John Alexander Logan Monument

Click image to enlarge

John Alexander Logan Monument
Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907) and
Alexander Phimister Proctor (1862-1950)
Grant Park
Bronze figure on a granite base atop of a grassy mound
60 x 80 x 200 ft. 
Chicago Park District

When you look at this sculpture of General John Alexander Logan, do you think he was a strong and courageous man? These are the qualities that sculptors Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Alexander Phimister Proctor wanted to convey. (Proctor sculpted the horse, while Saint-Gaudens made Logan.) This equestrian statue stands atop of a high mound rising above Grant Park’s landscape next to Michigan Avenue. In his right hand, Logan is holding a flag high in the air. Its pole is topped with a small figure of an eagle, the national bird. This flag symbolizes a sense of patriotism to America and the goal of preserving the Union.

John Alexander Logan was a lawyer and politician from Illinois who gave up his position as a United States congressman to join the Union Army during the Civil War. The monument portrays Logan when he commanded the Army of the Tennessee during the Battle of the Atlanta in 1864. After the war, Logan headed the Grand Army of the Republic, a group devoted to Civil War Veterans. Concerned that the fallen soldiers were too quickly forgotten, Logan suggested the inception of Decoration Day, later known as Memorial Day, to decorate the graves of the Civil War dead with flowers and wreaths on May 30, 1868. Along the base of the General John Logan Monument, there are a series of bronze wreaths along with inscriptions of the names of the battles in which he participated. Today, Chicagoans continue to pay tribute to John Alexander Logan by attending an annual rededication and wreath laying ceremony at his monument.

1. The mound on which this statue is placed is man-made. How does this effect how you experience it? 

2. Equestrian statues have been around for centuries. What is it about a leader on a horse that seems so impressive? 

3. Do you think that a statue of someone is still a good idea for remembering a hero?  Why or why not?

Further reading:
Bach, Ira and Mary Lackritz Gray, A Guide to Chicago’s Public Sculpture (University of Chicago Press, 1983).

“Public Art in Chicago” (blog) Accessed July 25, 2011.

“Web-based Guide to the Chicago Park District’s Fountains, Monuments, and Sculptures,” 2010.

Chicago Park District