Remembrance ceremony marks centennial of Pershing Family tragedy at the Presidio
By Erin Bradley Macri
The U.S World War One Centennial Commission joined the World War One Historical Association to sponsor a wreath-laying event on Thursday, August 27 at the former Army post on the Presidio in San Francisco to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the deaths in a fire there of World War I hero General John Pershing’s family.
Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing’s wife, Helen Frances Warren, and their four children remained at the family’s two-story Victorian house on the Presidio while Pershing made arrangements for them to join him at Fort Bliss, Texas. Plans were almost complete when, after entertaining guests from the World’s Fair late one summer night, hot coals spilled from the family hearth onto the lacquered floor. The house was soon engulfed in flames and Pershing’s wife and three young daughters died of smoke inhalation. The only survivor was their five-year-old son, Warren, who was saved by Pershing’s longtime orderly.
Read more: Remembrance ceremony marks centennial of Pershing Family tragedy at the Presidio
National World War One Memorial Design Competition
Stage II design concept selections announced
WASHINGTON, DC (August 19, 2015) -- Five design concepts for the National World War One Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, DC have been selected to proceed to Stage II of the design competition. Robert Dalessandro, Chair of the World War One Centennial Commission, announced the selections today.
"This week I am pleased to announce the five design concepts selected by our jury to go forward to the next stage of development for the new World War One Memorial in Pershing Park," Dalessandro said. Those selected include: "Plaza to the Forgotten War" submitted by Brian Johnsen, AIA; Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEEP AP; and Andrew Cesarz, at Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee, WI; "World War One Memorial Concept" submitted by Devin Kimmel, Principal at Kimmel Studio, llc in Annapolis, MD"; "The Weight of Sacrifice" submitted by Joseph Weishaar of Chicago, IL; "An American Family Portrait Wall in the Park" submitted by STL Architects in Chicago, IL; and "Heroes' Green" submitted by Maria Counts, of Counts Studio in Brooklyn, NY.
"Thank you to the each of the participants in Stage I of the design competition," said Dalessandro. "The participants provided us all 350+ works of art. Each design concept is an important tribute to the veterans of WW1. We want these artworks to be lasting tributes, as well, so all Stage I submissions will remain available for viewing on our website. They will also become a part of the permanent record of the Centennial Commission.
"Stage I of the design competition was the first step in a long development process," Dalessandro noted. "That process includes many different reviews, designed to bring forward the best possible plan for all parties. These include reviews for environmental, cultural, historical, engineering, budgetary, and livability concerns.
"We have partnered closely with stakeholder organizations to listen to as many voices as possible, and to bring forward the best possible plan. We will continue to do so. Those stakeholder partners include, but are not limited to, the National Park Service, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Planning Commission," said Dalessandro.
"In Stage II, the Participants will evolve their design concepts for the memorial and present their designs, while fulfilling the requirements set out by our Commission, and by our stakeholder partners. Each design team will be provided with a stipend from the WW1 Centennial Commission, to help with the concept development, and the construction design process.
"We plan to make these developed design concepts public, and to invite the public to make comments on them, as well," said Dalessandro. "We hope to present the final design concept selection of this competition to the full Commission early next year."
The Stage I Report announcing the selections was issued by the Competition Managers in accordance with the Competition Manual. The Report is the official record of Stage I of the Competition describing the competition process to date, the Jury evaluation and analysis, and the Jury recommendation as to those selected to participate in Stage II. The Report also briefly describes how Stage II will be conducted.
The selected memorial site is Pershing Park, located on Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets NW.
The public is invited to view all of the Stage One submissions that conformed with the Competition Manual. Go to the Memorial Design Competition page for more information on how to view the submissions.
The competition is a two-stage design competition. Stage I was an open, international competition -- open to any professionals, university-level students, or any other interested participants. In the first stage, participants submitted narrative and graphic descriptions of a design concept responding to the competition’s design goals. Five submissions from Stage I were selected by the competition jury as finalists, and those entries will be further refined and developed in Stage II.
The jury for both stages of the competition is composed of individuals representing the worlds of government, the military, the arts, and the citizens of Washington DC. The Commission selected the jurors and will have final decision on the selected design, based on the recommendation of the jury. For information on the Memorial and the competition, including the Competition Manual, and questions and answers from participants, visit the Memorial Design Competition page.
The Memorial will be built using funds raised from the American public. "Please remember that even if we get the perfect design we can’t build the memorial without support," said Chris Isleib, public affairs officer for the Commission. "We invite you to help us in our goal, to create the new WW1 Memorial using only private donations. The veterans of WW1 earned their own memorial, and we can build it for them." For information on fundraising for the Memorial, or to make a donation, visit the Memorial Fundraising page.