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George Mason Memorial Garden to Be Built near the National Mall

The statue is being sculpted by artist Wendy M. Ross, who also created the statue on the Fairfax Campus.

By Erica Pirrung
The legacy of George Mason will soon reach a new height of recognition. A memorial honoring the Virginia patriot will soon be taking its place near the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The George Mason Memorial Garden will be the first monument in this area near the Tidal Basin dedicated to an individual who did not serve as president. "The memorial gives George Mason a new level of recognition--a recognition that has not existed in the past," said Tom Lainhoff, director of Gunston Hall, Mason's historic home.

The memorial, which covers approximately 100,000 square feet of land near the Tidal Basin, will be directly across from the site of the future Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial, near the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and within view of the Jefferson Memorial and the George Mason Bridge, better known as the 14th Street Bridge.

In keeping with Mason's love for gardens, the memorial will feature a statue, one-third larger than life, of Mason seated in a garden setting beneath a curving arbor and flanked by stone walls. Some of Mason's words and ideas, chosen by a group of Mason scholars and historians, will be inscribed on the walls. Wendy M. Ross, the sculptor who created the George Mason statue on the university's Fairfax Campus, will also create the statue for this project. Rhodeside & Harwell of Alexandria, Virginia, is also working on the memorial.

The memorial is a project of Liberty 2000--A Campaign to Share George Mason's Legacy of Liberty, which is directed by the Board of Regents of Gunston Hall. The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America is cosponsoring the project. It is the product of a bipartisan effort begun in Congress in April 1989 to erect a national monument honoring the patriot. After 12 years, from conception to final site and design approval, the effort is finally being realized. Construction began in October when J. Carter Brown, chairman of the Fine Arts Commission; George Mason University president Alan Merten; and Robinson Professor Roger Wilkins broke ground at the memorial site.

The estimated cost of the tribute is $1.9 million and will be paid for through contributions. Included in the cost is a replica statue and acknowledgment plaques, which will be displayed at Gunston Hall, and the care of the garden through the National Park Service

The garden (left) will include pine, magnolia, and American holly trees. There is also a fountain. The design concept for the memorial (right) was executed by Rhodeside & Harwell of Alexandria.

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