Associated Press/Eric Berman
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis has won National Historic Landmark status.
The 115-year-old limestone tower and its grounds were named to the National Historic Landmarks list on Jan. 11 by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel.
A plaque officially marking the monument as a historical sight was unveiled on Wednesday, August 2nd.
The Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument was included as an expansion of the Indiana World War Memorials Historic District, which includes the already-designated World War Memorial Plaza to the north.
The 284-foot-tall tower's landmark nomination cites its exceptional nature. Dedicated in 1902, it's the largest of more than 200 Civil War memorials in the U.S. and the only one that combines large-scale sculpture in bronze and stone.
It set the trend for civic architecture in Indianapolis and led to the construction of the Indiana World War Memorial and its plaza.
Indianapolis won historic status in 1994 for the War Memorials District, encompassing the American Legion Mall and the Indiana World War Memorial. But it stopped short of Monument Circle. The War Memorials Commission sent a new application in 2007. 10 years and three presidents later, it's been approved.
Landmark status shields the monument from development that might intrude on the Circle. Indiana War Memorials Commission executive director Stewart Goodwin says it's also a reminder of the lives the monument was built to memorialize. He notes it was America's first monument to the common soldier -- the Tomb of the Unknowns wasn't built until 19 years later.
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