Pennsylvania State Memorial, Gettysburg

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Pennsylvania State Memorial
Pennsylvania Monument[1]: 69 
Gettysburg Battlefield (3440826067).jpg
Coordinates39°48′28″N 77°14′07″W / 39.80765°N 77.23516°W / 39.80765; -77.23516Coordinates: 39°48′28″N 77°14′07″W / 39.80765°N 77.23516°W / 39.80765; -77.23516
LocationGettysburg National Military Park
DesignerW. Liance Cottrell (Architect)
Samuel Murray (Sculptor)
Completion date1914
Opening dateSeptember 27, 1910

The Pennsylvania State Memorial[2] is a monument in Gettysburg National Military Park that commemorates the 34,530 Pennsylvania soldiers who fought in the July 1 to 3, 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. The memorial stands along Cemetery Ridge, the Union battle line on July 2, 1863.[3] Completed in 1914, it is the largest of the state monuments on the Gettysburg Battlefield.[4]


Cottrell & Murray's plaster model, circa 1909.

In the 1880s, Senator Andrew G. Curtin, who had served as Pennsylvania's governor during the Civil War, advocated for a "Pennsylvania Memorial Hall" to be built atop Little Round Top.[5] The 60 ft (18 m)-square hall would display "a treasury of trophies and mementos of all the Pennsylvania regiments that fought at Gettysburg."[6] The proposed building was included in an 1889 state appropriations bill, that was vetoed by Governor James A. Beaver.[7]

Eighteen years later, the Pennsylvania Legislature appropriated $150,000 for construction of a state memorial, and the current site was announced in February 1909.[8] The design competition for the commission was won by the entry of New York architect W. Liance Cottrell and Philadelphia sculptor Samuel Murray.[2] The building was to be completed by July 1, 1910.[9]

Humphreys Avenue, along the east side of the memorial, was not surveyed until 1911, so materials were delivered by railroad, via the Round Top Branch to nearby Hancock Station.[10]

The memorial was unfinished when it was dedicated on September 27, 1910, and the project was out of money. An additional state appropriation of $40,000 was approved in 1911.[10] The new completion date was set for July 1, 1913 – the 50th anniversary of the battle. The portrait statues were installed in April 1913,[1]: 69  and the memorial was rededicated on July 4, 1913. A bronze tablet listing the names of 945 additional Pennsylvania veterans completed the memorial in 1914.[4]


The memorial features a square, granite pedestal (terrace) – 100 feet on each side – with bronze tablets on its exterior face that list the names of the 34,530 Pennsylvania soldiers who fought in the battle.[1] Set upon the pedestal is the granite pavilion, which consists of 4 corner towers linked by arches that form an arcus quadrifrons, or 4-sided triumphal arch.[1]: 38  Engaged Ionic columns at the corners and flanking the arches form niches for the 8 portrait statues.[4] The pavilion is topped by a granite dome. Between the parapet and the dome's base is an observation deck, accessed by a spiral staircase in the northwest corner tower. Under the pavilion is an undercroft or vaulted cellar.[4] The memorial's entrance is on the west (Hancock Avenue) side, where a wide flight of steps rises to the pedestal's terrace. Half-flights rise beneath each arch into the pavilion's central hall.[11]

A bronze Nike figure, the Goddess of Victory and Peace, crowns the podium atop the dome. She holds a sword in one hand and a palm branch, a symbol of victory through peace, in the other. In a gesture to the Biblical passage "they shall beat their swords into plowshares," the bronze used to cast the Nike came from melted-down cannons.[12] Above the arches are spandrel bas-reliefs of winged goddesses, and above the cornice is a parapet with a bas-relief panel on each side that depicts the Artillery, Cavalry, Infantry and Signal Corps. Larger-than-life bronze statues of President Abraham Lincoln and other prominent Civil War figures flank the arches. Above them are bas-relief shields and laurel wreaths. The names of important figures in the battle are inscribed across the pavilion's frieze and on its interior.


Goddess of Victory and Peace by Samuel Murray.

Architectural sculpture[edit]

  • 4 white marble parapet bas-relief panels:
    • Artillery (1909–10) by Samuel Murray, north parapet.
    • Cavalry (1909–10) by Samuel Murray, south parapet.
    • Infantry (1909–10) by Samuel Murray, west parapet. Pennsylvania Bucktails of Stone's Brigade at the McPherson Farm.[14]
    • Signal Corps (1909–10) by Samuel Murray, east parapet.
  • Attendants to Victory, 8 white marble bas-relief goddess figures (1909–10) by Samuel Murray, a pair in the spandrels above each arch.
  • 8 white marble Shield & Laurel Wreath bas-reliefs (1909–10) by Samuel Murray, one in the niche above each portrait statue.

Regimental memorials[edit]

The perimeter wall features 75 bronze plaques memorializing Pennsylvania units during the war.


In 1921, the dome was lined with steel and sealed by William D. Gilbert and James Weikert [2] and in 1929, the monument's copper was relined and defective woodwork was replaced.[10]: '30  The nearby comfort station was completed in 1933 as the first "Gettysburg Parkitecture" structure[15] using Gettysburg granite as in native colonial structures. A 1941 memorial bench [3] of marble in front of the monument was broken by "unknown culprits" in 1952,[4] and a marble bench was smashed in 1994.[5]


External images
image icon Photograph during construction
image icon Google Maps overhead view

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Beitler, Lewis Eugene (editor and compiler) (December 31, 1913). Fiftieth Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg: Report of the Pennsylvania Commission (Google Books) (Report). Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Wm. Stanley Bay (state printer). p. 173. Retrieved 2012-04-06. "The Name of Every Pennsylvania Soldier Who Fought at Gettysburg is Recorded on These Bronze Tablets Adorning Her Memorial Monument. (p. 22b)
  2. ^ a b "The Pennsylvania State Memorial". List of Classified Structures: GETT p. 20. National Park Service. Retrieved 2011-02-03. Monument is a four-sided raised granite pedestal with bronze tablets listing Pennsylvania soldiers and set on a 100 foot square base. It has arched central passages to the domed interior. … Double bronze statues are located in niches on all four sides. Four oversized granite reliefs adorn the upper observation deck parapet walls. External link in |work= (help)
  3. ^ "Touring the Battlefield" (PDF) (Map). Plan Your Visit. Cartography by Retrieved 2011-02-03. Union artillery held the line alone [near the site of the Pennsylvania Memorial] on Cemetery Ridge late in the [2nd] day as Meade called for infantry from Culp's Hill and other areas to strengthen and hold the center of the Union position.
  4. ^ a b c d "Pennsylvania Memorial" (west-facing of 4 interpretive panels [ transcription]). Gettysburg interpretive panels. after "1998". Retrieved 2012-04-05. Check date values in: |date= (help); External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ "Pennsylvania Monument" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Compiler. August 17, 1910. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  6. ^ Nicholson, John Page (1904). Pennsylvania at Gettysburg. W. S. Ray, printer. pp. 87, 90. Retrieved 2011-03-12 – via Internet Archive.
  7. ^ "Pennsylvania Day: Great Crowds & Miserable Weather" (Google News Archive). The Star and Sentinel. September 17, 1889. Retrieved 2012-04-05. One of the most interesting reunions was that of the Pennsylvania Reserves in the pavilion at Round Top Park.
  8. ^ "Commission Selects Site,"The Gettysburg Times February 25, 1909.
  9. ^ "Work to Start Immediately," The Gettysburg Times, May 9, 1909.
  10. ^ a b c "The Gettysburg Commission Reports" (weblist with transcribed versions: 1893–1921, 1927–1933). Gettysburg Discussion Group. Retrieved 2010-02-04. (original formats: 1895, '96, '97, '98, 1901-4, '09, '13, '18)
  11. ^ The Pennsylvania State Memorial, from National Park Service.
  12. ^ Loski, Diana. "The Pennsylvania Memorial: A Centennial". Archived from the original on 2010-11-28. Retrieved 2011-02-03.
  13. ^ Goddess of Victory and Peace, from SIRIS.
  14. ^ James D. Ristine, Gettysburg: Vintage Postcard Views of America's Greatest Battlefield, Arcadia Publishing, 1999.[1]
  15. ^ "New Comfort Station to be Built on Field" (Google News Archive). Gettysburg Times. May 5, 1933. Retrieved 2011-04-11.