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The architect: Edward Pearce Casey

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Edward Pearce Casey, Head-and-shoulders Portrait, during his service with the New York National Guard, 7th Regiment, ca. 1885, Library of Congress Photo Collection

The Committee charged with finding a capable architect for the planned New Gate/Administrative Building at the Syrian Protestant College, led by Prof. West, set their choice on none other than the famous New York architect and designer, Edward Pearce Casey (1864–1940). Trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Casey’s work is also represented in Washington, D.C., by the Taft Memorial Bridge, DAR Constitution Hall, and the completion of the interior of the Library of Congress, the Thomas Jefferson Building.


Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

Among Casey's great works is the Ulysses Grant Memorial in Washington D.C. Casey worked with a self-taught artist, Henry Merwin Shrady (1871–1922), who was born in New York City, completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University and briefly attended law school there. They both cooperated on the bronze and marble monumental Memorial which honors the Civil War Commander of the Union Armies, and a two-term President (1869–1877). Considered by many as the largest equestrian monument in the United States, it is 252 feet long by 71 feet wide, and 44 feet high. It is a tour de force monumental sculpture, and a remarkable achievement by a sculptor who, with little formal training, toiled twenty years to translate his grand vision into cast bronze. At two and one-half times life size, the figure of Grant mounted on his horse forms the monument’s apex atop a pedestal that is over twenty-two feet high. Four lions lying with heads erect, guarding the flags of the Army and the United States, mark the corners of an imaginary pyramid’s base and visually align with the life-size Cavalry Group on the North and Artillery Group on the South. Shrady, with the strong support of the experienced Casey, clearly outdid himself.

Adapted from Source: "Architect of the". Accessed through:

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Ulysses S. Grant Memorial Cavalry Statue

The monument is an essay in opposites, contrasting Grant’s customary stillness while observing the battle, with the turbulence of the charging "Calvary" representation and "Artillery" representation on each side. The symmetry and simplicity of the classically styled platform, suggesting a reviewing stand, provide an effective stage for the heightened realism of the bronze components. Of the two partners, Casey, who was the more experienced architect, worked closely with the artist Shrady to render a realistic scene which captivates viewers with its immediacy and dramatic power, all the while remaining faithful to architectural principles of symmetry, balance, as well as immediacy, and expression. The low height of the flanking groups of Cavalry and Artillery, situated across from marble exedras built into the monument, allows viewers to imagine themselves amid the action as if in the heat of battle. Realistic details at eye level, including military trappings and uniforms, rocky terrain, battle debris, horse musculature, and the pained expressions of individual soldiers, endow the scene with authenticity. Shrady researched and studied all aspects of the monument intently, even observing specially staged cavalry and artillery drills at the United States Military Academy at West Point to ensure accuracy in the movement of the two groups; Casey worked closely with Shrady, and made sure to render the vision and immediacy accurately and soundly. In the Calvary group, seven horsemen of the color squad of a cavalry regiment stampede onto the battlefield, about to crush a fallen soldier, one of their own. Weapons, figures, animals, and terrain merge into a riveting, visual narrative. In the Artillery Group, soldiers struggle to steer a cannon into position, but the team of three horses lunges and twists as the lead horse, reacting to a broken bridle, rears uncontrollably.

Adapted from source: "Architect of the". Accessed through:

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William H. Taft Bridge, Library of Congress Photo Collection

Built between 1897 and 1907, the William Taft Bridge was designed by famous engineer George B. Morison and architect Edward Pearce Casey. The Connecticut Avenue Bridge was described at the time of its construction as the largest concrete arch in the United States. This seven-arch span was erected without steel reinforcement, composed entirely of monolithic concrete masonry and molded concrete block. It was an inspiration to the designers working on the Washington Bridge, later on in the twentieth century.

Source: Library of Congress. Accessed through:




Detail looking South showing middle span of bridge.  Spans Rock Creek & Potomac Parkway at Connecticut Avenue, Washington, District of Columbia, DC., Library of Congress Photo Collection

The total length of the bridge is 274.5 meters (901 feet). It has been called an "engineering tour de force". In 1931, the bridge was renamed in honor of U.S President William Howard Taft. In 2003, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge extends over Rock Creek and connects the neighborhoods of Woodley Park and Kalorama.

Source: Library of Congress. Accessed through: