated on Monument Road, now known as the Old Graveyard. Next to it was the graveyard for the Jewish population. In 1901, this graveyard was moved to a few miles south of the city. The NG Church originally had its own graveyard in Kruger Avenue, but this was moved in 1893 as a result of town expansion.

The Black graveyard was located south of the city between present day Memorial Road and Hamilton Shooting Range.

After 1866, streets were developed from the so-called veld paaie to proper compacted surfaces with adequate drainage.

The railway system and market activities in town were the main factors that stimulated street development. Sidewalks of up to 9 or 10 ft in width were introduced and in 1891 streets were given names.

Street lamps were introduced in 1883 and were lit at sunset everyday. In August 1898, an electricity scheme was accepted for the first time by the council, which provided 130 street lamps with 32 candles each. Only the main streets were to be lit by these lamps.

Electricity and transport

In 1900, the electricity system was put into effect.

In August 1895, the right to establish an electrical plant was granted to Delfos Bros and Co. The project, which was only completed in 1900, cost 171 000 pounds, and quotes were available for household electrical supply.

Bloemfontein's development as a nucleus of the Free State necessitated the development of transport routes between Bloemfontein and the surrounding towns. Again, the discovery of diamonds gave transport its first big boost towards greater development. Transport, which included goods and passenger coaches, flourished as a business.

The most important consequence of the discovery of diamonds was the advent of the railways, which provided the citizens with a safer, more efficient and reliable transport system.

In 1873, a weekly transport service was introduced for goods between Bloemfontein and the diamond fields. However, the first passenger service was only introduced in 1856. In 1880, passenger transport services were introduced between Cape Town and Bloemfontein via Kimberly. In 1883, passenger transport was introduced between Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg. In 1888, a passenger service, known as the Free State Line, was introduced between Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

In 1890, the railway line from Colesberg to Bloemfontein was completed, and later this was extended to the Vaal River.

The city's growth took place due to the fact that Bloemfontein became the nucleus of railway activities in South Africa.

In 1892, the first traffic regulations for the town of Bloemfontein were introduced, traffic speed in the town was limited to 6.m.p.h and wagon drivers and horsemen were to keep to the left while the cracking of whips was prohibited in town.

Early Prison history

When the national railway line reached Bloemfontein in the late 1800s, it brought with it unwanted elements of society unaccustomed to Bloemfontein. These 'loose women', white youth criminals, pickpockets, street entertainers and bar fights seemed strange and outlandish but unavoidable with the influx of people and growing industries of the expanding town.

Within the first three months of the railway opening, more than eighty drunk and disorderly arrests took place. Crime in general also increased, with a 66% increase in prosecutions from 1890 to 1891 (398 whites and 1 918 blacks). The most prosecutions were in cases of the transgression of the pass laws that can hardly be described as a crime, followed by theft, drunkenness, disturbance of the peace, and the forgery of alcohol slips, while a black man could be sentenced to fifteen whips with a 'kats' if he refused the orders of his white employer.

A result of the increase in crime was that Bloemfontein needed a new prison to replace the old (first) town prison in St. George Street described as 'unsightly and redundant' - the same building (with slight expansion) erected by Major Warden. In 1892 the St. George Street prison could house 70 criminals (black and white). The prison had eight cells, two of which were designated for whites and one for women. The cells were overcrowded and many of them had no source of light or ventilation and had mice and rat infestations.

The prisoner community grew to such an extent that the District Physician, Dr. JW Krause, requested an increase in salary as more than half of the prison population acquired his services from 1891 to 1892. Dr. Krause had previously compiled a report to the 'Volksraad' highlighting the miserable conditions at the St. George Street prison in 1878. He called it 'een schreeuwend onrecht' (a screaming injustice).

With no formal medical facility available to treat sick patients in Bloemfontein the little St. George Street prison was also used as a makeshift hospital. Here patients stayed in the midst of 'drunken Hottentots and bushmen, as well as the lowest drunken dirty whites that could be found in any community', according to a local newspaper. Complaints from different sources about the inhumane ramshackle prison continued. De Tijd declared indignantly that it is 'voor een neger byna te slecht om in te blyven'. (almost too bad for a negro to live in)

The construction of a desperately required new prison ('Ramkraal') started in 1893 on a premises just East of the railway line adjacent to the Dewetsdorp Road at a cost of £16 000. It was taken into use approximately three years later. Further development has made it almost non-visible but it must have been an impressive sight standing in the field just after completion. A journalist wrote a few years later, 'On approaching, the building gives one the impression of an ancient stronghold of [a] feudal baron of a past age high stone wall forms the outer enclosure with two massive turrets as watch towers'.

Executions continued to take place in public although it was moved to a spot further from the town's centre. In 1883 two black men, Fire and Hoffman, were 'hanged behind the hill, in sight of Voigt's farm'. The sight later became known as 'Hangmanskloof'. Although the execution took place at six o' clock in the morning there was a curious crowd of about 200 to 300 people present. The Express wrote, 'We never remember seeing a more orderly crowd'. While The Friend called it 'a revolting sight'.

With the completion of the new prison ('Ramkraal') the gallows were also moved there, 'near the circular wall enclosure', according to a woman detained here during the Anglo-Boer war, '”¦immense, sturdy and square, erected with thick black beams and ironwork with twenty two steps leading to a platform halfway to the top. Then there is the cloak of black material covering the body of the sentenced in which he or she was dressed prior to the hanging. Further up the framework was the cross-beam from which the rope hung.'

The treatment of the prisoners was still dire and a blot on the name of the otherwise relieved Free State. Corporal punishment was still freely applied – at least to black prisoners because the Magistrate declared 'that he did not like a white man to be flogged'. For adult black prisoners there was the 'kats' and for the younger ones the 'kweperlatjie'. The scourging area at the new prison was used regularly. All prisoners still had to wear foot shackles (often causing painful chafing) with which they had to sleep as well. Mixed working groups with black and white prisoners with a white or black supervisor were a common sight in the town.

To the end of the 1890s the City Council did complain about this phenomenon but only because of the impression it could make on visitors and children. The supervisors were asked to lead their groups around the outskirts of the town to their working areas rather than through the streets. One consolation was that it was quite easy to escape from such a group and one white prisoner who intentionally proved this point was only caught by Major Albrecht, who heard the jingle of the prisoner's chains, after the prisoner unhurriedly went passed the Presidency and Magistrate's Office.

The above text on early Prison History is an abridged version of a translated extract from the following book: Schoeman, K. (1980) Bloemfontein: Die Ontstaan van 'n Stad, 1846-1946. Cape Town: Human and Rousseau.

End of President Brand’s reign

On Saturday 14 July 1888, after playing a game of chess with his son, President Brand suffered a heart attack. Although doctors CJG Krause and BO Kellner came immediately to the President's aid, it was too late. Three days later about 2000 Free State residents attended the state funeral of their President.

Francis Willem Reitz, who was appointed in 1874 as the OFS Chief Justice, was appointed as candidate in the next election. Reitz accepted the nomination and in December 1888 he was elected as the fifth President of the Orange Free State.

Watch the video: Γυναίκες στην Επιστήμη Ι ΧΕΝ Αθηνών (May 2022).