Glass Gilding – John Logan House

Historic Home Renovations – Glass Gilding Renovations! Glass gilding at John Logan House in Washington, DC. This historical renovation was completed in 2012. This is geniune traditional gilded lettering, applied by hand, just as one would find on any such property many years ago. Designs & Signs offers a variety of gold leaf signs and services. We also restore historical gold leaf signs and gilded antiques. Please contact us if you have a gold leaf project to consider.

gold leaf historic transom lettering

gold leaf on glass dupont circle

John A. Logan (1826–1886) – Quoted from Wikipedia

John A. Logan (1826–1886) was a native of Illinois who served as a second lieutenant in the Mexican–American War before studying at the University of Louisville to become a lawyer. Originally a member of the Democratic Party, he was elected state senator and later a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. During the onset of the Civil War, Logan denounced what he considered extremists on both sides, but eventually volunteered to fight with the Union Army during the First Battle of Bull Run. He then resigned from Congress and was made colonel after he organized the 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Logan was wounded twice while serving in the war and considered an outstanding field commander. He was promoted to brigadier general following the victory at Fort Donelson. Logan played a significant role in the Union success at Vicksburg and served as that district’s military governor. Following the death of General James B. McPherson, Logan was given command of the Army of the Tennessee, but was soon relieved by General Oliver O. Howard after Logan became too involved with the 1864 presidential election. He left the army in 1865 and resumed his career in politics.[3][4]

Logan was elected as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives and later to the U.S. Senate. In the 1884 presidential election, Logan unsuccessfully ran with Senator James G. Blaine as his vice presidential candidate, narrowly losing the race. During his time in office, Logan was considered one of the most vocal advocates for military veterans. He helped organize two veteran fraternal organizations, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and the Society of the Army of the Tennessee (SAT), and was instrumental in the federal government recognizing Memorial Day(originally called Decoration Day) as an official holiday, first celebrated in 1868.[3][4]

Soon after Logan’s death in 1886, the SAT began work on erecting a monument to the military hero. The organization worked closely with the GAR and Logan’s widow, Mary, to raise funds and lobby Congress for a monument. It would be the second equestrian monument in Washington, D.C. commissioned by the SAT, the first being the Major General James B. McPherson statue.[3] Erection of the monument was approved by an act of Congress on March 2, 1889.[5] A memorial commission was created to select a sculptor and site for the statue. Members of the commission asked sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens who he would recommend. He suggested Franklin Simmons (1839–1913), an American artist working in Rome. Simmons had previously sculpted several Civil War monuments, including the Peace Monument in Washington, D.C. His other works in the city include several statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection and the United States Senate Vice Presidential Bust Collection.[3]

The commission considered models by several sculptors before selecting Simmons in December 1892, whose model was the “most agreeable to Mrs. Logan.” She admired not only the posture of Simmon’s model, but his idea to have the statue rest on a bronze base, unlike other monuments in the city that featured granite bases. Mary also liked that Simmons and members of the commission would follow her recommendations for the reliefs to be found on the statue base. Simmons was paid $65,000 for his work; around $13,000 from the SAT and the remainder from the federal government. Sculpting the piece proved more difficult than Simmons had expected since the Logan statue was his first and only equestrian work. He was forced to ask for several extensions beginning in 1896.[3] Simmons paid founder Fonderia Nelli extra money to work around the clock on the base, designed by prominent architect Richard Morris Hunt, whose other works include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and The Breakers in Newport Rhode Island.[6][7]

Row houses on the northwest corner of Logan Circle

It only took Nelli three-and-a-half months to complete the process instead of the planned year. The Cranford Paving Company was contracted to prepare the site and lay the granite foundation. Simmons was not pleased with the company’s work and new stone was ordered in September 1897. Following the new stone’s placement, the base was installed on April 18, 1898. It wasn’t until 1900 that Simmons completed the sculpture and it was cast in Rome.[3][6] Upon its completion, a ceremony attended by King Umberto I of Italy and his wife, Queen Margherita, was held at the foundry where Simmons was honored with knighthood.[3] The sculpture was shipped to the United States and arrived in Brooklyn in December 1900. Because the sculpture was too large to be transported by train, it was placed onto a two-masted schooner and arrived in Washington, D.C. on January 16, 1901. It was installed on top of the base one week later.[6]

The site chosen for the monument was the center of Iowa Circle, a park in an upscale neighborhood in the city’s northwest quadrant.[7] The park was completely redesigned in 1891 to make room for the monument.[8] By the time it was dedicated in 1901, nearby Dupont Circle was lined with mansions and had become more popular with the city’s wealthy residents while Iowa Circle, surrounded by stately row houses, had become a middle-class neighborhood.[7]

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