TOUR OF BUILDINGS & STATUES ON THE WEST POINT PLAIN

Revised August 3, 2011

Alan Aimone,
Humanities Reference Librarian
USMA Library



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West Point Club

Once the Officer Club, it is one of three neoclassic buildings in a row designed by McKim Mead & White. The structures were built between 1898 and 1903 out of granite. It is one of the oldest clubs in the service.

Cullum Memorial Hall

Constructed in 1898 and renovated in 1989. Named for the donor, Brevet Major General George Cullum, USMA Class of 1831 who gave a quarter of a million dollars for its original construction and another $20,00 for future purchases of "such other objects as may tend to give elevation to the military profession." His bequest included a bust and painting of Halleck, his sword and Cullum’s own portrait. The will of Cullum stated the bequest "to be used for construction and maintenance of a memorial hall at West Point to be dedicated to the officers and graduates of the U.S. Military Academy." Cullum served as the Academy’s 16th Superintendent, 1864-1866. George Cullum married the widowed Mrs. Elizabeth W. Halleck (grand-daughter of Alexander Hamilton). Cullum was General Halleck’s aide and "best friend." Elizabeth Halleck/Cullum had inherited a fortune through land investments by General Hallick in the San Francisco Bay area and her son, Harry Halleck.

Cullum in 1850, while teaching practical engineering at West Point, initiated the first Register of Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy. In his will, he provided $20,000 for revised editions every ten years of Cullum’s Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. General Cullum founded the Association of Graduates, the second oldest alumni association in the United States after the Virginia Military Institution in Lexington.

Cullum’s bequest was formally accepted by an act of Congress in 1892 and construction began in 1896 following a design by noted architect, Stanford White. He designed the building in a Greek revival style of pinkish-white Milford granite. His enthusiasm for the project never waned. Even after its completion and formal dedication, White continued to provide, at no charge to West Point, designs for the completion of interior architectural details.

When the building was dedicated in 1900, it became a memorial repository to honor deceased graduates through portraits, sculpture, and plaques. Included among those memorialized are all deceased graduates who have won the Medal of Honor, all those killed in WWII, the Korean Conflict, almost all graduates killed in other wars, and portraits of former permanent professors of USMA.

The "Great Hall" on the second floor is the triumph of the building. Measuring 107 x 69 feet in area, this ballroom has served continuously as a site for cadet entertainment to include dances and various performances. The room’s giant Corinthian pilasters, plaster caryatids, rich classical detailing, and a frieze running around the room inscribed with the names of battles from the War of 1812 to the Spanish-American War of 1898. The ceiling features 340 rosettes, each holding a lamp. Both the first and second floors contain a myriad of significant memorabilia including flags, standards, weapons, maps, rare prints, medallions, miniatures, busts, bronzes and portraits.

Cullum Hall was the home of the Association of Graduates until Herbert Hall was constructed on the former Smith Rink grounds in 1995 south of Michie (football) Stadium. In its earlier days the basement area was apartments for bachelor assistant football Coach's. The building today is the temporary home of the USMA computer laboratory. It will again be used by the Fourth Class (plebe/freshman) activities including a ballroom in about 1914. The first floor is used as both a promotion and as a retirement ceremony room as well as alumni reunion and football activity meeting place.

Outside the building notice the following features: Along the cornice are evenly spaced lion heads. Around the building are a number of captured Mexican War cannons, which the firm arranged into the plan of the building. Bronze pilasters – both of which are contained in a granite portal with pilasters and pediment, flank massive bronze doors at the main entrance. Facing the Plain, the façade of the building is clear, simple, and serious. Around the back of the building McKim, Mead & White took advantage of the scenic possibilities by providing an open loggia running the length of the building.

Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Hall named after Brigadier General George Abraham Lincoln, a World War II think tank strategist, had previously been a Bachelors Officer Quarters. It now houses the Departments of English, Social Sciences and the Center for Combating Terrorism.

Brigadier General Thaddeus Kosciuszko,
Engineer-In-Charge Statue

Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish artillery officer, helped design and build the fortifications at West Point in the Revolutionary War. Kosciuszko, a graduate of and instructor at the Royal Military School in Warsaw, Poland, fell in love with the daughter of a Polish general. Failing in his attempt to elope, he came to the United States in 1776. Prior to his arrival at West Point, he provided vital assistance for the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga, the turning point in the American Revolution. Note: The scroll at the base of the statue is marked "Saratoga" and it is meant to be a map of the Saratoga fortification plan.

In 1778, Colonel Kosciuszko was assigned to West Point and worked about 28 months designing and supervising construction of the fortifications on both sides of the Hudson River. In March 1780, he was appointed chief of the Corps of Engineers. The end of the war, for his considerable contributions, the Continental Congress awarded him the rank of Brigadier General.

In 1784, he returned to Poland and later fought for freedom from Russian influence. He returned to the U.S. in 1796 for a short time and developed a close relationship with Thomas Jefferson. He died in Switzerland in 1817.

Kosciuszko is one of the famous Polish national heroes and is buried in Krakow, Poland, in the same cemetery with Polish Kings. The monument that you see of Kosciuszko was erected in his honor at the former Revolutionary War site of Fort Arnold. After the "treason of the blackest dye!" (September 25, 1780) Fort Arnold was renamed for New York Govenor George Clinton.

An advertisement in a New York paper offered a prize of $50 or a gold medal of that value for the best design of a monument to the memory of Kosciuszko to be erected at West Point. John H. B. Latrobe, of the Class of 1822, after he won an 1824-1825-design contest, designed the base. It initially only had the rectangular granite base pedestal, battered pilasters at monument corners, carved floral medallions, arched top with fern-frond design. Ornamental arrows bound to laurel wreaths, held in the beak of an eagle, perched upon its top pedestal are on the faces of three sides. The fourth face has a bronze plaque explaining the history of the monument. The fluted Doric column is decorated with a tobacco leaf band. The monument was paid for through Corps of Cadets contributions of 25 cents per month from their pay. The monument was dedicated on July 4, 1828.

Left over cadet money for the monument was used to buy a marble basin in Kosciusko’s garden and improve the access to the small fountain and garden area that Kosciuszko built while engineering the defenses of fortress West Point.

The Polish American citizen group of Yonkers first proposed a statue of Kosciuszko in 1912. An artist from Frederick Pustel and Company of New York designed the statue. On September 1, 1913, the statue was unveiled. The Polish clergy and the laity of the United States through popular subscription paid for the added eight foot six inch bronze statue of Kosciuszko. The statue is of a standing officer of the American Revolution, feet apart, one knee slightly bent, and a drawn sword.

Revolutionary War Hudson River Chain

Continental soldiers at West Point called it "Washington’s chain." Chain links on display at Trophy Point came from the Great Chain stretched across the Hudson River. It was positioned at a narrow point from West Point’s extreme rocky end to a southwest inlet at Constitution Island during the Revolutionary War to act as a barrier to enemy ships. The chain was first fastened on May 3, 1778. The chain was laid across a boom of heavy logs that floated parallel to each other and aligned with the flow of the river’s current. These logs were sixteen feet long and pointed at each end, so as to offer little resistance to the tidal currents. The chain was fastened to these logs by iron staples and at both shores by huge blocks of wood and stone. The "Chain Battery" on the west bank at West Point also protected the great chain. The length of the chain was over 500 yards. The links were made of iron bars, 2-½ inches square. The average length was a little over two feet and their weight about 140 pounds each. Two swivels were inserted every 100 feet and a clevis every 1,000 feet. It weighed 186 tons. The links were forged at Stirling Iron Works in the Ramapo Mountains in Orange County and were assembled at New Windsor (Forge Hill Road) about nine miles north of West Point, and floated downstream to Constitution Island. The chain was removed in late fall and reassembled with new logs from the Marlborough area early spring to avoid destruction from the winter’s ice flows on the Hudson River. By 1782 peace was imminent and the chain was never stretched across the Hudson River again.

This was the second of two chains to be placed across the Hudson River. The first was placed four miles below West Point, and it reached from Fort Montgomery to Anthony’s Nose, a little north of the present-day Bear Mountain Bridge.

Battle Monument

Perhaps the most prominent and majestic monument at the Academy is the Battle Monument, dedicated on 31 May 1897 "In Memory of the Officers and Men of the Regular Army of the United States Who Fell In Battle During The War of the Rebellion. This Monument Is Erected By Their Surviving Comrades." Starting in 1863, officers and men of the regular Army contributed six percent of a month’s pay over a period of years and an executive committee invested the accumulated funds to pay for it. Inauguration ceremonies for the project were held on June 15, 1864, with Major General George B. McClellan giving the oration. The War Department authorized the use of fifty condemned bronze cannon barrels to be placed around the monument and used for bronze tablets and ornaments.

Battle Monument is the design of the architectural engineering firm, McKim, Mead & White. Stanford White, at the time, one of the foremost architectural designers of the late 19th century included the Washington Square Arch in New York City, Trinity Church in Boston and Cullum Hall at West Point. The roman Doric column is five feet six inches in diameter and forty-six feet high standing upon a five-step circular stairway, broken by eight plain pedestals around the perimeter, each of which supports a sphere flanked by two bronze cannon barrels. The shaft is reportedly the largest polished granite shaft in the Western Hemisphere. It was quarried at Stony Creek in the town of Bradford, Connecticut. The ninety-two ton granite monolith was packed for shipment in a trussed wooden crate on two railroad flat cars. Short section of railroad ties and tracks were laid up the steep embankment and onto the plain to the monument site over a five-week period. The figure at the top is the angelic one-ton bronze statue known as the "Winged Fame, Victory or Fame." Frederick Mac Monniues, who also did the Nathan Hale Statue in City Hall Park in New York City, sculpted it. The corner stone dated March 1894 contains coins and both Newburgh and New York City newspapers as well as an Official Register of Officers and Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy, June 1893.

A total of 2,230 names are dedicated and inscribed. The names are ranked on top with brigadier generals on top and followed down to lower ranking officers and then by enlisted men by military units recorded on bronze belts girdling the eight granite orbs, beginning with the men of the 1st U.S. Infantry Regiment. West Point’s garrison soldiers today are members of the 1st Battalion/1st Infantry Regiment. The honored enlisted men are also noted by their military ranks: Commissary Sergeant, Artificer, Farrier, Musician, Bugler, 2#d Class Musician, Corporal, Private, and one Colored Cook {Jackson Kelly, 4th U.S. Cavalry}. Aged graduates recalling when they were cadets the granite balls were called "Monuments to Southern marksmanship".

A similar monument for Southern officers and men was once proposed by then President Richard Nixon. Then Superintendent Lieutenant General William Knowton consulted with select African American leading cadets and decided it was a bad idea and dropped the proposal.

Major General John Sedgwick Statue

Dedicated on 21 October 1868, a memorial to Major General John Sedgwick, native of Connecticut and 1837 USMA graduate, from the members of his last command, the 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. Sedgwick fought in all battles of the Mexican War. During the Civil War, at the Battle of Fredericksburg, he had two horses shot from under him; and in the Battle of the Wilderness, he rallied an army to victory. A Confederate sharpshooter killed Sedgwick on May 9, 1864 in the Battle of Spottsylvania Court-House, Virginia while he was directing the location of artillery pieces. Just before he died he voiced his opinion that the Confederate snipers couldn’t hit an elephant at such a long distance when he was killed by a Confederate marksman. His West Point statue reportedly was cast from three Confederate bronze cannons captured by his 6th Corps.

Launt Thompson sculptured the bronze monument on a square granite pedestal. The position of the statue represents the bearded Civil War general in uniform, boots with spurs, gloved hands, one hand holding hat and sword with point in ground, right leg slightly bent in one of his characteristic attitudes, his hands folded on his sword hilt, and his body bent slightly forward, while his countenance is indicative of thought.

Because of his concern for his soldiers and his fondness for practical jokes, a tradition arose that his spirit would assist cadets experiencing difficulties in academics, but receiving this assistance required a bit of risk on their part; a little contempt for "enemy fire."

In the days when a cadet was required to take a "turn-out" examination if he was failing in a course after taking the term end, West Point legend had it that if that cadet dressed in full dress gray, under arms, and spun the rowed spurs on Sedgwick’s Monument at midnight, he would be able to pass his turn-out exam. With luck, the cadet will pass the test. In over 100 years, Sedgwick’s spurs have never laid dormant long enough to rust.

Dean's Quarters #102

Built by Q. A. Gilmore in 1857 and influenced by Newburgh architect, Andrew Jackson Downing, who wrote a number of influential books about nature and buildings that was immensely popular in the 1840’s and 1850’s. This is an example of the Carpenter Gothic style with symmetrical façade of three bays, two-and-one half stories tall, with a porch. The gothic elements include the pointed arched center window and openings, steep protruding gable, and a wooden "tracery" under the eaves.

Commandant's Quarters #101

Built and completed just ahead of Quarters 100 by the same builder, Newburgh contractor, John Forsyth. The Federal style house has been modified over the years. The house inside features plasters moldings in the parlors and dinning room and marble mantels over the fireplaces. A dramatic arch separates the entry hall and the stair hall.

Superintendent's Quarters #100

Built about 1819 and altered by the architect Paul Cret between 1930 and 1938. Every superintendent since Sylvanus Thayer has lived in this house; nearly every American president since then has entered this house. It along with its neighboring Commandant’s Quarters and Fort Putnam are the oldest extant buildings on American oldest continuously operated post. It is a Federal-style home, the house consist of a basic rectangle with two floors and a basement and features a central hall. The house has seen many additions over the years. The south side walled garden features plants from all fifty states.

Colonel Thayer Statue

Dedicated to Sylvanus Thayer. Born in Braintree, Massachusetts in 1785; both a Dartmouth College graduate and a USMA graduate of the Class of 1808; returned in 1817 to become the 4th Superintendent (1817-1833); retired as a brigadier general in the Corps of Engineers in 1863; died in 1872.

Thayer, far more than any other individual, put his mark on this institution. For 16 years, Thayer created considerable order out of chaos. He improved the educational system. Thayer adhered to small classes, frequent exams, and a cadet honor system. Thayer changed the Academy into a school of science and engineering. The methods and techniques he introduced are generally still in affect today; his disciplinary measures are the basis of those we use now; and his aims and goals are those of the present West Point. He was indeed the "Father of the Military Academy".

The Thayer Monument was dedicated on 11 June 1883 and erected by the Trustees of the Thayer Estate and certain members of the Association of Graduates. The granite statue is of a War of 1812 uniform with a cape and a hat and an unsheathed sword and scabbard at the base of the pedestal. The pedestal has floriated frieze. Carl Conrad sculpted the statue fifty years after Thayer’s departure as Superintendent.

Douglas MacArthur Statue

Douglas MacArthur, top-ranking cadet in his class of 1903, achieved one of the most distinguished records in American military history. He conceived, organized, trained, and commanded the 42nd "Rainbow" Division in WWI; served as USMA Superintendent, 1919-1922; served as Army Chief of Staff, 1930-1935; retired from the U.S. Army and became the military advisor to the defense forces of the Philippines as Field Marshal; brought back from retirement and served as Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific area WWII, 1942-1945; won the Medal of Honor for his defense of Battaan and Corregidor, 1942; became General of the Army, 1944 (Five Star General); served as Military Governor of Japan, 1945-1951; served as Supreme Commander, United Nation’s Forces in Korea, 1950-1951; and deliver his "Duty, Honor, Country" speech upon his receipt of the Thayer Award in 1962.
His wife, Jean, dedicated the statue in 1969. The sculptor was Walter Hancock. A duplicate of this statue is at the MacArthur Square area where his shrine, library and archives are located in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. The USMA Library received a copy of his archives on microfilm as a token of appreciation from the MacArthur Archives.

George Washington Equestrian Statue

"Presented to the United States Military Academy by a patriotic citizen, a veteran of the Civil War, 1915."

The four ton bronze statue of George Washington astride one of his favorite horses [Nelson, Blue skin, Prescott and Jackson or Jack] on a stepped granite pedestal and base was cast from the molds of the original July 4, 1856 statue located in Union Square, New York City. Four cannon balls are located at the base of the four corners of the pedestal. Its duplication includes even to the names of the original prominent New York City donors in the bronze. The statue was sculpted by Newburgh, New York resident, Henry Kirke Brown and unveiled at a ceremony May 20, 1916. The Washington statue represented "in act of recalling his troops to repose; the figure is bareheaded, the hat resting on his bridle arm, the sword sheathed, the right arm extended, as if commanding quiet; the drapery is the Continental Army uniform, the face slightly upturned…"

The Monument was present as a gift by the Reverend Charles Slattery in the name of an anonymous donor. The anonymous donor was later identified as a Poughkeepsie native, Civil War Captain James A. Scrymser of the 12th New York Volunteer Regiment. Captain Scrymser heard Superintendent Colonel Clarence Townsley (1912-1916) express a desire to see a statue of Washington at West Point. Colonel Townsley believed that a Washington monument would commemorate Washington’s influence establishing the creation of the U.S. Military Academy. Scrymser was the founder and president of the All-America Cables Company. At the time of his wife’s passing in 1926 he left the largest endowment to the American Red Cross at that time.

The Washington monument was originally located on the north edge of the plain, but was moved to its present location in front of Washington Hall during the summer of 1971.

In addition to Washington’s credits as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, First President, and Father of his country, he recognized the critical importance of the military position at West Point. He spent about a third of his time in the Hudson Highlands, especially at the end of the Revolutionary War. He was among the foremost advocates of the establishment of a military academy.

Washington Hall

Constructed in 1929 with additions, which doubled its size, in 1969. The Cadet mess hall and barracks is built in the shape of a six -spoke wheel. The original front of the building is now at the center. It requires about ten minutes for about 4,600 cadets to enter and twenty minutes to eat. Meals average 4,300 calories per day. The support organization consists of an Officer-in-charge, an officer dietician, 153 civil service employees and 170 contract servers.

Inside is a mural, 2,450 square feet, displaying twenty great figures in history. Painted in 1936 by T. Loftin Johnson, as a WPA project, he took two years to complete the large assignment. Johnson was paid $30 per week. Other notable displays in the mess hall include a 12,000 piece stained glass window illustrating the life of Washington. Three original sections of the mess hall are decorated with flags of the 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Eisenhower Statue

Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, 1944-1945
Dwight David Eisenhower
Class of 1915
President of the United States, 1953-1961

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Monument was erected and dedicated on May 3, 1983. Robert L. Dean, Jr., USMA 1953, sculpted the nine-foot, 1200-pound bronze statue on a six foot pedestal made of variegated buff red granite quarried near Barre, Vermont. The cast bronze statue was finished in Italy at the Fonderia Michelucci not far from Florence. The statue shows General of the Army Eisenhower in military uniform, was unveiled by John S. D. Eisenhower (Class of 1944).

Eisenhower is one of our foremost modern examples of a leader who successfully integrated the highest virtues of the American soldier with the fundamental tenants of our democratic society. The four sides of the base encapsulate Eisenhower’s career: The five stars of the General of the Army, the Presidential seal, the flaming sword patch, and an excerpt of the D-Day message Eisenhower gave to the soldiers, sailors and airmen on June 6, 1944: "You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty – loving people everywhere march with you…" The pedestal stands in the center of a plaza made of Tennessee crab-orchard flagstones in the shape of the SHAEF shoulder patch worn by General Eisenhower during World War II. Six granite benches and a curved back wall behind the statue complete the elements of the design, which were proposed by its builder, Mr. Douglas Logan of Cold Spring, New York.

His impressive record of service includes serving as Chief, War Plans Division in the War Department, 1941-1942; Commanding the Allied Landing in North Africa, 1942; being appointed Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Forces, 1943; preparing plans and coordinating the Normandy invasion, 1944; selection as General of the Army, 1944 (Five Star General); serving as Army Chief of Staff, 1945-1948; President of Columbia University, 1948-1953; Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, 1950-1952; and finally as President of the United States.

Patton Statue

Born in southern California in 1885
Graduated from USMA in 1909
Served as an aide to General of the Armies, John J. Pershing in the American Expeditionary Forces, WWI
Commanded 7th Army, North Africa, Sicily, 1943
Commanded 3rd Army, European Theater, 1944-1945

The following words are inscribed on the base of the monument: "Pursue the Enemy with the Utmost Audacity and Do Not Take Counsel of your Fears."

The Patton Monument, "erected by his friends, officers, and men of the units he commanded," was originally unveiled by Mrs. Patton and subsequently dedicated on August 19, 1950. Melted into the bronze hands of the statue are four silver stars worn by the General and one gold cavalry insignia of crossed sabers in gold, which Mrs. Patton had worn since their marriage. Between the base of the statue and the pedestal are four embroidered cloth stars, a Third Army should patch from the General’s uniform, and a buffalo nickel. The buffalo nickel because the designer of the buffalo and the statue, James E. Fraser, did both. The ivory and pearl handled pistols he wore during WWII as well as George C. Scott, who portrayed him, in the movie Patton, are included in the statue.

Statue was again unveiled at the corner of Jefferson Hall facing the Plain on May 15, 2009. The statue will remain in that location until the construction on the old library is complete. Then it will move to its final location closer to Doubleday Field.

Bartlett Hall

Constructed in 1936, Bartlett Hall houses the Physics, Chemistry and Electrical Engineering Departments. It is named in honor of Professor William H. C. Barlett who graduated number one in the Class of 1826. Professor Barlett was a USMA Professor and Department Head for 35 years, 1836-1871. He was a world famous scientist and founder of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

Old USMA Library (Science Building, 757) Exterior

The previous library, dedicated in November 1964, occupies the site of the earlier library built in 1841. The fourth floor windows are in keeping with West Point tradition, whereby key buildings have broad, pointed, arched windows divided by delicate gothic style tracery.

On the library tower stands an 18-foot high relief of Athena, Greek goddess of warfare and symbol of supreme wisdom, by Lee Lawrie. Balancing the composition are a helmet, a shield, and a sword, all copied from the Academy coat of arms.

In the portico of the library’s entrance, bronze bas-relief panels by Laura Gardin Fraser depict the history of the United States and are dedicated to West Point graduates who served in World War II and the Korean Conflict. The left panel depicts the period of exploration and expansion of the new country; the middle panel depicts the political and social history of the nation; and the right panel shows the growth of science and invention in the United States. The sculptress assisted her husband James Earle Fraser, a student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, in the final stages of his work on the Patton statue.

Just outside the west exit on Jefferson Road are the two cannons, which fired one of the first shots and the last shot of the Civil War. The smaller cannon, fired at the O. A. Tyler, a commercial steamer passing Vicksburg, Mississippi, on January 11, 1861 just days two days after the Star of the West was fired on in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. The larger mounted cannon fired the last battlefield cannon shot of the Civil War at Appomattox before Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee (USMA 1829) surrendered.



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